Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet the Menagerie

I share my home with two cats adopted from a cat rescue organization 2 1/2 years ago.  I had wanted to adopt two kittens forever, and always knew I wanted to call one Yoda and the other Kismet, because I thought they were great kitty names.  These two are a never-ending source of amusement.  Indulge me a little as I show them off.

This is Yoda.  Yoda was born in a cat rescue foster home, where his mom, Bubbles, arrived pregnant.  She only had the one kitten, so the shelter introduced our other cat, Kismet, who arrived as a tiny stray that still needed a mom to nurse, and these two became brothers.  When we adopted them, I felt so guilty that we didn't take Bubbles as well that I couldn't even look at her after we packed our little guys into the carrier.  It didn't help that the kittens were crying, scared and confused.  The husband was sympathetic to my emotional plight, but held firm that we did not need three cats.  Her foster mom told us, "It's okay, I'll give her extra love today and she'll even be allowed to sleep in my room tonight."  Bless her - it made me feel a little better about ripping away Bubbles' little guys.

When we first met Yoda, his foster mom warned us he wasn't a particularly sociable kitten.  He was placed in D's arms where he settled in calmly for about 15 minutes, and she said she hadn't ever seen him take to someone so well.  After we brought him home, it took him three months to get comfortable enough with us to voluntarily walk across our laps - and another couple months to trust us enough to actually sit down and snuggle.  But once that trust was earned, it was freely given, 100%.  When Yoda wants love, he is insistent and there is no missing his intent.  Yoda was the first of our two cats to perfect what we've termed "the Flop" in which he presents his belly and begs us to love on him.  It's irresistible, so he usually gets what he wants.

Yoda is the smaller of our two cats, but he thinks he's ten feet tall and is hard as nails.  The funniest thing is to watch Yoda at a flat out run.  He's a Manx mix, so his back legs are long for his size.  He's fast as anything, but his rear legs sometimes threaten to overtake the rest of him. He is diabolically clever and totally knows when he's being naughty.  Although he exhibits natural feline caution when presented with a new situation, so long as he has his people around, he is fearless.  I once saw him face down a leashed black lab that was going nuts trying to "say hello" to him.  It didn't seem to concern Yoda at all. 

Kismet, on the other hand, is a giant softie.  He's a champion relaxer and adores a warm cuddle.  He also has an enormous head and paws and and loves his food.  It's possible that he may actually be a tiny, tiny black panther, but the running joke in our household when we're teasing him about being a walking belly is his insistence that he's merely BIG BONED! Kismet goes about the world with an expression of wide-eyed wonder.  If cats have nine lives, Kismet is most definitely brand new.  He is a complete fraidy-cat, disappearing at the first sign of a stranger.  He's not the smartest feline, but he is sweetly good-natured.  Except in one situation - Kismet hates getting his monthly flea drops on the scruff, and the abject look of dismay on his face at my betrayal each time is comical.  He usually forgives my treachery quickly, but it always takes a few days before he trusts me to walk by while he's eating, since I've found the easiest way to administer the drops is to sneak up on him when he's enjoying his breakfast.  Cruel, I know, but effective.

Yoda and Kismet are best buds, but Yoda can be the bane of Kismet's existence.  Kismet is often quite happily relaxing when, inexplicably, he will find Yoda's jaw fastened on his neck.  He will patiently tolerate it for a while, until his irritation is reflected in the swishing tail and he breaks free.  But even though he outweighs Yoda by a good 25%, he merely lays on his back - parrying Yoda's swipes until it's all too much and Kismet runs off at a particularly aggressive charge from his annoying smaller brother.  However, they usually hang out with each other and there isn't a much sweeter sight than these two cuddled up together for their naps.  I'm so glad we adopted them together.

We have a digital picture frame and every so often this picture pops up in the rotation from when they were kittens.  It cracks me up every time.  I find it hard to believe they were ever this small.  Yoda's ears are gigantic and that's why his name fit him so well. (Fortunately he grew into them, mostly.)  I think it's cool that our "unlucky" black cat's name means "fortune."

These little guys have added a lot of laughs and love to our home and I'm honored that they have adopted us too.

I love learning what people call their pets or hearing about their favorite little animal foibles.  My favorite pet names were our neighbor's pair of cats called Felony and Misdemeanor.  What have you got?


  1. I love cats. Had them my whole life. And like you, all of our cats are rescues. The cat Sam (and I) adopted at the beginning of our relationship is named Gracey, after a fighter. This little guy showed up, ugly as sin, after having survived a 30 mile drive under a car hood.

    Our oldest cat, a few months older than Gracey is Sophie. She's a little lady, petite, delicate, and beautiful.

    The baby is Charlie...a girl. And no the name isn't short for anything. She's simply a tomboy, rescued barn kitten.

    How would we live without them?

  2. I had two frogs named Howard and Johnson (after the restaurant Howard Johnson). :)

  3. Pip - That is awesome! We don't have HoJo's out here on the west coast, but as an old Pennsylvania girl, I remember them well.