18 November 2007

Life with the catchildren

People sometimes ask casually how many cats we have. When I say eight, a few nod understandingly, while others come to a complete halt and look aghast at me.

Uh, no....my longsuffering spouse is just as addicted to feline friends as I am.
To explain...when he met me, I had twelve cats, which shortly grew to 18 when the only unspayed female in the herd produced her third set of kittens in less than 9 months; as soon as I could after that, I got her spayed, and started finding homes for some of the herd. That was nine years ago, and while we've had a few come and go, lost a few to illness or misadventure since then, we have been stable at a minimum of eight. All neutered and needled, most of them rescues of one sort or another.

We spend a great deal of time with the cat-children, and they respond accordingly by wanting to help out as much as possible around the house. They like to do laundry, preventing it from leaping down off the table to get dirty on the floor.

Simon Q loves to help me read the morning paper. He devours some sections.

He also is very helpful when it comes to doing the dishes.

The cat-children are sometimes bad. Just a little bit. They do get up on every possible surface, from the top of the refrigerator to the top of doors to the counter--but this end of the counter is 'theirs'. They know where their can of kitty-treats lives, and they spend a great deal of time coaxing my better half into giving them treats at any possible time.

Of course, if that doesn't work, they'll try to get the can down themselves.

This is Mungus, chief instigator of just about anything that goes on in our house. He's one of the smartest cats I've ever seen, and definitely a strong personality. A couple of years ago I walked into the no-kill cat shelter at our veterinary's office, just for a look. I spied Mungus, he spied me, and he proceeded to ham it up tremendously for my benefit. My better half LOVES polydactyl cats, and I knew he'd love this cat, who promptly became Mungus (or Hugh E. Mungus Huntley, when he's naughty.)

He is the original hamcat, posing for the camera, but also to distract his parents from something naughty he might have done, like bugging Thistle.

Having extra thumbs is handy when you're a cat determined to get into something. He pushes this can on the floor if it's left within his reach, and opens cupboard doors. So far, he has yet to learn to open the doors of the house--so far.

Because he's so beloved and loves to go outside, we taught him to go on a harness--which he accepted and learned to walk along on in about fifteen minutes. He's insatiably curious, and though he wanted to make friends with JennyManyLumps, the world's stupidest donkey...she thought he might be a coyote.

Mungus loves to play; he's a giant kitten, although we think he's going to be about 4 in February, three years after we got him. When Nibs first had his back leg amputated, Mungus, like the others, was very gentle with him, but now they play a lot. Sometimes, though, it's just nice to sit in a sunny window and wash each other.

Other times, it's necessary to play...even when Tigger is not interested in playing. Mungus may have the biggest paddypaws in the household, but Tigger is the undisputed champion for having the fastest feet!

The nicest thing about Mungus is his friendliness. He LOVES people, (being a handsome and clever hamcat, he must appreciate his fans) and where some of the others are skittish around small people, he's just great with my better half's youngest granddaughter. And she obviously thinks he's just great too!


  1. jodi - i love the one on the newspaper - the cat matches the paper! do you think he knows that?

    I had a cat once. she was just like me. she died and I was heart broken and vowed to never get attached to another pet. Plus, I don't miss the cat hair. I was terrible at cleaning that stuff up.

  2. What a lively household you must have with 8 catchildren padding about. They are just gorgeous and lucky to have such adoring parents.

    I can almost feel the essence of your featured cat, Mungus. Great photos.

  3. I love it! My favorite of the photos is the kitty in the pantry helping himself to the treat can. What a hoot!

    With two dogs and a cat in a house with hardwood floors, I end up vacuuming every couple of days. It's either that or the hairballs start to move about like tumbleweeds! I see that aside from all the lovin' you have your work cut out for you.

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  4. they're all gorgeous characters. I intend to become a mad crazy cat lady at some point. there's always room for afew more!!

  5. Jodi: Great shots of your catchildren. They are all very handsome. Mungus' left paw looks just like the shape of my 'left handed mitten' garden! Have you heard the joke about why you don't have to buy your cat (cats) a Christmas or birthday present? Well, they already know that they own everything! Cats do act like that don't they!

  6. Great photos of them all! I want a cat ...

  7. The photo with your husband looks like cat-moons circling a human-planet.

  8. Awesome post! I adore Jenny Many Lumps! I am a donkey collector (not the real ones) but I do stop and photograph every donkey I see for my photo collection. I love donkeys because I feel they are misunderstood animals and I have always been a defender of the under-dog or donkey as the case may be. You post made my day with the donkey pic and the amusing descriptions of your cat's antics. Cats are really just furry people! Check my old donkey post and you'll understand!

  9. I'm jealous...my cats (3 of them) never help with the housework. But like you I do have one who enjoys opening the kitchen cupboards. :)

  10. Those are great pictures of your cats, Jodi! What fun they must be...

  11. They are all adorable. Can never have too many cats!

    My cats are in complete charge!

    Enjoyed your site!

  12. What a precious post, Jodi! I read it outloud to Hubby while one of our catchildren, Dee Dee, curled up between the keyboard and the computer monitor. She's like your Mungus--very social and LOVES little humans, even babies. Thanks for making us smile :)
    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage


    I couldn't resist. Such a life your cats have, such a life!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  14. I loved seeing all the photos of your catchildren! My favorite was the one with Mungus and JennyManyLumps---too funny. We have three cats at our place, and will probably get another soon since my daughters are already starting to beg us for a kitten. At least one of our older kitties (they're all around seven years old) will be very, very upset with us when that happens. Mungus reminds me of my Bug. They look nothing alike---Bug is pure black--but their personalities seem very similar. Bug is also adept at getting into cabinets. We used to keep their kitty treats in our pantry, but Bug was able to get in there and work the lid off of the kitty treat canister. Now we keep them in one of our kitchen cupboards :-)

  15. hi!! jodi!! hope u r fine. this is a nice post.

    between i hv done the tag. ck it out wenevr u do hv time.

    tk cr
    :) :) :)

  16. I love it!!! It takes a certain kind of person to truly appreciate cats:):) I am impressed with how many you have--my husband and I think we have a zoo with just our three!

  17. I LOVED reading about your cat children. I only wish my mom was still alive because she would adore reading about them and looking and laughing at the photos. I can see the pure contentment in your cat's eyes and faces -- obviously having 8 cats hasn't hampered you from giving them all the attention they obviously receive -- good on you and your husband and thanks for sharing this.

    Diane at Sand to Glass

  18. Hi all, and welcome from the cat-children and me...

    Gina: Simon Q knows. He's very very wise. Grey cats are. As for cat hair--it's a fashion accessory in our house. I spray paint the dustballs and call them performance art.

    Lisa, it's sometimes VERY lively here, especially when some of the herd similtaneously has an outburst of the evening crazies

    Robin, I hear you on the tumbleweeds (see above for decorating tips.)

    Claire, we're actually pondering adopting a couple of kittens just because as you say, there's always room...)

    Layanee, you're right--the cats own everything here, except maybe the vehicles. And I wouldn't put it past Mungus.

    Kelly, cats are like potato chips...hard to have just one. (but much better for us.)

    Xris, that's a hilarious and true description! I love it (and so will he when he reads it!)

    Queen Annie, Jenny is dumb as lint, but she's great at keeping the horse in the pasture and the coyotes and deer out. (She's 27 and has donkey Alzheimers, we figure.)

    Drowsey Monkey, I'm sorry your cats don't help with housework.I could get the cat-children to give yours tips...

    Kate, my grandmother always used to say "I was always good to cats, and they was always good to me." I think that would be a good epitaph for me.

    STrawberry Lane, hi and welcome! Yes, the cat-children are adorable...except possibly at 4 am when four of them land on the bed with a mouse...

    Cindy, I can just see Dee Dee on the desk--Simon Q was just here 'helping' me answer email but he got shy when he saw I was writing about him.

    Carol....SsssssHHHHHHHHHH! Don't tell anyone, okay? :-)

    Colleen: The kitty treat can used to sit on the counter, til Mungus came along and figured out that the treats live there. He started pushing it onto the floor. We moved it to the first shelf in the cupboard. He learned how to open the door with his paddypaw. We have worked up to the top shelf, and though he can't get UP on the top shelf (yet, anyway), he has pulled the can down a few times. I don't know where we'll move it next!

    Preetilata, all is well here. I'll come see what you've posted soon!

    Hi Jessica, here's a quote in a book I just received, "The cat...seems to be widely preferred by artists and writers--a tribe which with rare exceptions is almost fanastically individualistic." There, as a writer, I have my excuse--if I need one....:-)

    Diane, we do indeed have a herd of happy cats. There are squabbles by times, (Purrsonality conflicts) but they give us so much entertainment, joy and unequivocable love...I could not live without cats, not ever. Neither could my longsuffering spouse, who was approved wholeheartedly by a couple of the cats when we first met--and that told me far more than he could have about his personality. They just know stuff.

  19. Eight Cats? What are you, a very sane cat lover? Well done Jodi. Eight is the bare minimum of cats any catlover of good sense should have. I know, I have 8 myself, okay 8 and a half if you count my part-time kittycat Macavity. ;-)

    Fun post, I felt right at home reading it and looking at all the pics. Your Mungus is quite the character, which is as it should be. Love that big red dot on his belly! Simon Q is absolutely adorable too but then I have a soft spot of blue and blue tabby cats.

  20. All that I can say ls, Your blog is BEAUTIFUL.


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