Thursday, January 21, 2010

College cats

I find cats everywhere I go. They know I need them. They find me.

My first two years of college, I tried to conform to be like everyone else. I had one friend who I mostly hung out with, and I tried to be like her, because she was "normal." I didn't know at that point just why I was so different, but I knew that I was, and I tried to hide it. I tried to be a "normal" friend. In case you're wondering how that worked out, she broke down and said she hated me at the beginning of my junior year. I had no friends, and I kept to myself, until I met Leigh. When I try to be friends with people and don't act like my true self, it falls apart.

Well, getting to the cats... one day, I was walking down the street with that friend and a few others and I saw cats in a store front. I got really excited. I said that I wanted to stop and pet the cats, and they told me that I was being ridiculous and couldn't just stop and pet people's cats. It was a store, for goodness' sakes; they weren't people's cats, they were up for public petting if they were in a store. Still, I was too determined not to be the weirdo, so I didn't push it. But I never forgot about those cats.

A year or so later, without many human friends to speak of, I went back to that music store with the cats. I went in, and without even introducing myself to the guy at the front desk, I played with the cats. I started to come down every week or so, often bringing a string. As I got to know Leigh, she started to come with me. Sometimes, after a particularly rough day, we would walk down to the cats so that I could feel better. Over time, I got to know Chuck and Kevin, the owners. They, and the cats, began to expect me. I'm grateful that they never make me talk to them. I can just say a quick hi, and then spend my time with the cats. After a few months, Chaos, my favorite of the cats, would come running to the front of the store when I came in. Kevin affectionately calls me Chaos's "girlfriend."

During my sophomore year of college, I was walking around outside with the old friend, when a cat popped out of the bushes. He was super friendly. We took him to campus safety, hoping that they would be able to tell us what to do with him. They said that they were aware of his presence, but that all of the local shelters were full and would just put him down, so they were hoping that his family would find him. It was December and cold, though, so we couldn't just leave for Christmas break and let him stay on campus with no college kids to feed him. I lived underground at the time. My window was below ground level and had a dug out area around it with bars over the top. From outside, we simply removed the bars, put the cat in the dug out area, then opened the window. Out popped the cat onto my roommate's bed! I kept him for three days, and he was thrilled to have food and get brushed and sleep on a heated blanket. When my mom came to pick me up to take me home for break, she brought a cat carrier. My friend put the cat in the carrier and drove home to New York with him. There, she dropped him off at a no-kill shelter near her home and visited him everyday until he got adopted. Happy ending.

The other cat that I managed to find also lived outside on campus. It was starting to drop into the 20's at night, and again, it was almost time to go home for Thanksgiving break. My mom has some old friends that live in a farm, and they have mousing cats that they also provide food for. So, I brought the kitty into my (also underground) room for a day so that I could find him at a moment's notice (I brought him down in a box, right int the doors). I called the friends who were more than willing to take him. They brought a cat carrier, and we got him settled. Last I heard, he was doing great.

If you need a cat, one will find you. They know. Even if you try to hide your love for cats, they won't let you. They'll come tracking you down until you have to display just what a cat lover you are. They don't care if people think you're weird; they'll love you anyway. If you're really lucky, your people will still love you too.


  1. Had to laugh at the last paragraph - we have two cats that came to us through a friend. We wanted a cat or two to live outside in the stables and keep on top of the mouse and rodent population. The kittens came home to the stables but had a couple of misadventures, so to cut a long story short (maybe I should blog it?), they have ended up a year later as working cats, yes, but living in a cosy utility room with cosy beds next to the boiler and toys to play with when the weather's too bad for successful hunting.

    We have never had cats before, and I would never have described myself as a cat person but they have wound their way into my heart and I would never want to be without them now. every so often they sneak through to the front room and after a hard night with the girls I have been known to have a sneeky snooze with a at or two on my lap....but I'm not a cat person, just so's you know. ;)

  2. We love our kitties here. Though I'd love to find a new home for the fraidy cat in the attic!

    P.S. You hair looks cute!