Meet my cats — Sidney and Benny. You’ll find them featured often throughout my blog, because they mean so much to me. It’s hard to believe that I love these little kitties as much as I do. Let me tell you their stories and you’ll fall in-love with them too!
Now Tom and I had talked about getting a kitty or two numerous times, but I was so unbelievably allergic to them that every time we went to the store to buy one, we had to leave. Well, something amazing happened. I had chemotherapy in 2002, and somehow I believe that changed my chemical makeup. From that point on I was no longer allergic to any cat. What other explanation was there?
The Spring of 2003 was the year we moved into our home. We had not talked about getting a cat for a couple of years because of my allergy. It was Friday, just a few days before Christmas, and I was delivering gourmet cakes to our clients at work. At that time, I worked for an agency in the Northside of Pittsburgh. The Western PA Humane Society was one of our clients. They had built a brand new facility that year, and when I got there, my client insisted she give me a tour. Well, the animal lover that I am, I couldn’t say no! Oh my gosh, the beautiful cats and little kittens, the puppies, and the dogs, I loved them all. I spent an hour there, and at that point realized that my cat allergy wasn’t bothering me!
As I went from cat to cat, I came across one old, oddball, male cat named Munchkin. He was scruffy and quite quirky, but he was the cutest calico I had ever seen. I loved him right away — I think as much as he liked me. My client was shocked that he was being so playful with me that she took him out of his cage so I could spend some time with him. I was in-love, and I was heartbroken to say goodbye.
Well, it was 3 am on Saturday morning, December 20th when I woke up, sitting straight up in bed. I startled my husband and he was like, “what’s wrong — what’s the matter?” I looked at him and said, “Munchkin is supposed to be our cat, I know it, I just know it. Oh Tom, it came to me in a dream, I met him yesterday when I was at the Humane Society — and he’s supposed to live here!” Well, I hadn’t told him about my visit on Friday, because he would have told me not to think about it, because I would get my hopes up. He groaned and went back to sleep.
I got up very early on Saturday — a day I usually sleep in. It was 9 am, and I was showered and ready to go. Tom was reading the paper in the kitchen and was like, “where are you going?” I smiled and told him to get ready that we were going downtown so he could meet Munchkin. Well, that’s when the argument started. I pleaded with him that my allergy was gone. He argued that how it could by “mysteriously gone”? He told me he wasn’t driving downtown — the cat was probably already adopted. So I called, and no, Munchkin was still there, but she couldn’t hold him for us. We argued some more as Tom didn’t want to drive downtown, and furthermore, he didn’t really want to get a cat at all.
It really meant a lot to me to get a cat. We knew before we were married that we couldn’t have children. And with the cancer recurrence in 2002, we had put our adoption plans on hold to make sure the cancer was gone for good. Tom knew that a cat would be a good thing for me — for both of us — for the time being.
Well, a couple of hours later, Tom felt pretty bad that I was still upset. He told me to call the Humane Society and if Munchkin was still there, we would go and get him. The poor guy was inundated with kisses, and I ran to make the call. The disappointment was overwhelming. Somebody had adopted Munchkin. In that two hours, he was gone. Just like that, gone! Now Tom felt even worse. He told me to get my coat, there had to be another cat for us. And off we went!
As we looked at all the kitties in the cages, three new kittens were put into the play room. Two of the kittens were white with gray patches and the third kitten was all-gray. They were really tiny and their foster mom had dropped them off earlier in the week to be adopted. They had been spade. They were all sisters, named Molly, Mandy and Mindy. Tom and I played with them for about 20 minutes, and we knew that Molly, the all-gray kitten was ours. We changed her name to Sidney, and we took her home that day. She was the best Christmas present anyone could ever get! She will be ten years old this year, on September 22nd.
Sid’s quiet. She speaks in little squeaks and can sometimes get out a soft meow. She’s dainty most of the time, walking softly and quietly. She doesn’t like to curl up or cuddle or sleep on any blankets or pillows. She likes her space, but when she wants petted, she’ll let you know! She stayed even more in the background when Benny came along. She’s friendlier to strangers than Benny, and if it’s not too loud, she’ll come down to greet our guests. She loves to go outside. We got her an invisible fence in 2005 and she stays in the yard, playing with bugs, butterflies, leaves and other things. These days, on warm summer days, she’ll curl up on the rocking chair on the front porch and stay there in the sun all afternoon.
Well, we decided that Sid was pretty lonely while Tom and I were at work everyday. Tom’s Mom had convinced us that we should have two cats. So, it was the Spring of 2007, April 28th to be exact, and I had been calling around for two weeks looking for a kitten. For it being kitten-season, none of the shelters had kittens, and the pet stores didn’t have kittens yet, either, but to keep trying, they would arrive any day.
I called The Seahorse on route 8 in Allison Park and they had kittens — a whole bunch of them!!! So, we headed out to see what they had. I had decided I wanted an orange cat, and I would name him Oliver. Our vet recommended that we get a kitten and a male. He felt Sid would accept a male kitten into the house easier than a female.
They had about eight kittens — but we were only allowed to see three of them. The others were all sick with the same illness, but I didn’t know what it was. The three kittens they put in the play room were all black and white with various markings. I knew that I wanted a cat that talked more than Sid, because she was just so quiet. So we knew immediately which of the three kittens we wanted, because Benny never stopped talking! I never saw kittens as rambunctious as these little guys! They were all three brothers, and I hoped that someone else would adopt the other two together. Tom asked me if I wanted to wait to see if any other kittens became available. There was no way — I was already in-love with this little guy, all curled up on my chest as we checked out.
The ride home was so much fun. Tom drove, his mom was in front seat, and I sat in the backseat for the 30-minute drive home, holding Benny outside of his carrier. He was so small and I could hold him with one hand! We hadn’t named him yet and nobody liked Oliver for him. We all kept throwing names out — I had come up with Benjamin, Benny, Ben or Ben Ben for short. Everyone liked Benny, but not the formal Benjamin, so Benny it was! I remember he was a little frightened and had curled up under my chin. And at one of the stop lights in Cranberry, he jumped up on the window ledge and the little girl in the car next to me pressed her face against her window with a grin from ear to ear. He was such a cute little cat with his giant ears and super long tail. Tom teased that he looked like Stewart Little. So he called him Stewey for a while.
Benny is not quiet at all. He’s always talking or meowing, sometimes at night he gets pretty loud. He meows if he’s mad. He meows if he wants his treats, or wants to go outside, or wants to come inside, or just to be loud! He’s so rambunctious! He’s an instigator. He runs through the house and you’d think he’s a horse!
He’s a cuddler. He will curl up on my lap, under my neck, on my legs, on a blanket, throw, pillow, coat or even my computer bag! At night he sleeps as close as he can to my face. Sometimes on my head or next to my heart. Sometimes he uses my hand as his pillow. It’s so darn cute, your heart just melts. I could be 3,000 degrees, sweating and hotter than hot, but I don’t move, I don’t disturb him. He loves to be petted and he purrs so loudly, you can’t fall asleep until he does. Benny is afraid of strangers and the sound of the doorbell will have him scrambling to a hiding place. Guests rarely see him and it has to be completely quiet for him to come out. He doesn’t like commotion from people he doesn’t know. He loves to go outside. Sometimes you can’t even find him to get him back in. Other times he meows loudly at the door like you left him out there for days without food and water. And sometimes you can find him sleeping peacefully on the front porch in the sun.
My cats are both so very different, but I love them both equally the same for all their differences! If you’re thinking about whether or not to get a kitten or a cat, just know that they’ll bring you complete joy! They bring very little maintenance and more love then you can ever imagine.