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Feline Love Bites: A Love Affair with Cats

Feline Love Bites: A Love Affair with Cats

Welcome to the newest cat-centric addition to Care2: Feline Muse, written by me, Cherise Udell, a 40-something mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and most importantly for this blog, cat aficionado.
My love of cats seemingly began in a past life. As a child, I would whisper conspiratorially to anyone who would listen that, “while I am human now, I was most definitely, absolutely once a cat.”

When I was seven, I started a cat club with my two best friends. To make our club official we decided upon leopard print jumpsuits emblazoned with our club name, “The Copy Cats.” If we wore our costumes, which of course we did, we always got a discount at the roller rink. Cats on Skates — we thought we were hip and starting a new trend, but somehow it never caught on.

As a teenager I was always dragging home stray furballs – Midnight, the black silky beauty; Shortcakes, the petite Calico; James Bond, the handsome tuxedo cat with mischievous yellow eyes and a penchant for stealing panties out of the laundry bin. My mom was tolerant as long as I paid for their food and eventually found them new homes – that is until our extended cat family ballooned to eight!

In my late twenties, I flirted with adventure and moved to Ecuador where I was a swashbuckling, machete-wielding Amazon Jungle guide (really!). This Amazon adventure brought me in close proximity not only to tarantulas, piranhas, and anacondas, but also to an entirely new menagerie of felines: ocelots, jaguarundis, oncillas, and jaguars.

My favorite cat encounter was the one that was most up close and personal, very personal: I became a surrogate mama to an orphaned ocelot kitten. I named this little bundle of fur and fangs, Mishki Supai, which translated to Sweet Devil in Quechua, the ancient tongue of the Incas. Mishki Supai slept with me at night (on my chest or curled around my head), followed me through the rainforest during the day and climbed the screened windows of my thatched cabana when she was left alone. She purred, stretched her claws and groomed just like your typical housecat. But her wildcat spit and vinegar came out when it was feeding time. Let’s just put it this way – you absolutely did not want to put your hand in between Mishki and her food, otherwise you would be her food. When Mishki was full grown at about 25 pounds, I sadly relinquished her to the Quito Zoo.

Now that I am a semi-urban homemaker-mother-activist in Salt Lake City, Utah, the exotic days of raising ocelot kittens are long past. However, being the cat lover that I am, we adopted three rescue cats (Mr. Mittens, Sushi and Rikki Tikki Tabby, shown above) and our home is a revolving door of foster kittens and their mamas.

Please share your love stories. Was there a special cat that cuddled and purred its way into your heart? When did your love of cats begin? And can you be both a “cat person” and a “dog person”? Looking forward to your comments.

Related:
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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

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5:49AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Always have had cats, but love dogs also and other animals as well. If I had a big farm, I'd have so many animals...

1:05AM PDT on May 25, 2013

When I used to live in a neighborhood with some stray cats they would find my home (I shared it with my family since i was only 9) and I would give them cat food because i had a kitten also. There were like 5 stray cats in total, we named them but we couldn't keep all of them because it was an apartment and we lived up stairs. One was named Tabby and we thought that the little kitten with Tabby was her baby because it looked like her. The other one was named Werro, it looked sort of like garfield but the color was lighter, the other one was named Thomasa, she (we think it was a she) was all black with white paw tips and white on her chest, and the last one hardly came, we named her or him Luna or Shadow because it was all black with a little mark of white on its forehead.
My kitty's name was Meow Meow and he was cute, he had black stripes, light brown chest and was sort of gray. he ran away before the day we moved and we never saw him since, and I was really sad because we left the stray cats there and my Kitty there :( :( :( :( :.(

3:17AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013

Being a cat aficionado is both comforting and delightful. Cats can bring such comfort, serenity and companionship to one as a senior, young adult or a small child looking for solace and comfort after being sexually abused. The cat can be a lifeline and a true friend in a time of need when there is no one to understand. Or a small child facing years of bullying at school returning home and finding a furry feline friend giving purrs and love. A fabulous cat gives support to a crying and confused child. Unconditional support and love. Soothing for so many.

People with a less chaotic life and loving partners also find comfort in the love of a cat.
One often can be both a cat and dog person. There are also many homes where cats and dogs get along and are lifetime companions. They seek each other out along with their human friends. Sadly, cats and dogs don't live as long as most humans and it is often so heartbreaking when they depart before we do. One can feel comfort that there are many shelter cats waiting for special love and companionship after the pain resides of losing a furry friend.

8:12AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

6:02PM PST on Dec 14, 2011

thx

9:26PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Aint love grand! I adore animals, but due to my work I am only able to have cats, otherwise, I would have a zoo!! My cats are purr machines and whenever I say, "I love you" they purr like crazy. I have been telling this since they were iddy-biddy little kitties and they KNOW exactly what this term of endearment means. I love them so much and wish ALL animals felt the LOVE that my little ones receive. They so deserve it!

9:23PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I can't remember a time that I did not have a cat. My Mom was a cat lover and passed it on to all her children. My first cat had a litter of kittens during the night and moved them to my bed. One of my best childhood memories is of waking and finding Kigger and her five babies in bed with me. When I was married I immediately got two kittens who also loved us. My son was born with allergies, cat was one of them, so I did without a cat for about ten years. A stray took up at our house and I kept her, as an outside cat. After few months, I discovered that my son had been bringing her in at night and letting her sleep with him. Apparently the allergy treatments worked. I haven't been without a cat since. All my cats have been strays or rescues since I have been an adult. I am the neighborhood cat lady, all the strays seem to find me. I also love dogs, and have had four really wonderful dogs in my life. You can love both. I feed ferals, too. Now I have a two year old granddaughter who is allergic to cats. Hopefully, she to will overcome this allergy. She will be the only one in my family without a cat if she doesn't.

4:04PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I have never had a cat, but this past summer I rescued my third cat, Alice, and I got to keep her! The first cat my brother and I found when we were little, he went to live with one of our friends. The second cat we named Thomas O'Malley, I found him in the middle of winter while I was walking our dog. He has been living with our neighbor for 4 years. Alice was 6 weeks old when I found her at my aunt's house. Her favorite toys are pens, paper, and a squeaky mouse.

8:22AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I've lived with cats my whole life. My parents had a stray momcat give birth to her kittens in their closet when I was a baby. My husband & I have had 20 cats during our marriage. Right now we have 4, 3 of whom were a litter of feral kittens. We found them at 5 days old and hand raised them. (Something happened to their momcat. It looks like she was trying to move the litter to safety as 2 kittens were in the nest and 1 was way up the hill.) They are now 7 years old and the light of our lives.

10:19PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

16 years ago I became aware of a feral momma cat and four of her kittens living under my rented apartment. Momma cat managed to get in there through a broken ventilation grate. I started feeding her as she was starving. When the kittens were about 5 weeks old the momma disappeared - most probably hit by some car. I continued to leave food out for the kittens who were incredibly wild. Two of the kittens were hit by cars and killed. The remaining two stayed just out of reach of my grasping hands. I named them: Spider and Bub. After about 3 months I managed to coax them to my door for feeding. Both were beautiful black kittens. Spider was medium-haired and Bub, short-haired. Eventually they came into my flat in the winter to lay in front of the heater but only for a short time. If I didn't let them outside when they wanted they would both start panicking and I didn't them to alienate me. I could pat them but not pick them up. Bub went missing for 3 days and I thought he too must be dead but on the 4th day as I was once again calling out to him through the ventillation grate I noticed a movement right at the very back of the space they called home. Bub came forward very slowly. I put out my hands and he collapsed into them. When I pulled him out I was horrified to see that his right-sided paws were both squashed flat. I quickly carried him inside and lay him in front of the heater. The mobile vet I called took Bub away telling me both paws would have to be part

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