Confessions of a Cat Lover

Hi, everyone. We’ve made to tax day here in the United States. Time for some to cry (those who have to pay) and time for some to rejoice (if they’re getting a refund). It’s also a time when tax accountants, such as my friend Dave, to take a much-needed break. Dave refers to himself as a recovering tax accountant and tomorrow he’ll probably be recovering somewhere.

It’s been a busy month for the other authors and me at Story Empire. And, as usual, most of my posts here have either been links or guest posts for the Story Empire Roadshow that concluded earlier this month. I figured it was time for a little original content.

For anyone who has followed my blog for a while or connects with me on Facebook, you already know how much I adore my cats. Recently, friend and fellow author Mae Clair posted about her darling rescue cat, Raven. When I left a comment about how much Raven resembles one of my fur babies, Mae strongly suggested it was time for me to write a post about them. And even though you may have read something about them, today I’m going to tell a little about how we came to have these two mischievous little rascals.

Tucker as a fourteen-week-old kitten a few days after we brought him home.

Tucker is the older of the two. We didn’t expect him to come into our lives because we already owned an almost identical black and white cat named Cruz. On Christmas Eve a few years ago, Cruz got out of the house and ran away. Because we live in the country, we feared coyotes got him. Both my husband and I wanted another cat, and when I learned a friend had a kitten to give away, I messaged her. She texted back a photo, and I couldn’t believe how much he resembled Cruz – even down to the black spot beneath their chins.

By that evening, Tucker was ours. This little four-pound bundle quickly found his way into our hearts. He loved to cuddle, so I began to call him my little snuggle bug. This led to a nickname, and I call him Bug almost as often as Tucker.

Three weeks after Cruz disappeared, he showed up on our doorstep but refused to come inside. (I wrote about his reappearance in this post.) After about two weeks, he decided he’d had enough of outdoor living. He came inside and acted as if nothing had ever happened. Fortunately, both cats liked one another.

Little Bit, shortly after he showed up on our doorstep.

Two years ago, a black Manx kitten found his way to our home. Once again, we weren’t looking for a cat since we had two, but Little Bit decided he wanted to be with us. We began feeding him and planned to find him a good home. I was fearful of allowing a cat to stay outdoors and my husband was adamant about not having three cats in the house.

Well, this little guy wanted to be with us. One day he followed us into the fenced-in area of our back yard and almost lost one of his nine lives at the hand (or should I say mouth) of our dog, Maggie. After a trip to the emergency vet clinic and a rather hefty bill, Little Bit became ours. From the beginning, he never showed any fear of us, and I’ve since learned that Manx cats are often shy around strangers. He hides if we have company. About the only other person he’ll come out for is my brother.

Cruz ran away again having escaped from his pet carrier one day when I brought him home from the vet. Almost two years have passed, so I doubt we’ll ever see him again. I tell myself that he found a good home and didn’t meet his fate with some wild animal.

Last year, I saw a black and white cat at the far end of our field and convinced myself it was Cruz. He looked healthy and happy and was in the company of another cat. My husband says it wasn’t him, but I think it was. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Tucker is hard at work supervising while I edit.

Tucker and Little Bit are best buddies (as you can see in the top photo). Like most cats, they sleep the majority of the time, but they also like to “help” me when I’m writing.

Little Bit is helping out. (Or rather, sleeping!)

They are famous for walking across my keyboard. One of them managed to type 78 in the Google search toolbar, hit the enter key, and got results.

Both cats have made their way into my stories and books. Little Bit was the model for the cat Tinkerbell in my short story The Keeper’s House.  (Featured in the anthology, Macabre Sanctuary.) After all, what’s Halloween without a black cat?

Tucker was the inspiration for Whiskers in Unseen Motives. And yes, like Whiskers, Tucker has the longest whiskers of any cat I’ve ever known. In my opinion, when a character owns a pet, it tells me a lot about his or her personality.

Now you know the story of my fur babies. I’m sure these two felines will inspire other pieces of writing. At the least, I can count on one or both to be nearby to “assist” when I write.

And by the way, I also love dogs. We have a family tradition of deciding names for our canines. I’ll share that in a future post. (And yes, I’ve put dogs in stories!)

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  • I used to love my cat so much! She was named Phoebe, after the character in one of my all time favourite tv shows, Friends, and was such a loving cat. She used to wait for me to come home from school near the back door. Then she spent the afternoon with me while I was studying and often slept in.my backpack. When she died I was so sad I never had the courage to take another cat. Now my husband is allergic so it’s impossible, but I still miss having a cat.
    I love stories wth cats and dogs, and animals in general, in them. Have you ever read James Herriot?

    • So sorry about Phoebe, Irene. Did you ever call her “Phoeebs” like the other Friends called Phoebe sometimes? What a cute name for a cat.

    • Sorry about your cat. It’s never easy to lose our fur babies. Love the name, Phoebe. I haven’t read James Herriot. I’ll have to check him out.

  • Joan, you have such a kind heart. That’s why those animals all found you.

    And I think it was Cruz in your yard. with the other cat, too.

    • Oh, thanks, Staci. That’s so sweet of you to say. Yes, I’m sure it was Cruz. I love animals, especially baby ones. I would have a menagerie if I could.

  • Aww, I loved learning about your lovely furbabies (and thanks for linking back to Raven). I definitely think Cruz dropped by to let you know he was okay and had just decided to live the rest of his life “in the wild.”

    Tucker and Little Bit are adorable and I love how they snuggle together.

    I had a good laugh over Google 78 story. Raven once walked on my keyboard and knocked out a whole back of copy that I hadn’t saved. Thank heavens for auto backup,LOL. Cats are lovable even when they’re bad 🙂

    • Yes, I’m convinced it was Cruz. Funny thing, when he ran away the first time, he ran with a similar looking cat. So there you have it. 🙂 Auto backups saved your day! I try to be careful to save any work if I walk away in case one of these little devils decides to use the keyboard! 🙂

  • C. S. Boyack

    I love to put animals into my stories. I try to do it with purpose, but some of them have been a lot of fun. They’re just like other characters in that they develop personalities and try to take over.

    • I agree with not putting animals in a story without a reason. They do tend to have their own personalities. Would love to see Otto somewhere. 🙂

      • C. S. Boyack

        Otto is in a story, only Sue Coletta borrowed him and wrote it.

  • kathunsworth

    They are adorable Joan and are very lucky to have such caring owners. I have four cats and none of them get along. My daughter says maybe they are all from different clans as she read the Warrior cat series when she was young and so we imagine what they say to each other. i would love to see them all curl up together but don’t think it will ever happen. Happy Easter to you.

    • I’m fortunate these two do get along. When I had the two black and white cats, they were also buddies. Having three in the house didn’t work out. I hated leaving Little Bit outside, and after Cruz ran away, Little Bit became an indoor cat.

      Hope your Easter was a good one!

  • Joan, enjoyed this so much. I’d forgotten Cruz left again. Your sighting was real! I’m sure of it. Our Maggie, like Tucker, has the longest whiskers, almost too long for her little face. She’s got a vet visit this morning and isn’t going to be happy when she finds out. But we love her so much we are dedicated to keeping her healthy.

    • Tucker has a reputation of being “aggressive” at the vet. It’s because we also board them there if we’re on vacation. He does NOT want to be away from us. Hope Maggie had a good day. You’re doing the right thing about keeping her healthy.

  • Dave Kwiecinski

    What a nice and highly entertaining story, Joan! Thanks for the shout out, by the way. I’m a lifelong crazy dog lover who was converted into a crazy cat daddy by my family. We had NINE cats at one point. Yes. A long, long time ago, I objected to taking in the fourth one (much like your husband with Little Bit). Then #5 showed up at our front door. That was a black kitten. We named her Little Kitten (yes, we are clever). Little Kitten is now a grandmother and unfortunately she is extremely frail. We’re afraid we won’t have her much longer.

    LK had two litters. We kept the runt of her first litter. Bun Bun closely resembles Tucker! Bunny also had two litters. We kept three of the four from her second litter. Insane? Yes. But this crazy dog lover just loves his cat menagerie. Two of Daddy’s little babies have passed away. One ran away. Like Cruz, I want to believe he found a good home, away from all the hubbub of our crowded home.

    • Dave, I’m like you. I always liked cats, but was a dog lover at heart. (Still am.) But I love my kitties. They are so cozy and comforting. I’ve seen pictures of Bun Bun and yes, she does look a lot like Tucker. When we had to take Little Bit to the emergency vet clinic, we didn’t even know if he would live. They asked his name and I said, “Little Bit.” It stuck and it just fits him.

      Yes, I choose to believe your cat found a good home! Thanks for stopping by and be sure to have some recovery time!