It's show off your cats week on BookLikes so consider this post the digital equivalent of one of those accordion photo thingies people used to carry in their wallets. Unless you love cats, you might want to skip this as it's LONG!
I've had a lot of cats in my life over the years, but the first cat I had as an independent "adult" was Junior:
He came to me when I was at University; a knock on the door of my apartment one day revealed a little boy and a tiny, terrified black and white kitten. The boy had been playing outside, heard pitiful crying and followed the sound to the dumpster; someone had thrown him away and the boy was looking for someone who'd adopt the tiny, frighted kitten. It was instant love - not a moments hesitation in spite of the fact that he smelled bad. He was my little shadow for 12 years afterwards and the only cat I've ever owned who loved riding in the car; he traveled everywhere with me, even though he hated and hissed at everyone except me; he'd climb my leg (but knew only to do it when I wore jeans) when he wanted to be held (which was always). He started having kidney problems at age 10 and I could not, not just put him down. The vet showed me how to give him IV fluids; first twice a day, then once a day and eventually once every couple of days and he lived happily for many years after that. He passed away while I was on holiday in Europe and I still miss him so much it brings tears to my eyes.
While I had Junior I also adopted Boris and Christmas. Boris was a rescue shelter kitten and Christmas was an abandoned cat who showed up on my doorstep on, you guessed it, Christmas day.
Boris and Christmas made the move with me from Florida to Australia and two sweeter more loving cats you'd be hard pressed to find. Christmas was shy but loved big pets and Boris loved food! She passed away about 8 months after moving over, from a kidney stone big enough to cause a blockage - it was removed but her kidney failed to heal. Boris lived another 3 years or so and passed away from heart failure and old age at 15.
Upon being released from quarantine, Boris and Christmas met their new sister - my partner's cat - Baby.
For the record, Baby was adopted with her name and was too old to answer to anything else, unfortunately. She was a beautiful, affectionate cat: until she wasn't. She was the only cat we've ever had where we've had to discourage kids from playing with her, because she rarely gave any warning she was tired of the attention before she unsheathed her claws. Right before we moved into our new house, Baby was found to have a large tumour in her stomach; it, along with 2/3 of her stomach were removed and she went through several months of chemo.
We were prepared for a lot of sick cat and struggling, but she came through it like a champ - the doctors were astounded at how quickly she rebounded and how little weight she lost during treatment. Unfortunately, about a year later, the cancer returned, much more aggressively than before and she was unable to fight it a second time.
Today we have 3 cats (1 of which is temporary) and I've splashed them about BookLikes before. Easter was a rescue kitten we adopted after Christmas passed away; we got her, of course, on Easter weekend and my then partner (now husband) thought it a fitting name (I agreed). Baby surprisingly took to her like she was her lost lost kitten - zero angst upon bringing Easter home. Boris, too pretty much took the attitude of "eh, whatever".
What we didn't know when we brought her home was she was already infected with cat flu. A few days after we brought her home she started the full sneezing, running eyes routine. Unfortunately, she was hit with it hard and a couple of days on, she stopped eating (if cats can't smell, they won't eat). As you may have guessed from reading some of what we've done to try to keep our cats healthy, I am unable to just let "nature take its course" - so I force-fed her liquified food and medicine for 5 days; oftentimes it was a dead heat as to which of us was more covered in food and medicine afterwards as she'd spit it all back out at me and squirm like a mad snake the whole time, but I was determined to get enough food in her to keep her liver safe and I succeeded. After 5 days of turning her back on food I offered her, she suddenly fell on it like, well, a starving cat. She ate so much her belly got visibly distended. It's the most she's ever, before or since, eaten in a day.
She's a sweetheart, incredibly affectionate and the most like Junior of any cat I've had: she's very much "mine" and strongly dislikes just about everyone else in the world except my husband who she's pretty sure hangs the moon in the sky just for her. We figured that given how she loved Baby and Boris, bringing a new kitten into the house would be a piece of cake.
We figured wrong, of course. Carlito was our only ever non-rescue kitten. One of Mason's employees bred their Ragdoll cats and the litter was born a short time after Baby passed away, so MT was offered the pick of the littler as a gift. How could we possibly say "no" to this little guy?
As it turns out, Easter could say no; often and at great volume. There are no pictures here of Carlito and Easter together because they try never to be in the same place at the same time. They've reached a state of peaceful co-existence by simply giving each other a lot of space. He's a big mush-ball though and he know's he's beautiful and likes to be admired by everyone who comes in the house. He's the drama-free cat in our lives at the moment, although usually good for entertainment of the doofus variety.
He also worships the ground my husband walks on: he wails when MT leaves the house and can hear his car when it turns into the street and tears through the house towards the front door making rapturous sounds the entire way. He "talks" to MT the entire time he's coming in the front door and once he sits down, Carlito is on his lap and chest, staring at him as if in worship. Embarrassing for a cat, really. He tolerates me with good humour but his existence revolves around MT. The plus side of this is that I am not the one he wakes up at 5am by walking on my face and meowing in my ear. :D
Finally, our temporary step-cat, Wasabi:
I wish I could say integration is going well, but alas it is not. 4.5 months later and he still hates Easter and frequently stalks and attacks her. We have tried everything from rescue remedy to pheromones (which do seem to help a little bit) but short of a Xanax IV drip, I think we're just going to have to hunker down and wait it out. His 'real' parents are staying in AU (change of plans) so as soon as they find a house, he'll be going home to his family. I love him, he's a sweet old thing when he's not trying to kill Easter, but I admit I'll be less sad than I anticipated 4 months ago to see him go back home.