I admit it. I used to just be a dog person. Sure, I’d grown up with dogs AND cats, but they were mostly barn cats that did their own thing, and aside from playing with the half-wild kittens when they were still young enough to handle, there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction. They were kind of typical cats. They did their thing and us humans, did ours. It wasn’t that I didn’t like cats, I’d just never been as close to a cat as I had my dogs. That give-or-take-them mentality followed me into adulthood, until five years ago this week, when a little orange and cream swirled cat changed how I feel about cats.
KK was my first cat rescue. Aside from maybe one or two other times, he was the only cat I’d ever even seen around the area in over ten years. The ones I saw from a distance and just briefly a time or two, were not even remotely interested in human contact, so my encounter with KK was odd, to say the least.
Five years ago this week, I was in the house early one evening when my four dogs at the time, started making a very loud commotion outside. It was the kind of serious commotion that warranted a hasty look to see what was causing the ruckus. Had my dream of Jason Statham getting lost in my area come true??!! I hurried outside to see.
Now I’m not certain about this, but I am pretty confident that this was the first cat most of these dogs had ever seen and they were convinced it was a serious intruder. They were so convinced, they had treed him and were barking like crazy dogs as loudly as they could underneath him. I walked up to the cedar tree where the dogs were, half expecting to see a raccoon or a possum. Instead, approximately six feet up the tree sat an orange cat on a branch, calm as a cucumber.
I put the dogs in the garage and went back to the tree to assess the cat situation. To my surprise, the cat was still there. As I gently talked to him, he calmly worked his way down the tree and walked right over to me, like we were old friends. I was shocked. Was he deaf? Upon closer inspection of him, I found him to be in pretty rough shape. His ear was jagged, he had a broken tooth, he was very thin and was covered in ticks. I picked him up and carefully carried him to the house.
Having to go back through the garage to get into the house, one of my dogs, determined that this was NOT a friendly, was viciously barking and jumping up, trying to get a piece of the cat. As I tried to calmly (so as not to yell in the cat’s face) tell my dog to get down and back off, I was afraid he was going to try to snatch the cat out of my arms. It was very tense. Worse yet, I expected the cat at any second, to climb up my neck and face to get away from the very loud and aggressive dog. He remained calm and cool. It was truly unbelievable, and an experience I will never forget.
I finally managed to work my way through the highly excited pack of dogs to get that sweet little soul into the house, where he promptly ran and hid behind the t.v. for a week. Eventually, he came out, where I discovered that he also had worms. After a deworming, fattening up and checking the outlets to see if anyone was missing an orange cat, off to the vet we went for ‘Kitty Kitty’ to be checked out, neutered and get his shots.
Because I didn’t fully understand the potential of cats, nor was I interested in having another full-time indoor animal besides Abby (my lab), that would make taking a vacation someday, that much harder, I set about finding him a new home. With no outbuildings, even keeping him as an outside cat wasn’t feasible. Nobody was interested. I finally decided to just keep him.
Training the dogs not to bother him proved to be quite easy, once they determined he was not a threat of any kind and seeing how I interacted with him reinforced the whole ‘pack leadership’ role I play around here. After a couple weeks of close supervision and monitoring, I felt comfortable letting him come and go as he pleased without worry of anyone bothering him. No one ever did.
Calling the new cat “Kitty Kitty” seemed too feminine and generic after a while, so one day, I shortened it to ‘KK’ and he came, so that became his new name. He went from a cat that didn’t like to be held and would wander off and do his own thing, to a cat that enjoys being held and is always close by, preferring to share a foot rest, chair seat, lap or spot close by me. He has taken on one of the dogs a time or two when they get too rowdy playing near me and I know he’d fight to the death for me, if he ever felt I was in real harm.
For having so many battle scars, he is one of the gentlest cats and whenever I take in a new cat, he’s always extremely patient, accepting and nice to them. As the oldest cat I have, we estimate him to be between 7-9 years old. I want him to live forever.
KK changed the way I feel about cats, and looking back, I’m sad that it took me so long to see just how dog-like and wonderful they can be. Somehow the universe seems to have decided to catch me up, as I now currently have more cats than dogs and I’m perfectly ok with that. They each have their own unique personalities and I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a dog. I’m also ok with never taking a vacation. I’d miss and worry about them all too much to enjoy myself, anyway.
My advice to those of you that don’t consider yourself a ‘cat person’, just keep an open mind. While some cats can be stand-offish and only interact on their terms, there are plenty out there that are as sweet, loyal and as obedient (or more so) as any dog.