At some point in the last decade, I became what some would refer to as a “crazy cat lady.” I’m not actually a lady, and it also isn’t cool to refer to people as “crazy,” so I’ve decided on and resigned to simply being The Cat Guy that most people in my circles know.

My nephew Andrew hugging Tigger.

It all started back in late 2013 when my nephew, brother, and I took a trip to the local animal shelter. Truth be told, for as long as I can remember, our family had always been “dog people,” so we were actually looking for a new pupper to add to the family. We looked for a while, but couldn’t find any dogs at the time that we thought would make good additions to our family. Before leaving the shelter entirely though, I sighed and said to them, “Let’s at least look at the cats…” So we were taken to the cat area and were suddenly overwhelmed by crates stacked upon crates of cats and kittens who needed a good home. It was seriously depressing to see the number of cats versus dogs that were homeless. Everyone loves a good dog, and dogs are considered the most popular pet to have in the United States, but I think there’s still a large number of people who remain skeptical of felines.

As depressing as it was, I still wasn’t convinced to take home a pet kitty until we started to pass one crate where a paw reached out and grabbed hold of my shoulder. I stopped and took a look inside to see the most gorgeous big cat in the room. His name was Tigger, the cat that I wrote about not too long ago. After opening his crate and holding him for a little while, I knew that we would be bringing him home. The family didn’t object much and even grew to love the big guy themselves.

And that was the start of my downfall. My addiction to all things related to cats started with Tigger, but certainly didn’t end there. A few years later, in the spring of 2016, a friend of my dad’s had an acquaintance who had two kittens. This woman, horrific as it sounds, was being evicted from her apartment and was prepared to simply release the two kittens to fend for themselves on the streets of Louisville in the process. Dad knew that wasn’t cool and knew that I wouldn’t stand for it either and he asked, “Do you want these kittens?”

Rufus the snuggle bug.

Tigger had been an only child for a few years now so I wasn’t sure how he would react to having other animals in the house, but I also knew that I couldn’t let this woman just abandon two kittens on the street. Ultimately deciding to do the right thing, he and his friend took a trip down to Louisville to retrieve the two kittens and brought them home to us. That’s when we added Rufus and Oliver to our family. About a month later, Oliver sadly got unexpectedly sick and needed to be euthanized on what might be one of the most emotionally difficult days of my life. Seeing as what caused the sickness could have been genetic, I was worried that Rufus might eventually suffer the same fate, but he has instead been with us for the last six years and appears to be just fine. More than fine, in fact. After losing his brother, he became something of my shadow and sleeps next to me in my bed each and every single night. He’s my little snuggle bug!

After the heartbreaking loss of Oliver and then years spent loving Tigger and Rufus, we were convinced that we didn’t need any more pets. As much as I would love to have the time, money, and resources to save every single dog and cat in the world, we were content with what we had.

Then in the early months of 2021 when it was still especially cold in Kansas where my sister lives, she took in a cat that appeared to be homeless and was wandering around out in the snow. The cat, whom she decided to name Karen due to her ill temperament around her other animals, turned out to be pregnant and had six kittens in their home. Having recalled that I once said I always wanted to be like Babette on Gilmore Girls and have an orange cat named Cinnamon, my sister decided that one of the orange kittens from Karen’s litter was destined to be ours. She kept three of the cats from the litter herself, and the other two went to my nephew. A few months later, when my sister and brother-in-law came to Indiana for a visit, they brought Cinnamon to us and he’s been a part of the brood ever since.

Hurricane Cinnamon!

And let me be the first to tell you that Cinnamon is a little bit of a hurricane.

We got extraordinarily lucky and a little bit spoiled with Tigger and Rufus. Both are mild-mannered and calm cats that want nothing more than to eat, sleep, and be loved. Cinnamon, on the other hand, sometimes seems like he just wants to watch the world burn. He’s energetic and destructive without meaning to be. He always wants our food when we’re eating meals. He gets the zoomies like nobody’s business. He chases poor Rufus through the house when Rufus just wants to be left alone. But despite his rambunctiousness, I love Cinnamon just the same. He’s a playful baby and you can’t really fault him for that. He came to us socialized and bouncing off of five other kittens his age, while Rufus was never socialized with other cats at all with the exception of his only brother who was gone too soon.

Their relationship is one we’re still trying to work on. They may, truthfully, never get along with one another, but as long as they can at least co-exist, I’m happy with how things turned out. Even though it means that I consistently have cat fur on my clothing and that I’m cleaning up hairballs at 3:30 AM some mornings, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Now do me a favor and tell me about your pets! You can even post photos of them for me in the comments. I’d love to see them all.

Until next time…

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