March 2, 2010

Well, it looks like something happened to my post of March 1.  It looked fine, but someone mentioned to me yesterday that it didn’t look finished.  Sure enough, almost 3/4 of it is gone – somewhere ~~

I wanted to write about the Olympics experience I’ve had in Taiwan, but I have to do some web surfing to get information, since nothing was really mentioned in Taiwan.  So, that will have to wait for another day.

I decided that today I would tell you about my cats!

As some of you know, better than others, I have cats.  Not only that, I LOVE CATS!  I am a cat person.  I admit it.  To me, they are the most adaptable, interesting, and somewhat independent domesticated animals a person can have.

Sure, dogs are loyal, cute when their puppies, they’ll do as they’re told… but cats!

I presently have 6 cats – three boys and three girls.  Well, ‘its’ actually.  Their names are, in no particular order:  Gabriel, Eloise, Simba, Cornelia, Arabela, and Ignatius.  Each one has their story, and personality.


He’s the number one cat.  He’s been with me the longest.  When I came to teach in Taiwan, I vowed that I would never have a pet, because I get too attached to them.  One rainy, cold, miserable, Friday night in May, I went to pick up my friend at his work.  Before he was finished, I had to run to the store to get something.  While I was putting on my raincoat, I could hear a cat meowing.  I listened through the noise of the falling rain and traffic, down an alley beside a building, and there, at the end of the alley, was a box normally used for paper.

I looked inside the box, and standing on his little tiny back paws, was this itsy, bitsy orange and white kitten.  The poor little thing was shaking from the cold, meowing at the top of its little lungs… I almost cried.  I picked him up, took him into my friend’s workplace, and got the poor little thing dried and warmed up.  He was so little.  My cellphone was bigger than him!  He was so small, honestly, that I could put him in my shirt pocket, and he snuggled down and disappeared.  Now, his head wouldn’t fit in that same pocket!

After work, Ian (my friend), helped me by taking this little kitten to a vet.  Oh, did I dislike that vet.  He was on an old man, who handled this little baby like it was a ball of bread dough.  His only comments were that the kitten was too young and would probably die.  You cannot imagine how I felt.  The only reason I took this kitten to this vet, was because he was the closest to my home at the time.

I didn’t want to hear that.  I went to the pet shop, got some formula, like a powered milk product, a little baby bottle, and went home.  For the next few weeks, I spent all my free time feeding this little kitten like a baby.  He started getting bigger, a little stronger, a little braver, and I knew, I just knew, that he was going to be okay.

Ian and I sort of became his parents.  Where the mother cat would normally help the baby to eat and poo-poo, we took on that task.  He would sleep with me, snuggling up in my armpit at night, or under the covers where it was warmer.  I am so happy with him.  He has become one fine looking feline.  And he knows it!  He is the head of the house (as far as the others are concerned), and the other cats know it.  He is number 1.

When choosing his name, I wanted something interesting.  After watching ‘Van Helsing’, I decided on the name, Gabriel van Helsing.  However, I also call him:  GVH, my big boy, but his most common nickname is Boo-boo.  He can be in a deep sleep, and all I have to do is whisper, “Boo-boo”, and his tail will wag back and forth.  So cute.  He is, in my opinion, the most photogenic cat I have.  He will actually pose when I take pictures.  He sits still long enough for me to get two or three pictures shot.


Simba was the second cat to come into my home.  After Gabriel, again I vowed not to have any more animals – one was enough.

Ian’s sister, Amy, had decided she wanted a cat.  She lives in Chai-yi, north of Tainan.  One day, she had gone to Ping-tung, south of Tainan, and her and a friend had returned with (I believe) 3 cats.  They were all purebreds.  She had one for herself, her friend had one, and she dropped Simba off at my place with his adoption papers, and went to Chai-yi.  I was under the impression that Simba was only going to be here for a few days.  It’s now been a few years!

He was already 2 years old when he arrived.  He was sort of thin, and his head actually looked too big for his body, but I figured that was because of  his fur.  Anyway, fed him some of the food and formula I was still feeding baby Gabriel, and now, well, he’s a big, fat cat.  My nickname for him is ‘Grandpa’.  He doesn’t really play with the other cats, he doesn’t get into fights, he does what he wants, and about once or twice a month, he will actually become affectionate.  My students who have seen him or his pictures, call him “Garfield” (well, they say it in Chinese – I just don’t know the Chinese word).

Then, a few weeks later, Amy came back to Tainan with her cat, wanting to get her ‘fixed’.  I decided I may as well get Gabriel and Simba done at the same time.  Took them all to the vet (oh yeah, a different, much nicer vet who knows how to treat and handle MY babies).  When I went to pick up the cats, the vet’s wife, who also works at the clinic, was holding a little baby kitten.  Apparently the kitten had been found in the marketplace, and someone gave it to them.

The poor little thing looked scared and hungry, and was sick.  I asked what they were going to do with her.  The vet’s wife said something like, “Well, if we can’t find a home for her…”  That was it.  That’s all I needed to hear.  I didn’t want to hear any more.  I told her, that if she wasn’t already going to a home, I would adopt her.  The vet’s wife seemed pleased about that, and after coming in with 3 cats, I was leaving with 4!


When Eloise was little, she seemed to like the idea of living with two boy cats.  She would snuggle with them, they would bath her… she and especially Gabriel, seemed to have a bond.

Eloise is not a very big cat, and sometimes she feels very fragile when I pick her up… almost like she’ll break into a thousand pieces if I hold her too tight.  But she is at heart, a soldier!  She is a fighter.  She is the QUEEN of the house, and no one messes with the Queen!  She guards me with all her being.  If any of the other cats is near me, and she wants to be there, she will hiss, and spit, and fight until they leave.  Then, she sits down on my lap, or on the bed beside, and look at me as if to say, “There, I saved you!”  The other cats will stay away until Eloise falls asleep at the foot of the bed – her spot!

To be continued March 3, 2010…


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