Currently, I have 3 cats. While I'd like to have a dog someday1, I definitely can't have more than 3 cats. If I had more than 3 cats, I would cross the line into being a "cat lady", one of those scary old maids who live on the corner and have a million cats. My family is already convinced that having 3 cats means I will be single forever, so I guess I shall have to make do with the cuddlers I have - Thisbe, Tisha, and Thomasina. These little girls are a tad spoiled however - they do have a $100 robotic litter box, after all.
Actually, I had never started out in life to be a cat person. When I moved into my first apartment during college, I allowed the neighbors' cats to come and visit, and I even took in a friend's cat for a few weeks while she moved. I hadn't really thought about actually going out and getting my own cat until the little girls in my Girl Scout troop gave me and my roommate a stray kitten they had found for Christmas.
Thisbe was an adorable and playful kitten, who was always trying to sneak outside to hang out with the neighborhood tomcats. When she was about 10 months old, she was attacked by a dog. The dog had already killed 3 cats in the apartment complex, and managed to grab Thisbe in his mouth and run off with her while I was at the store. The neighbors tried to chase the dog, but lost him a few blocks from the apartment. After 3 days of searching the neighborhood and the shelters, I was miserable but not quite ready to give up. The morning of the 4th day, I went down to my car and... there she was! She had enough injuries that she couldn't climb the stairs to my apartment, but somehow knew which car in the parking lot was mine and had waited for me there.
I hysterically rushed her to the vet, who was amazed that she had survived 4 days, given the state of her injuries -- a broken hip, a partially chewed off tail, and severe dehydration. The vet had to amputate the remainder of her tail, operate on her hip to remove part of the bone, and keep her hooked up to IVs for a few days. The second miracle of this story is that the vet did all this for free, realizing that I was the stereotypical starving student, and only charging me for the antibiotics.
Even without her tail, Thisbe is still a pretty cool cat. She can't jump too high or climb, so I have to be extra careful to keep her inside -- which seems to be OK with her, as she's never tried to go outside since the accident.
I had always wanted to get a playmate for Thisbe, but my ex-boyfriend said one cat was as much as he would put up with. Tisha is a pretty siamese cat I picked up at the humane society the day he left.
Tisha started out as a rather skittish kitten, but is now a quite content lap cat. She has perfected the art of climbing into my lap and settling down for a snooze before I've even realized she's there.
She does not, however, have the distinctive siamese "mew". In fact, I originally thought she was mute -- she was here for 3 months before I heard her make a sound. She's a little more vocal now, but still mews extremely quietly.
Really, truly, I had planned on leaving it at two cats. But one day2 I made the mistake of visiting a friend who worked at the humane society. It was August, and the shelter was overflowing. "It's gotten to the point where we even have to put down the healthy kittens," she said as we walked through the cat room on her break. Just then a kitten reached out her paws through the bars and grabbed my shoulder, mewing. "Oh, isn't she precious?" my friend asked. "We're going to have to put her down tomorrow if no one adopts her today."
Unsurprisingly, I adopted Thomasina. And while I am never going back to visit the humane society again, I have to admit that she has grown into quite a nice cat who looks quite a lot like her sister, Thisbe. Actually, however, Thomasina is part siamese -- the vet picked up on this by her facial features and the fact that she, unlike Tisha, definitely does have the demanding voice of a siamese cat.
A postscript after a trip to the allergist's office
My doctors have been telling for the last few years that "you can't have cats, you have asthma". Which I, personally, thought was a load of donkey biscuits, but that never seemed to calm the doctors down any. So, my doctor proposed to "prove" to me, once and for all, that my cats are "bad for me" -- he sent me for allergy testing. Apparently, the guy doing the tests had been told to "ensure" that I had a reaction to the cat antigen -- after the first tests came back negative, he re-did the tests twice, with stronger doses and bigger needles each time. No dice. I am not - in any way, shape, or form - allergic to cats. In fact, the only animals I'm now allergic to are dust mice and dust bunnies.