I was born to be a crazy cat lady. I feed all the stray cats in our neighborhood and I even build them little shelters so they can stay dry. I have been known (both
tipsy and sober) to go up to strangers’ porches to pet their cats. I am the person at the house party sitting on the floor, giving love and behind-the-ear scratches to the household kitty. I have an embarrassing number of photos of myself when I was younger pretending to be a cat, with my hands perched up like little paws. I may have also meowed a lot.
So, yeah, I was kind of a strange kid, but I hold tight to my belief that cats are clearly the best animals out there. If you’re not sure, all you have to do is lay your head on their soft kitty belly and listen to them purr. Your world will instantly become more peaceful. Unless you chose my mom’s cat Buddy. Then you will probably need stitches.
Luckily I married someone who has come to terms with the fact that I am
slightly obsessed. Occasionally, he even encourages it, which is really just asking for trouble. Case in point, meet Gus Gus.
My husband found this fluffy little kitty wandering the streets of downtown Portland almost a year ago. Instead of being scared when approached, the cat started to knead the pavement and purred with such intensity he began to drool. He was dirty and smelled like motor oil. That was when I started getting a bunch of pictures sent to my phone, all of this fat little guy rolling around on the sidewalk, looking pathetic.
I agreed that he should bring him home where at least we could post his pictures online and see if someone had lost him. We already had two cats, both of whom hate all other cats including each other, so it didn’t seem feasible to keep him. We were also sure he had a home and a family who was missing him. The next day we wrangled him into a carrier and took him to the vet clinic to be scanned for a chip. No dice. I took numerous photos of him and checked lost cats posts religiously, yet a week went by and no one had come forward to claim him.
Finally I took him back to the vet to check him for feline HIV and leukemia — this way he wouldn’t have to be segregated to our guest room. Once the results came back negative, we slowly let all of the cats get to know each other. He quickly learned to stay away from Friday, who is a grouchy old lady cat, and to be on the lookout for Lucifer, who is a seasoned fighter.
Things were off to a relatively good start.
By that, I mean there was no bloodshed. There was, however, a good amount of growling, hissing and general animosity. Reluctantly I mentioned that we should think about a no-kill cat shelter but my husband put his foot down.
I think his argument revolved around how Gus Gus (oh yeah, by this time we had totally named him) was too sweet for a shelter. Honestly he could have said anything — the cat has magical powers and has agreed to grant you three wishes? — I would have gone for it.
I mean, look at this face! Who could resist?
So, Gus Gus joined the family and that was the day we humans became outnumbered. Suddenly everywhere we looked there were cats. It seemed like there was a cat on every chair in every room. Sometimes there would be three in one room, staring at you. It was unnerving but, let’s get real, it was also my idea of heaven.
And Gus Gus helped fulfill a dream of mine — to finally have two cats who cuddled and bathed each other. Now the cuddling is a bit limited, but there is definitely a lot of mutual bathing going on. It started slowly, almost covertly, but now it happens out in the open for everyone to see.
Oh Gus Gus, my little fluffalafagus… He is not the smartest of cats, but he certainly wins in terms of fluffiness and utter ridiculousness. He loves to chase shadows and his tail and is still known to drool profusely when he’s happy. He snores when he sleeps and snorts constantly when awake. His slightly bewildered expression has inspired such original songs as “Hey Gus Gus…What’s the fuss?” and “Hey Gus Gus, Gus Gus Come On.” He doesn’t seem to appreciate my singing, but in time I think he’ll come around.