full circle

. . .from an upward battle of struggles and emotions to a journey of healing, growth, and laughter. . .


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occupational hazard

In the fall of 2010, I had nine cats in my one-bedroom condo. Because I had wanted to experience all areas of the cat rescue I was volunteering with, I asked to be a foster. Within a day, they gave me a cage full of six kittens (Wilbur and his siblings).

I named Wilbur after the pig in Charlotte’s Web because he was the runt of the litter. He was sickly and developmentally delayed. All his sibs were quickly adopted, but Wilbur was too unhealthy. I already had Clea, Oreo, and Coal, but I was in love with Wilbur. And I needed to see him get better. Then, one day, I was with the president of the rescue, and out loud, I said I was going to keep him. And that’s how he became my foster fail. And maybe he needed me, too, because within months of officially adopting him, he started to get better. Watch Wilbur’s Journey.

Now with four cats (still in a one-bedroom condo), the president subsequently “cut me off” from fostering or adopting any more cats. It has been a running joke between us for the last six years…

Slight detour…

The reason I haven’t blogged all year is that my volunteer project turned into running my own cat rescue. In November 2015, my volunteer group received promise of $15,000 from the city to spay/neuter cats, which was a huge accomplishment for me, as I had submitted a funding proposal in September. However, the city needed to “spend” the money by December 31 for budgeting purposes. At the time, we were only a coalition of groups, without our own charity status, and without a bank account. So, over the next few weeks, I worked my ass off on an application for incorporation, which would qualify us to apply for a bank account. Simultaneously, I worked my ass off on developing a spay/neuter program. By mid-December, I had everything in place. And then the city told me everyone was on vacation, so there would be no cheque until the new year. I wrote my last blog post in January 2016, and then I finally got the cheque in February, and the rest is history. My volunteer work is a full-time job. So, I basically have two full-time jobs, and I look forward to doing nothing on weekends except watch TV and play Facebook games.

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Back in June, I attended a cat behaviour workshop at one of the shelters we partner with, and staff asked if anyone wanted to hold kittens. There were two of us that said yes, so they gave each of us one half of twin kittens. I spent the entire two hours of the workshop with the kitten on my chest.

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I fell in love with their exotic markings—spotted tabbies that made them look like cheetahs. I’ve always wanted a Bengal cat, so I was very drawn to these kittens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even met their mama, and you could see where they got their markings. (She looks angry in the photo, but she was a purr machine when she was petted.)

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I couldn’t stop thinking about getting them. I knew I was crazy for considering it, but I took the adoption application form home. It was an hour’s drive home, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I thought about them all night, and all morning on the way to work. By the time I got to work, I knew I was going to do it. But I wouldn’t tell anyone. I mean, six cats? Even I knew that was ridiculous.

Introducing Decker and Diesel

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They are entertaining and make me smile every day. But I had forgotten that kittens are so much work! I’m definitely having my tubes tied, haha!!

Diesel and Decker were nine weeks when I got them in June, so they are now seven months.

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And we’re all one big happy family!

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Adopting multiple cats is an occupational hazard of cat rescue work! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! So there!


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how my life has changed since adopting cats

1. I haven’t ironed a single piece of clothing for work. But I do show up with cat hair on everything.
1200329The first part is definitely true. I used to iron my clothes the night before work, or if I forgot, then in the morning, even if it would make me late. Maybe, when I gained weight during The Breakup/depression, the new clothes I bought were less wrinkle-prone, but coincidentally, that was also when I adopted Clea and Oreo. The truth is out there, but I’m not sure which came first—the chicken or the egg.

As for cat hair, well, I actually try NOT to show up at work with it on my clothes, but sometimes, no matter how hard and often you use a lint brush (and I have THE BEST one), there is always a stray or four to be seen.

2. When something is on the floor, instead of picking it up, I just walk around it.
This happened the other day, which is what prompted me to make this list. Why pick it up when it will just end up on the floor again? How many times have I had to pick up the garbage strewn on my kitchen floor only to have to pick it up again because Coal loves to get in the plastic temporary garbage bag and tear it apart? Just for fun. Because he can.

3. I keep the toilet paper under the sink.
IMG_0008_400It is a common practice among cat lovers to take photos or videos of their cats unrolling or chewing up the toilet paper instead of rushing to grab the roll to salvage what’s left. (And in fact, it is an acceptable/good practice to take photos of anything bad rather than stopping the behaviour, because we love our cat photos.) In my house, Coal is the only one who has ever targeted the toilet paper. He stopped doing it when he got older in my old apartment. But when we moved into our condo five years ago, he acquired a renewed sense of TP madness. I once got creative and bought a toilet paper guard (yes, there really is such a thing. It’s apparently a baby safety item!). That worked for a good few months. Of course, my visitors were annoyed (it’s not hard to open, people), but my cats take priority. And then Coal outsmarted me and figured out how to unlock the guard. And so, now, the toilet paper is in the cupboard under the bathroom sink. Thankfully, I can reach for it from the toilet seat.

4. My tolerance for dust and cat hair is beyond high.
I used to be such a neat freak. Not Monica-crazy-OCD clean, but enough that my apartment was never full of clutter, laundry was always folded, and dishes were done as I cooked (ok, maybe a little OCD). When we moved into our brand new condo, it was such a treat because it was so sparkly clean, I had a dishwasher and insuite laundry, and I didn’t have to go outside to get to the garbage/recycling bins. And then little by little, there was always a dust monster or two even after I vacuumed, tiny particles of litter under my feet, and dried cat food on the walls. Everywhere I go, there is cat hair. Even when I cook, I’ll find a stray cat hair on my plate. HOW DID IT GET THERE?!!!! When I have people over, I have to spend a week cleaning, just for one evening. That’s why I don’t have people over very often. It’s too much freaking work! I’d rather just sit on my FURniture alone and watch TV.

5. I don’t shower on weekends because I don’t need to impress my cats.
Ok, I admit that sometimes I don’t shower on weekdays either. I frequently sleep through my alarm, so I’m usually late for work. And my hair is sooo long now that I can curl it on days I don’t shower or put it up in a messy bun and not worry about it. But weekends are the best. My cats don’t care and wouldn’t even know the difference between smelly me and non-smelly me.

6. I yell a lot more.
944946Coal and his protégé Wilbur are the naughtiest kittens you’ll meet in my house. I yell at them a lot. And sometimes, I use the wrong name. That’s when you know you have too many cats. Maybe I can attach the spray bottle to my new selfie stick…

7. I talk about cats all the time.
I have always liked cats, preferred cats, wanted cats. Dogs, not so much. I had no affinity towards them and would stay clear of them on the street. I especially hated it when they would jump on me and lick me. Yeach! But since I got my mogwoppits, my feelings towards other animals (dogs, lol) have transitioned from tolerance to love. I now stop and pet dogs, let them lick my hand, let them jump on me. The key change is a love of all animals and my advocacy against abuse and cruelty, including the “food” industry. But, back to cats. Yes, I talk about them all the time, I watch cat videos every chance I get, and I post photos every day. And if you don’t like that, you can meow off.

8. I do a lot more laundry.
When I have to. Because Coal has taken to peeing on my bed if the litter box isn’t clean enough by his standards. Recently, in one week, I had to put my bedding in the laundry three times! But while I do a lot more laundry, I don’t always fold it right away. Sometimes, I’m just too tired.

9. My camera happy trigger finger is ready at all times.
It used to be my real camera; now, it’s my smartphone. It’s always ready, I’m always ready, but sometimes, the kitties are too quick, and they move or change positions in the moment right before I take the photo. I used to print photos for albums, but now thank goodness for social media. {All photos in this post are courtesy of social media albums.}

10. I am content to be alone, as long as I have my cats next to me.
As I’ve alluded to many times before, The Breakup was the death of me. I wish I had adopted a cat right after that. But it was a year and a half before I did. I adopted Clea and Oreo, and then two months later, I sought out Coal. My life changed. I was finally healing. And in fact, I wrote about them when I first started this blog. And a year later, Wilbur came into my world (Wilbur was my foster fail).

I spent two years alone—I didn’t date, I didn’t talk to any of my old flames, I didn’t care. I realized that I was content to be alone. For the rest of my life. I didn’t need a man, and I didn’t even want one. If I was never in a relationship again, I was fine with that. I only needed myself to feel whole.

But I would die if I didn’t have my cats. ❤

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my bad

i’m such a bad blogger, lol.

on october 31 (halloween), i adopted a seven-weeker and named him Charcoal… Coal for short.

if you think he’s cute, check out his photo album!

clea, oreo, and coal are one big happy family!

here are some of my favorite videos…

if you want more, i have over 50 videos!

i have been very busy with the new addition to my family and oreo and clea. oreo has become so affectionate – he loves to sleep next to my head (sometimes on it!) and purr. clea still waits until i’m on the laptop before jumping onto my chest for a cuddle. now that coal has clea and oreo to play with, he tends to ignore me except on the weekends when i want to sleep in. he’ll sit on me until i get up to feed them. i’m happy to have them in my life.

in november, i went to palm springs for a few days for a spa vacation. i was so upset to leave the kitties that i almost cancelled my trip. i was experiencing some major separation anxiety. aside from that, i had such a relaxing time. there is nothing to do in palm springs except golf {i was the only young person on my flight, lol}, and i had arrived on a sunday, so it was pretty dead that week – i went back to my hotel at 6 pm every night! but the weather was great, and the spa was heavenly.

i’ve got my next trip booked, and it looks like i’m heading back to europe again – greece for my big 35th birthday. it’s on my list of things to do before i turn 40, and i only have so many years left, so i had to be strategic, lol. i’m doing athens for a few days, then mykonos island, then santorini island. i can’t wait!

we’ve been going through a consolidation at work, so that has been stressful for everyone. my boss lost her job, so i was really sad about that. i still have one, but they’re moving me to a different position within a different team and different location. i had the option to stay at my current location, but with everyone leaving, i decided not to. i was hesitant about the new job because it focuses on the parts of my now redudant job i never liked, but i’m hopeful that the change will be good.

in fact, i have a lot of changes to keep me busy. last month, i had the last straw with my landlord (ceiling leaked for 10 hours on christmas eve, and i had asked them to fix it a year earlier) and decided to leave. i wanted to move into a 2-bed apartment, but everyone was pressuring me to buy a condo. if i bought, i could only afford a 1-bed in the area where i live now, so i was extremely stressed about what to do, especially when i had to pay for greece. and then every 2-bed rental that i was interested in fell through, so i took that as a sign to buy. within a week, i got pre-approved for a mortgage and met a realtor. i went to six open houses today.

i completely fell in love with one of them. i thought it would be more than i can afford, but after doing some calculations, i found that i can afford it. my realtors are in the process of their due diligence, and then we’re probably going to make an offer on monday. it’s awesome this is going so quickly, because i’m so impatient. fingers crossed.