Sunday, January 18, 2009

4 stories about cat #3

I've been meaning to blog about all my cats but I've always been putting this aside... I think it's because I want the post to be as perfect as possible and to reflect every anecdote and memory I have of them. Oh well, we're only human. We can't make perfect blogs...

I'd like to introduce you to my third cat. Let me tell you how he had 2 names before I put my foot down and named him Francis. My sister and brother #4  (I have to distinguish among brothers because I have six of them) went to the mall late one night in mid-October to get some coffee. Outside the coffeehouse they found a dusty looking orange tabby kitten who was being petted by some of the customers. They were smitten by him -- so smitten that they decided to take him home for ME to take care of. Yes me. 

Some trivia: it was my sister who found my first cat Lucky in an empty lot across my aunt's house and brought him home; he was 7-days old and she left him outside the house's gate in a shoebox instead of bringing him in the house so "his mom could find him." Long story short Lucky was abandoned twice (by his mother and by my sister) and bro #5 and I decided to take him in. Do you see where I'm going? She likes "rescuing" kittens and making me take care of them and spending my own money on them, because I'm vegan (bro #5 is vegan too) and vegans are like the Mother Teresa of poor abandoned cats.

Anyway so my sister and bro #4 brought the third cat home and left him in the laundry area of my house where the two other cats sleep. This was at around midnight or 1am. In the morning I wake up to bro #6 exclaiming excitedly that there was a third kitten in the house and no one knew where he came from. Sister and bro #4 never admitted that they were the ones who stuck cat #3 in the house because both my parents were adamant about no more cats.

As with the first two cats I did not welcome cat #3 right then and there. I usually have to put a wall between myself and animals because I get attached and then heartbroken when something bad happens to them. Vegans especially need walls because they're more sensitive and aware to animal cruelty that occurs everyday in every crevice in the world; I was pretty angsty and depressed all of last week because of the can't-keep-the-cats-in-the-house issue and other pet cruelty cases that's happening locally (google "Cagayan de Oro animal cruelty" if you dare) and among my coworkers in the office, but that's a whole different story. 

I guess what made me open (it pretty much provoked me actually) to loving cat #3 was a piece of information I heard... Back when we didn't know who brought cat #3 home I was told that it was indeed my sister who did the deed; when after a week or so I refused to acknowledge the cat's presence or respond to bro #6's pleas to keep the cat she told a certain someone that she brought him home because she knew (assumed! but I guess she knew me) I'd take care of him, because he was a stray; apparently I'm not a cat lover and neither am I vegan if I didn't care. I was so furious when I heard this because I hate it when people assume I'd do things "just because". Oh and it didn't help that my sister who neglects her dog (that's another wall I have up if I want to keep my sanity and the peace in the house) accuses me of not loving cats because I was ignoring the cat she brought home . Well I certainly didn't want to be that person my sister accused me of so the next weekend I immediately brought cat #3 to the vet. And you know the rest: I fell in love with him and now he has his own blog post.

So that's story #1, here's story #2: the story of cat #3's name. In the beginning he was christened by my sister as Kwek-kwek, which to be honest sounds funny but is the most unfit name for anyone. Kwek-kwek is a local street food made up of deep fried battered hard boiled eggs, usually of chickens or quails. I know, disgusting right? It was funny to say out loud especially when calling a cat. Obviously kwek-kwek is not vegan and I refused for this cat to be named after deep fried eggs. His second name was Silverstein as volunteered by bro #4, which makes absolutely no sense because... the cat's not Jewish and it's such a western name. 

I settled for a very respectable yet noble name: Francis (it was a draw between Francis and Cupcake but I knew Francis would never forgive me for naming him after a dessert, especially since he's such a tough kitty). For those who don't know Catholic saints, St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals. It is only on the Sunday following St Francis' feastday on October 4 that Catholic churches open their doors to pets for mass and blessing (the rest of the year the Church have no say on factory farming, breeders and pet mills, animal testing and other animal rights issues, which pretty much means they don't object to them). I  found a lovely poster on the blessing of animals in Eastwood last October which may have inspired me to name cat #3 after Francis. I think now my favorite saint is St Francis... legend has it that he was vegetarian, he would preach to animals as well as to people and he thanked his donkey on his death bed. See, how cool is St Francis? He also shunned a life of riches and hedonism for the poor life of a friar. I hope that one day, some day, it becomes Catholic law not to use, hurt, and kill animals and that veganism becomes part of Catholicism's basic tenets... One can dream...

But I digress. Francis was found with the skin and fur of the tip of his tail removed -- there was even a bit of tail bone sticking out of it! For a week or so we swabbed the tip of his tail with hydrogen peroxide and Betadine. Both of my parents refused for him to live in the house so he lives in our garage.

Francis is one of the most lovable and affectionate cats you'll ever meet. My first two cats think they're above everyone and don't go to you when you call them. Francis not only responds to his name, he will run to you when you call it and when he sees you. He is such a love-hungry cat! He loooves it when you rub his ears and under his chin. He loves to rest on your lap and have his fur stroked. He would meow when he's content, when he's hungry, and when he wants some love.

Now I remember why I decided to blog about him right now, even before blogging about Velma, cat #2. I was busy baking brownies and a cake before dinner when my sister called my attention to Francis who was out in our terrace. He was on the outdoor bar table which is right under a window. The window has a slide-down screen and there was a bit of gap between the screen and the window frame. He was meowing so pitifully and his arm would go under the screen, frantically looking for a way in the house where it was warm and there were people to pet him. Of course my heart went out to him; I removed my apron and went outside to hang out for him for a bit. 

Oh how I wish he was an indoor cat! Before the whole cat-allergies issue we would often let Francis inside the house to get acquainted with Lucky and Velma (and to hope in vain that my parents will allow him to live indoors). When you open the door to the garage he would immediately enter the house and refuse to go out. Sometimes we'd give up (or conveniently forget) that he was in so we'd let him stay in. I remember one time, really early in the morning (a few hours after midnight) I woke up because someone jumped on my bed and was walking on top of me. It turned out to be Francis. I was too sleepy to bring him back to the garage so I told him something like, "You can stay in my room, just be quiet okay?" Remember that this kitten lives in the garage and is very much a street cat. He is neve
r bathed because we fear his claws. Of course he didn't listen and proceeded to nip my ankles. I ended up leaving him in the laundry area with the 2 other cats. Who let him in? Brother #2.

Here is story #3: How Francis melted brother #2's heart of stone (towards animals). On Lucky's first night with us in March (remember, abandoned by the mom and only 7 day sold) I wanted him to sleep in my room so I could keep an eye on him. My mom and brother #2 refused to let him sleep upstairs let alone in the house. He was such a cat-o-phobe! This is why brother #5 and I ended up camping in the living room so we could attend to Lucky. Fast forward to October: brother #2 got so smitten over Francis. He loved that he came home from work to Francis who was so eager and so happy to see him. Even before he stepping out of the car Francis was waiting for him outside his door. He loved that Francis was so affectionate and playful. He fell in love with the little guy and even begged my parents to let him stay in
 doors. What a change! He still conveniently forgets that he would let him in the house and not bring him out right after. Brother #2 experienced the simple joy of having a pet and loved it.

Let me tell you more about Francis (story #4). He is such a spunky cat. He's lived outdoors all his life and is quite the survivor. He's a pretty respectable cat too. Instead of pooping in the garden or in the plants in the garage he actually crosses the street to the park to poop in the bushes. He knows how to cross the street confidently and without any accident. After having a fill of cat food he would settle on your lap and just let you rub his ears and his chin and stroke his fur. He doesn't pick fights with the other cats and is a good defender. 

The only photo I have of 3 of my cats: Velma (the little head peering from the top of the stairs) and Lucky (the one 
who can't look at his mini-me without hissing) hated Francis (walking down the stairs) back in the day.

Back when he was only 1 or 2 months old Lucky and he were mortal enemies. Lucky hated Francis because he was a completely new cat. Maybe Lucky knew that Francis knew how to win people's hearts while he (Lucky) was a snob. Often we'd try to make them play in the shoe area of our house (nearest area from the garage door) but Lucky would just hiss and occasionally paw at Francis' face. Francis would retreat every time Lucky would get close to him but one time he hissed and pawed back. What a fighter! After a few weeks of these play dates Lucky and Francis became BFF's. Lucky knew every time Francis was let in the house and he would gallop down the stairs to stare at him and to play. I think Lucky secretly respects and looks up to Francis because he's street smart and a survivor (while Lucky is a house cat who would probably run into the open arms of a catnapper looking for new lab animals for animal testing). Also I think Lucky's tired of hanging out with Velma (who's actually quite jealous of Lucky's and Francis's BFF status) because she never wants to wrestle with him and she always wins when they do.

Anyway, that's pretty much it. Now you know Francis's life story up til today.

* All photos except the last one, courtesy of bro #4 aka Jose Gonzalez

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