It can be very difficult and frustrating to take care of a human. But I have risen to the challenge. I've been taking care of my human since I was three months old. I just had my tenth purrthday. So I consider myself an expurrt.
Before I go any further, let me introduce myself. My name is CC - short for Cookies and Cream. I am a black-and-white "cow cat", meaning that instead of a tuxedo pattern, I have random black spots on a white coat. My human (she calls herself Meowmy) likes to name her feline caretakers after sweet treats. Mmm, treats!
"Meow!" Human, I want treats!
Meowmy, who had been trying to sleep, turns her head. "Hi, sweets!"
"Mrrow!" Human, treats! The language barrier is definitely one of the most aggravating issues in a cat-human relationship. I start pawing her arm, hoping that will work.
It does not. "Hi, purrty girl!" she coos as she scritches my chin and the top of my head.
I begin to purr. I can't help myself. "Mew." That feels so good. "Meow!" But I want treats right meow!
I go to the entrance to the kitchen and speak again, hoping she will take the hint.
"It's not your dinnertime yet."
Oh, human, you are so dense! "Meow, meow, meow!" It's treat o' clock! Get a clue, biped!
She finally seems to understand that I'm not going to let her sleep until I get what I want. She gets her lazy bones up and into the kitchen. "What, girl?"
"Meow!" I cry emphatically as I jump onto the counter.
"What do you want?"
I go to the cabinet that stores my purrecious treats and give her the Puss-in-Boots eyes.
"You want some treats?"
"Meow! Meow! Meow!" Yaaasssss, furless one!
As he hears the treat bag being opened, my brofur Jellybean comes tearing into the kitchen from out of nowhere, and we begin a chorus of meows.
"Aww! Music to my ears!" Meowmy exclaims. She says that a lot. "You want some shrimpy shrimp treats?"
"Meow!" we answer in unison. Just put them down for us already!
"Okay here ya go." She puts down a few for each of us, and weswarm like land sharks. As always, it becomes a race to see who can inhale the most treats. Jelly is younger and faster, so he usually wins. (I get even, though, by bullying him out of the way at mealtimes and eating some of his portion.)
Meow that I've satisfied my craving, I'll get back to my story. Where did I leave off? Oh, yes. My name. Meowmy briefly considered naming me Oreo before deciding that she wanted something more unique. She wracked her brain for a couple of days (humans are slow) before coming across a book and a few pages of cat names. She pawsed at the name Coffee and Cream. That doesn't fit, she thought.
But... Cookies and Cream! CC! Eureka! "My little Cookies and Cream!" She gave me a smothering hug and showered me with kisses.
Jelly and I get lots of kisses from her efurryday. It was weird at first, but we learned that it's a way that humans show affection. I have taught her to do head bonks, but she still purrfers kisses. Ah, well. I've gotten used to it.
I still remember the day we met. I was stuck in a little, miserable cage at a crowded shelter. I had nothing but food and water bowls and a litter box. No scratcher or toys. I rarely got any treats. The noise and smells of that awful place overwhelmed my senses. I don't remember how long I was there, but I know it was too long. I might have gone insane if not for my cellmate, a light-ginger-and-white boy whom the shelter staff called Sunkist. (They actually thought he was female, like me. More on that later.)
One day, a ginger-haired human came into the cat room with her then-boyfriend. I knew right away that she was the one for me, and it wasn't long before she came to my cell door and stuck a finger through the bars. I immeowdiately bit it.
"Ow!" she cried, but then she smiled and laughed. She knew I was just being playful. (She is smart sometimes.)
But she didn't stay long. She kept going around the room and looking at other cats! The nerve of her! But every few minutes, she came back to me. She kept saying things like, "Beautiful! So gorgeous! Stunning!" At one point, I overheard her say to her male human companion, "I can't decide. I want a black cat, but I keep coming back to this one."
I was over the moon to see her pointing at me!
In the meantime, the boyfriend had taken a liking to Sunkist. "I want this one," he said. That seemed to tip the scales for the human I had already decided to adopt.
"Well..." she deliberated, stroking her chin. "I did find a black cat, but he didn't seem to want anything to do with me. This black-and-white one, though, is just beautiful! I keep getting drawn back to her."
Thanks to my telepathic commeownication, I almost had her in my paws!
"And they're already friends," she continued, gesturing to Sunkist and I. "What the hell! Let's adopt them!"
Um, excuse me? We're the ones who are adopting you! Humans are dumb. That was further proven when shelter staff put notices on our cage that said ADOPTED.
But we soon had bigger concerns. We remained in our cell for a few more days. Where are our humans? we kept wondering. Then, one morning, we were put in cardboard carriers and taken to a strange place. I was separated from my furiend, who I'm sure was just as confused as I was. Humans began poking and prodding me, and sticking needles in me. I gave them my meanest hisses. Then they put some kind of mask on me, and the next thing I knew, I woke up with a shaved belly and stitches. My beautiful fur! I thought. It'll grow back, I hope!
Before long, I was in a cardboard carrier again, still groggy from my ordeal. But I could see a little bit through the holes of the box. There was another cardboard carrier that smelled like Sunkist! I learned later that the mad scientists that call themselves "meowdical staff" at that place called Meowmy and informed her that Sunkist was actually a boy.
"Do you still want him? they asked. "We need to know before we neuter him."
"Yes!" Meowmy exclaimed. She was more than happy, because a boy-and-girl pair was what she had originally wanted. "Go ahead and snip!"
Snip what? I couldn't help wondering.
Anyway, I was ecstatic to be with my furiend again! I was even more so when I heard familiar voices and smelled my new humans! They're here!
They took us outside and put us in their car, which wouldn't start. The battery had died. We were stuck in that parking lot for about an hour before the humans finally found someone who would give them a jump start. It was a hot summer day, and we were all agitated. Our new humans started bickering with each other. That was the day I learned that Meowmy has a short fuse. I'm going to have to help her with that, I thought.
But we were finally on our way to our furever home! I would have been jumping for joy if I wasn't sore and still recovering from anesthesia. When we got there, the humans set our boxes down and let us out. We checked out our new pad for a few minutes before fatigue set in. After about a day of napping, we had the energy to fully explore the place. Then we sat our new humans down and stated our terms.
"Meow." We own this place meow. We will let you continue to live here.
"Me-ya." You will keep our bowls full. If we can see the bottoms of the bowls, you will hear about it!
"Mrow." You will scoop our poop regularly. No slacking! Or you will get some unwelcome surprises!
"Meow." You will keep a constant supply of a variety of treats and purrvide them on demand! Same goes for pets and cuddles!
"Mew." The bed is ours. You may sleep where there's room. Or on the floor.
"Mrrow." We will be constantly watching and judging you. We're cats. It's what we do. Get used to it.
"Meow." We will follow you efurrywhere. Even into the bathroom. But you will not invade our purrsonal space.
But we had furgotten about that damn language barrier. Our humans didn't understand a word we said.
"What, cutie pies?" they kept saying.
"What do you want, sweeties?"
"You want your dinner?"
"Oh, sweet babies. You just want attention."
"Want to play with your new toys?"
"WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
Sigh. "We've got a couple of human dunces," I muttered to the cat formerly known as Sunkist.
"We'll have to rely on nonverbal commeownication," he replied. "They'll learn soon enough."
Since this was a new life and a new beginning for us, Meowmy wanted us both to have new names. She consulted her list of cat names and saw the name Twinkie, meaning "little angel". "That's purrfect!" she exclaimed. He did look like a Twinkie snack cake, and the meaning was a purrecious bonus!
Meowmy soon began calling us "The CC and Jellybean Show" (sung to the tune of "The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" or "The Itchy & Scratchy Show"). We even got our own Instagram account. She found us endlessly entertaining and always adorable. She became obsessed with us and spoiled us rotten. Who could blame her?
Our cat dad quickly became enamored with us, as well. He had never had cats before (Meowmy was a lifelong cat person), and we made him wonder why he had never liked our kind, or never thought he would, before.
Life was pawsome. We had an obscene collection of toys, and things to climb and scratch. Our humans even often took us for walks in the park! When we got bigger, we got a glorious new cat tree! We got endless love and cuddles and snuggles from our purrents. We celepurrated all the major pawlidays - Meowlloween, Purrsgiving, Catmas, Meowlentine's Day, Mew Year's, Easpurr, and even Purresidents Day sometimes! And we had a purrthday pawty efurry year! Twinkie was just a month older than me, born around mid-January, so Meowmy always had a pawty for us at the end of January. These and other celepurrations came with pawsome purresents, like a crinkle tunnel, wand toys, toys made with very potent catnip (many of which came from our 'nip dealer in Chicago), and noisy balls.
One day, Meowmy was putting together a circuit-track toy while I played in the box it came in. When she was done, Twinkie immeowdiately wanted to play with it. I leaped out of the box and got in front of him.
Oh, no! I call dibs on this toy! I quickly discovered that it was much more fun than the box.
Meowmy laughed. "Girl, you showed no interest in it until Twinkie did!"
"Mrow." That's how I am. Deal with it.
And, as we made our purrents promise, we had a constant supply of treats. At least I did. Twinkie never liked treats. Or wet food. I thought that was strange but shrugged it off. More for me, I delighted. Meowmy worried about him being dehydrated, so she got us a fountain to encourage us to drink more water. But she couldn't be home 24/7. Neither could Cat Dad. They both had things called "jobs". They left us for several hours at a time to get something called "meowney". Appurrently, that's how they could buy us stuff. "I work hard so that my cats can have a better life" is Meowmy's motto. (It's on one of her many cat shirts.) She's a good human servant.
As Twinkie and I got older, he became less and less active, even though he was still very young. He became somewhat overweight. Meowmy worried about his nutrition. She tried and tried to get him to eat more than just kibble, but he wouldn't bite (pun intended). The dreaded vet found nothing wrong with him.
Shortly after our fourth purrthdays, Twinkie developed a respiratory infection. He was so clearly unwell that Meowmy was very worried.
I was, too. Early one morning, she heard a loud crash in the living room. She thought we had just knocked down the cat tree again. But when she looked, she saw a devastating site that remains burned in her meowmory. Twinkie had fallen off the top of the tree and was on the floor, lifeless. Air escaped from his mouth in a painful groan. Meowmy rushed to him, trying and failing to find a pulse. She called Cat Dad at work and told him to come home as fast as possible. "Twinkie is hurt!" she cried in a panic. "We have to get him to the emergency clinic ASAP!"
She was sobbing but refused to give up. She knew a bit about pet CPR and tried to get Twinkie to breathe, hoping and purraying that she hadn't just witnessed his last breath. But her worst fears were realized when the doctors at the clinic couldn't revive him. One of them sat across from her and Cat Dad and said, "I think we should stop trying."
At that meowment, Meowmy's heart didn't just break - it shattered.
The doctors wrapped up Twinkie's body, and our purrents brought him home. I sniffed it and knew. Cat Dad didn't want to see the body, but Meowmy had to hold his paw one last time. She removed the wrappings, gently held his paw, and managed to whisper as she choked back tears, "Goodbye, my sweet Twinkie. You're truly an angel now."
Cremation was too expensive, so they bought a headstone and buried him with his favorite ball toy. They planted zinnias at the site, because they attract butterflies, which Twinkie loved to watch and chase. Within a week, though, the headstone was stolen. Meowmy was so enraged that she screamed. Cat Dad had to calm her down, to keep her from rampaging through the neighborhood demanding to know who would do something so awful and disrespectful and giving the low-down thief a piece of her mind. By this time, that purrticular headstone was no longer available, so they got a different one. They put it at the gravesite just to purrserve it in photos and then put it in Twinkie's box of meowmories. (Meowmy knew she couldn't take that one being stolen, too.)
Meowmy was so distraught that she could do little else besides lie in bed and weep. Cat Dad cried along with her. "It feels like I've been punched in the heart," she bemoaned. "TKO." Something that helped ease her pain was Twinkie appearing to her in a dream and letting her know that he was all right.
Neither of them noticed at first that I was grieving in a different way. I stopped eating, drinking, and playing. I wasn't myself at all.
Meowmy was the most panicked I've ever seen her. "No, no, girl!" she cried. "Please stay with me! I can't lose you, too! My heart can't take it!"
My purrents pushed all kinds of different foods on me. "Please eat, sweetie," they pleaded over and over. It quickly became clear that I had to go to the vet.
Doc determined that I was dehydrated and gave me a subcutaneous injection of fluids. He then gave my humans a can of special food. "See if this works," he said.
Worked, it did. In fact, it surpassed expectations. As grief-stricken as I was, the enticing aroma of that food was so strong that I couldn't resist! I couldn't get enough! "Meow!" I demanded. More!
The humans were so happy that they quickly obliged and got a couple more cans. To my disappointment, though, they said it was too expensive to keep buying. The disappointment evaporated, though, when I realized my appetite had been reawakened and I loved my regular food again. Soon, I was drinking water again, as well.
But I still wasn't back to my usual self. I was still depressed. Meowmy lavished attention on me, and we helped each other through our grief. (I especially had to comfort her when she received a sympathy card signed by all the staff at the emeowgency clinic. She apurreciated the gesture, but it unfortunately re-opened the wound.)
It dawned on her, though, that this wasn't going to be enough for me. I had never been an only fur-child, and I was, and would continue to be, lonely without a feline furiend. And she realized that, as damaged as her heart was, there was room in it to rescue and love another cat. And she knew it would honor Twinkie's meowmory.
So just a week after Twinkie got his wings and flew to the Rainbow Bridge, I met my new brofur.
Enter the house panther...
Roar! My name is Jellybean, and I'm a furocious house panther! I am a sweetie, to be sure (so the name is apurropriate), but I also have a very furocious side! I play furociously, hunt furociously, eat furociously, and I love furociously! My human says that I have a furocious purr! And furocious claws! I don't know how many times I just used the word furocious, but I'll say it once more. Furocious! Roar!
While I do very much enjoy stalking, pouncing on, and wrestling with my sisfur (which makes her very hissy!), I'm much more of a lover than a fighter. I love snuggles with my human more than anything!
Whenever I'm ready for snuggles, I jump on the bed and nudge Meowmy until she lifts the blankets and lets me in. Sometimes it takes a few tries, because she's sleeping or busy on her phone (looking at photos of her handsome house panther, I'm sure!)
"Hi, boy!" she always says. Often, I just stare at her. "Are you coming in?" she prompts.
No, I will not come in, I telepathically commeownicate, until you show that you're ready to give me your one-hundred purrcent, undivided attention.
She seems to get the message and starts scritching the top of my head.
That's a start.
She then caresses my chin and moves her fingers down my chest. I begin to purr. Oh, yeah. Keep going.
Then she meowssages my face and ears. I purr louder. Okay, human. You've earned your snuggles.
I won't commit until she gets my meowtor running, literally.
I get as close as I can, right up against her face and neck, and feel her relax at the sound and vibration of my soothing purr. She puts her cheek against mine and her arms around me. I let her give me little squeezes (not too tight, human!) as she squeals in delight. She also loves to sniff my fur - something cat ladies call cat huffing.
"Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you!" she carries on as she gives me endless kisses.
I know that this is as much for her benefit as it is for mine. She is often irritable and aggravated, mostly by other people.
"Hi, sweets!" she often says when she comes home. "I'm so happy to see you, my beautiful kitties!"
On multiple occasions, she has gone on a rant about how we're much better than people. "Animals don't hate, lie, or cheat. You don't have hidden agendas. You don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. You don't abuse each other. You don't gossip. You don't have a gun culture. No propaganda or vicious slander. No racism or bigotry or stupid ideas of any kind. You don't demonize each other. You're not hypocrites. No pollution or destruction. No trophy hunting to feed your egos. Humans are horrible idiots! You all would have been better off if we'd never been here."
In response, I rub against her legs. "Meow." I'm happy you're here. Meow, where's my snack?
"The same's not true of my kind, though," she continues. "We'd be much worse without you. It's a shame that more of us don't understand that.
"Meow." I'm glad I've got one of the best humans. Who has five seconds to get me my snack!
"Awww! My handsome Mr. Bean!" she gushes as she strokes my fur. "I forgot to say good meowning!"
I start to purr lightly. That's nice. But... snack!
"And I bet you want your meowning snack!"
She opens the treat cabinet. "Hmm. How about some catnip-fever snacks?"
"Meow!" Yes! Whatever! I'm dying here!
By this time, my sisfur has joined the catcophany of meows. We both learned long ago to recognize the sound of a treat bag or jar. We meow incessantly and impatiently until our too-slow human finally relinquishes the goods.
Not only do we get yummy snacks, but seeing us enjoy them also improves her mood. She is very right about being worse off without us.
We have much wisdom to impart to humans. Like the virtue of emotional honesty. We've taught our human well on this subject. She refuses to be fake. She's reasonably polite when situations call for it, but if she doesn't want to be furiendly with someone, she doesn't purrtend otherwise. She has no doubt that she comes across as curt or even rude sometimes. But she purrfers that over pretending to be something she's not, like purrky or saccharine-sweet. Some people might feel a bit hurt or offended, but they'll just have to learn to get over it. Shake it off, as a famous cat lady sings. No one is going to like efurrpawdy. Nor is any purrticular being going to be unifursally liked. And who would want that? A few close furiends are far better than a lot of fake ones.
Before I found my furever family, I was in a foster home with several other cats and dogs. One day, my foster meowmy told me that a couple of people wanted to meet me. I was placed in my carrier with my favorite catnip pillow toy and taken to the meeting place, a local pet clinic. I heard that the female human was purrticularly looking fur a black kitty, so I turned on my panther charm. Foster Meowmy put me in the lady's arms and told her how I like to be held and my favorite places to be scritched.
"He especially likes having his ears rubbed," she said.
The new human and her then-husband happily obliged. But I hadn't won them over just yet. It turned out that I had a bit of competition. Another kitty there had caught their eye, and they went to take another look at her.
"I'd take them both if I could," I heard the lady whisper to the male human. Humans often furget that felines have superior hearing.
The minutes dragged on as they deliberated. I grew more and more anxious. What's taking them so long? And what makes them think this is their decision, anyway? I purred in the lady's arms and soaked up their affection. I'm a pawsome panther! So what's the problem?
Finally, they returned. I held my breath.
"We want Alvin," the lady said. (That was my name at the time.)
Those were the sweetest words I had ever heard! I did it! I got a furever family! I was so happy that I didn't mind being put in a portable cage. (That hasn't been true any other time.) I was going home! I eagerly anticipated the good times and adventures that awaited!
The first surprise I got was the revelation that I would be sharing my domain with another cat. "Meow." I said to my new humans. You didn't tell me about her.
Of course, they were far from intelligent enough to understand me. All they did was say "Aww!" and give me scritches. Which I gladly accepted.
Not that I wasn't happy to have another of my kind to be furiends with. I was already used to being around other animals, after all. I just would have apurreciated some advance notice.
CC here again. I wasn't sure of my new brofur at first, but within a few days, we were very good furiends! Just like CC and Twinkie. We'll all be together someday.
We and our human are a blissfully happy family of three. We still celepurrate purrthdays and pawlidays, and we have nearly a thousand followers on Instagram. Could we add a fourth meowmber of the family in the near future? Hint: Meowmy already has a name picked out!