Growing up, I’ve had two cats that really made an impression on me. When I was a kid, I had a cat named Rusty. He would sleep with me at night and was basically my cat. Another one was named Neko. Which is Japanese for cat. She was found behind my stepmom’s workplace, and I brought her home. I was the only one who she seemed to like, even having given birth to her litter of kittens next to me.
The one thing I’ve experienced growing up is that cats tend to be very self-reliant. Make sure they have food, and they’ll eat. Make sure they have a litter box, and they’ll use it. My history of cats has been one of cats requiring very little, being one of the easiest pets to own.
Then comes Inara, completely obliterating that misconception. I mean, she didn’t take a wrecking ball to it, she launched a Tsar Bomba at it and removed it from existence.
Let’s start at the beginning. Inara belonged to my stepdad. She was their fourth cat. This was very strange considering growing up we had cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds, but he wanted nothing to do with them. He seemed to absolutely hate having them. But for some reason, he changed his mind, and they were up to four cats and a little Teacup Poodle and Yorkshire mix.
The stories I heard about her coming in made me think she was a demon cat. They said she basically pooped everywhere. She hated everyone and everything. They blamed her for their favorite cat Sainz running away. Which I guess he was the only one they bought from a breeder and not from the shelter.
When I moved into the house to take care of my stepdad who was bedridden, she latched onto me almost immediately. According to my parents, after a few months of driving them to the point of almost giving her up, she became instantly loveable. And I felt that side of her.
I lived in the living room which was next to my stepdad’s room. She spent her time in my space. She’d even jump on my desk while I was working, since I worked from home, and want to curl up on my chest to sleep. And when I couldn’t do that, she’d lay on the ground next to me or up on my bed.
I bought her a cat tree and she would sleep on that. I even bought a bunch of toys and catnip and played with her every chance I got. This then attracted their other female cat Serenity who was a hellion. Then eventually the male cat T’Pau came by. All three were vying for space in my space.
After both of my parents passed, I moved out of the house. Unfortunately, no one could care for the cats. Serenity had run away. She wanted love but it was hard to pet her because she would always bite and scratch, then demand pets again. I felt terrible as she couldn’t seem to find a place in the house. I tried to give her as much attention as possible, and my arm was evidence of that.
So Inara and T’Pau either had to be abandoned or taken to the shelter. I loved both cats, so I refused and took them in. Yeah…. That was a nightmare. T’Pau was great! All he cared about was being loved. That was it. He adapted to the litterbox immediately, and after a couple days, found his home on the couch next to where I would sit. Then at night he would come and sleep with me.
Inara however was a whole other story. So, my parents had them be indoor/outdoor cats. Inara would disappear for a few days during the summer and pop back for some loving, food, and then vanish again. During the winter, she would be out most of the day but spend the rest of the day at home where it was warm. She was an explorer.
The moment we moved in, she vanished. I’m not even sure where she managed to hide. T’Pau hid under the couch, but she went into the bedroom and found some pocket universe or something to hide in because I couldn’t find her for the life of me and there wasn’t really any place to hide at either.
Then came the first night. The moment I went to sleep. I slept on the couch because my bed hadn’t been moved over yet. I got no sleep. I was up all night listening to Inara sing her woes. For those who are older, do you remember when they would portray alley cats in cartoons, they’d be singing horribly? I think Tom in “Tom & Jerry” did it a few times. Yeah, it was like that.
I couldn’t get her to stop. She wouldn’t stay with me so I could comfort her. She would just walk around the apartment bellowing her displeasure. So why didn’t I let her outside? Rules of the apartment. Animals can’t be outside without a leash.
During the day she would sleep, but I unfortunately had to work. It sucked. The next night I wore headphones, and though they didn’t drown out the meows entirely, they did help enough for me to sleep. They also weren’t very comfortable as they were over the hear headphones.
Her bellowing literally went on all night long. Eight hours straight, no break. This lasted for two weeks straight. After that, I was able to remove the headphones. She would meow, but she would take breaks. Overall, this lasted two months.
The meowing wasn’t the only issue. The other issue was that she refused to use the litter box. I had three of them setup and she would go to the bathroom everywhere else but the litter box. Eventually she was fine once I put in an unscented clay-based kitty litter, but she was still very uneasy about using the box. She would go once or twice in the box, and if it wasn’t cleaned out immediately, she would go on the floor.
So, the first two months were a nightmare. I was getting to the point where I was contemplating giving her up. I wasn’t going to take her back to the shelter but was contemplating rehoming her to a home that would allow her run around outside. I was worried because I had been planning on moving overseas to Japan and I know she would have issues with the move. Japanese apartments tend to also be smaller, giving her less room to move, and the walls very thin, so her meowing would bother the neighbors.
She doesn’t meow anymore at night, which is good. She uses the litter box without issues now, which is great! However, the move to Japan still worries me and it’s made me hesitant to move. She’s around ten years old and I think she really needs stability.
I did try to teach her to use a harness and leash. First time was great. She went out, I walked her. That lasted for about 5 minutes, and she got upset because she couldn’t go where she wanted to go. And since then, when I would attempt it, she refused to move. She’d lay on the carpet and look out the open door.
In the end, Inara is one of the most loveable cats I’ve seen. T’Pau only really puts up with her, though she tries to get him to love her as well. When she gets into her meowing mood, he will smack her, but otherwise doesn’t tend to interact with her.
I love this cat. She is high energy and very athletic. I’ve thought about getting a kitten, but our apartment only allows 2 animals at most. So, I’d need to get my own house I think, which may be a new goal, even if I decide to move to Japan.