Photos from top left: Oscar, Rufus, Levon (on bed, under rug, sitting on step), & Oscar curled on his EZ Window Kitty Sill Mount
Hi Katzenworld Readers,
I’m Tatum, a new contributor to the site, and despite my complete lack of blogging experience, I’m excited to begin! I live in Pullman, Washington, about 6 hours east of the hip side of Washington (or as the locals call the Seattle area, the Westside). We moved here after I got a position at WSU, a large land-grant university and I love it here. More importantly, our three cats love it here, as there’s a lot more wildlife (and life in general) to watch from their multiple window perches & cat trees than there was in Los Angeles, where we all lived prior to the move to the frozen Northwest.
My three lords and masters are Rufus, Levon, and Oscar. Hope it’s okay, but I’m going to launch into their origin stories now.
Rufus (from Wilmington, North Carolina) is now 11 years old and is a lovely free-eyed fluffy grey tabby who happens to be a tripod due to an unfortunate run-in with a car when he was only a tiny kitten. Miraculously, a young nursing student (the type we hope will be caring for us in our old age) saw two kittens crossing a busy street. One of them survived a car passing over him, but the updraft threw Rufus against some part of the car’s undercarriage. Somehow, this wonderful human being managed to stop the traffic on a busy street and locate both kittens, who had made it to the side of the road. She grabbed them up and took them to the nearest vet, a cats only vet as it happened. The vet had to amputate Rufus’ badly broken right hind leg, but he bounced back quickly and this never has slowed him down. His twin sister was adopted in a few days, but sadly, no one wanted a three-legged kitten and he healed up and waited alone for almost two months until I showed up. (I just popped in to buy some prescription cat food, but this lovely vet adopted out kittens and cats, too, taking overflow from a local shelter or ones which were dropped off at her practice.) Of course, when I saw and then held Rufus, it was love at first sight, and he and another tabby kitten my partner Brian & I adopted at the time, Raji, joined our family in 2008. We wanted two young ones so they’d have company and not drive our older cats crazy. (We had two other cats at the time, Isis who lived to be 17, and Merlin who died at 13 due to lymphoma. Even more sadly, we lost Raji in 2016 due to acromegaly, a rare genetic condition, when he was only 8 years old.)
But Rufus wasn’t alone, because in 2014, while buying cat food & litter at my local PetSmart, I saw two beautiful almost all white, blue-eyed kittens. Only their noses, ears, and tails were light golden. Oscar & Levon were rescues and were saved by a wonderful group called Carson Cats in L.A. They were being fostered by a lovely woman named Carol (I still send her photos!) and though at first I felt guilty to take the pretty Siamese mix kittens—Carol told me that they were part Flame or Red-Point Siamese—thinking they’d get homes quickly, it turned out that she had had them & one of their littermates for almost two months. Sadly, I guess there are simply too many unwanted kittens and cats in such a large urban area, and being extra pretty (I’m biased, though) isn’t that much of an advantage. Well, they were unwanted no longer! I had wanted a white kitten since I was 6, after my dad gave my beloved white cat Oscar away after I was diagnosed with severe allergies. I don’t think I ever got over losing him. But over the years, even when I went to a shelter to adopt a white kitten, I ended up taking the cat or kitten that needed a home first. As an adult, I’ve adopted 9 cats, and have lost 6 adored companions to old age, a congenital liver shunt (despite surgery to correct it), cancer, and with Raj, a rare disease. I hate that humans have longer lifespans, so I’ve tried to bring them even more joy and happiness than they’ve given me, but I doubt that’s possible.
But I digress! At a PetSmart Adopt-A-Thon in sunny Southern California I found my long-lost white kitten and a second one to boot! The 4 month old twins were so close, we couldn’t imagine separating them, despite already having Merlin, Rufus, and Raji at home. I’m so happy we adopted both, despite the financial strain, because little did we know, but our beloved rescued Snow-Shoe, Merlin, would be diagnosed with cancer 2 months later. He loved the new kittens, though, and playing with them made him happy. I was afraid 6 month old kittens would be too much for him, but when I put them in a separate room to be sure Merlin got peace and quiet, he’d cry and sit out the door until I let them out or him in. Nothing softened the blow of losing Merlin at too young an age (well, 13 isn’t young, but I thought I’d have him till he was 18 or so, like Boo-Boo) but having underfoot the twins whom he had loved and groomed made me feel like I still had part of Merlin with me. Plus, as it turned out, though they look almost identical, Levon is super outgoing, laidback, and loves everyone, whereas Oscar is very shy and nervous. I’m the only person he trusts and who can pet & hold him. (Brian was working long hours when we got them, and he wanted to let Oscar warm up to him according to his own internal clock.) That may not have been the best plan, though, as now one of our three cats is untouchable except by me. We have a friend who’s a psychiatrist, and M. said we should get Oscar put on antidepressants because he’s “clearly neurotic,” but his first vet said that as long as he’s happy and relaxed with me, and he’s happy in his home (eating, playing, sleeping just like his brother) we shouldn’t treat shyness as a medical issue. We agreed with her, and we’ve let Oscar be Oscar, though I hope I’m never hit by a bus…
Now Oscar & Levon are five years old, and they’re much more flame than white, but that’s 100% fine with me! I didn’t know until I adopted them, but Siamese and Siamese mixes get darker in cold climates. They’ve certainly gotten darker in the 1 1/2 years we’ve been in Pullman. Unlike L.A., there are seasons here, most of them cold! It’s snowing outside right now, and both my boys are on the bed curled up with me as I type. Rufus, knowing one person only has so much lap space, is in the other room with his human dad and my animal-loving partner, Brian. (I haven’t only been lucky in the feline finding department, but also have a wonderful human companion. I never thought I’d find someone who loved animals & especially cats as much as I did, but I did!)
Well, that’s my life story in cat years. Having only discovered Katzenworld about 6 weeks ago, already it’s become the one fun site I visit daily. (My Washington Post subscription doesn’t count as “fun.”) I quickly fell in love with the photos, the forums, the cartoon antics of the founders’ felines, and the fact that cat lovers from everywhere can connect. All of that and Tummy Rub Tuesdays! Okay, really it was #TRT that hooked me in, even though I completely misunderstood the purpose of TRT and its photos. I thought it was a forum for the few freakish felines who actually love to have their tummies rubbed (and not just for cute kitties showing their tummies)! Yes, I am way too literal, but Oscar is just such a cat. It’s weird considering how shy & skittish he is that he’ll expose his belly to me, but Oscar will let me rub and scratch his wonderful fluffy tummy until my hand is ready to fall off! In all my years of living with and for cats I have never had one that would let me scratch his tummy. Well, not without losing a finger or two, or losing a pint of blood. So Oscar is a little weird in more ways than one way. But he’s a real sweetie and lover just like his brothers (Levon by blood, Rufus through adoption).
I hope to add a few photos with my blog, and I promise future blogs will not be this long. (Hopefully, you all enjoy cat origin stories as much as I do.) Instead, future blogs will be short & based around great photo sessions, and the toys and products my boys love, like their Ripple Rug. Thanks for inviting me & my boys into the Katzenworld family!