On a warm day before the yuletide eight years ago, I went to our local cat shelter to pick up the two three month old kittens who had selected me to present my wife to them as a present. Usually staff at shelters discourage holiday adoptions, but my wife and I separately and together have each lived with cats for forty years. We came into our marriage twenty years ago with our own feline companions, and both those friends lived to nearly twenty years of age, the last ten years in an easy coexistent peace. After they passed, we lived for five or six years on our own, moving into a new house and settling in before making any new commitments. Eventually the siren mew of felis domesticus in combination with the a steady flow of cute videos coming through the Caternet moved my wife to once again long for feline housemates.

As a result, there I was on Christmas Eve of 2011 staring into the adorable little faces of the two little furry companions, one a Calico and one a Grey Tabby, sisters who assured me with their insistent tiny caterwauls that my wife needed to meet them. So with a new litterbox, litter, ceramic food and water bowls, the dry kitten mix provided by the shelter, some easily digestible wet food, and a warm blanket, I installed our new friends in a warm basement room near a heat vent to await Christmas morning (I checked on them a couple of times under the guise of doing some laundry). The next morning they took one look at my wife and they knew she was the one.

All the cats with whom we have lived are unique in their distinct feline ways, and these two are no exceptions. We lived with not so bright cats, slightly villainous cats, big fluffy cats, truly independent cats, and quite lazy cats. Neither of us had ever lived with Obsessive Compulsive cats. Now all cats are territorial and do not like change in their environments. However, these cats become agitated if we move the furniture, possess atomic clock-like internal chronometers that tell us when morning and evening meals are late and even when the humans should be in bed, never met a new human from whom they could not hide, like their cat beds positioned just so to optimize the morning sun, and will sit patiently staring at my wife until she relents and puts on at a low setting the electric blanket she sets out on the “Cat Chair” in winter. We had also never cared for a cat with allergies. Eight years on, the cats seem to have accepted us as we are, human frailties and all, and we know a great deal more than we did.