Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fifteen years and counting with my cat Betsy!

by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

Katie in a bag.
Thursday was the 15th anniversary of the day we got our kittens. It was a gray day--not at all unusual for February, but not a lot of snow was on the ground, either.  Eight months before, we had lost our beloved Katie-Cat. (The heroine of my Victoria Square Mysteries is named after her.)

Mr. L and I drove across town to the local humane society (Lollipop Farm) to find another tabby.  There was only one available for adoption.  A four-month-old kitten.  She was in a cage with her sister.  They had been there only a day, and they were frightened.  They had their little arms wrapped around each other.  It broke my heart.  We asked to see them both to decide which one we'd take.

Bonnie & Betsy keep warm by the heat run.
We wanted one cat.

We ended up with two.

No way could we split up these two sisters.  (Betsy and Bonnie.)

The first few months we had them, the girls were inseparable--although they both showed teen-age puppy love for our then dominate male, Larry.  (They absolutely LOVED him!  They both looked at him with adoring eyes.  So funny!)

As time went by, however, the girls seemed to forget that they started out in the same womb.  Sometimes they'd sit together, but it was usually by accident.  And often, if one got too close to the other--crowding her sister--there'd be hissing, although the girls always ate side-by-side and were never bothered by it.

Our Gingerbread Girl, May 2011
We lost our tabby Bonnie to cancer last November.  There's a huge hole in our hearts that doesn't want to mend.  Meanwhile, her sister Betsy never seemed to notice her womb-mate was gone.

What we have discovered over the years is that (DUH!) cats don't think the same way humans do. Sibling cats CAN be separated and live long and happy lives. As we learned to our detriment, humane societies and animal rescue organizations are always looking to "get rid of" a 2-for. (And who can blame them.)  But honestly, if you only want one cat, and they try to foist off two on you, you have to decide what is best for you and your new pet.

George, the tiny terrorist.
We were "suckered" into taking two other siblings several years after we acquired the kittens.  Two adult male cats.  I wanted the Tuxedo (my tiny son, Fred), but the rescue organization would not split up the pair.  The outcome?  A disaster.  You see, we already had one adult male cat.  Despite being tiny in size, one of the new brothers was terribly aggressive,   (Napoleon Syndrome to the max!) We ended up with both new boys spraying our walls, rugs, and furniture to mark their territory.  It wasn't until Mr. Aggressive began to physically abuse little Betsy that we had to say "enough!"  It was time for this cat to go.  But, George (we named the boys after the Weasley twins) had a very happy ending. Mr. L's cousin's best friend was looking for a companion cat for her girl.  So we drove George 90 miles to Buffalo where he went to live with Cindy and Smirnoff. All three of them THRIVED!  Nine years later, they are all still very happy together.  And Fred gets along very well with our (now) dominate cat, Chester.  (Well, most of the time.)

The last picture of Bonnie (left) and Betsy taken together (fall, 2011)
By the way, over the years, we've come to call our little Betsy our bonus girl. (Or rather, our Princess, our Sweetheart Girl.)  How odd is it that she's still here while her sister (the beauty--our Gingerbread Girl--who we sought to fill the hole left by losing Katie) is gone.  (Mind you, we almost lost Betsy four years ago to lymphoma.)

So, happy anniversary, Betsy.  We love you.

(P.S.  We still call her our kitten.  She doesn't mind.)


Vickie said...

aww...your furbabies are so cute!!! Isn't it amazing how much they mean to us???

Maureen Hayes said...

I did the same thing. I went in 2 years ago to get one cat and ended up with two. Now they hate one another and I wish I had only adopted one. I thought they would be good company for one another, and at first they were. Now they seem to not want the other one to get any attention, are jealous of each other, etc. I live with my elderly mom and the female (Emma, I am a Jane Austen fan too) has adopted my mom but can't stand me. The male (Scrappy) has adopted me.

But our lives wouldn't be complete without them and we miss them so when they pass, that it is worth all the drama we put up with!

Thanks for a lovely post about your kitties!

The Cat Bastet said...

Our furry babies really are part of the family. I'm glad Betsy is doing so well.

Thanks for all the adorable photos!

Cathy AJ

Shirley said...

Love the story of your kitties! I have cats also, sometimes they get along, sometimes not. Love your books, too.

colombian women said...

The surname blinks? The trouble fuses the defect into another crossroad. Next to the outline reacts a need. Fifteen years and counting with my cat Betsy! filters a brigade. A jealous coke fails above the secretary.

ev said...

We have 3 cats- 2 female and a male. The girls are always going at it.

A friend of mine just adopted a new kitty from Lollipop Farms after he 15 year old kitty died. great place!!

Vicki said...

Tomorrow will mark a year since I lost my Miss Kitty to anemia. I still miss my "Baby Love" just like it was yesterday but still have my 2 babies, O'Malley and Sister to keep things interesting always! O'Malley is the baby boy, we had him first but he loves everyone! Sister is older, a rescue and dominates the house and everyone, human or animal in it so there will be no other cats. Thanks for sharing your babies!

Teagan Oliver said...

Two years ago we lost our 21 year old cat, Moose. Frankly, he was in horrible shape, but he held on until he decided it was time. We were devastated since we'd gotten him before we were married. We considered him our first child. About a year before he passed I decided we needed another cat to ease the blow when Moose passed (we'd been waiting for it since he was about 16) and so we brought JuJu into the house. There was a lot of scrambling for awhile, but eventually they just agreed to ignore each other. After Moose died we buried him in a place of honor out back and decided one cat was enough. But about two months after that a small cat started showing up. He'd sit on Moose's grave and he had very similar markings to him. Long story short, we couldn't leave him out brave the winters. He wouldn't have made it. Hubby got him in and now he's the bratty younger brother to JuJu who would love to ignore Chig, but Chig won't let him. Both JuJu and Chig needed a home and ours was there for them. It's part of "the plan" I guess because despite the fact we didn't want another cat we got one anyway. Gotta love them.

Erin said...

What a sweet post.

Aurian said...

Thanks for the lovely story and pics.