Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Cat of the Year; voting is now open

Pictured (from the left) Natalie, Marilyn, Miles, David, Alex 
So, here are the contestants.  We will start with the defending champion, Natalie.

Age:  18
Weight: 10 lbs
Breed:  Domestic long hair

Background: Disemboweled by her previous owners’ dog, historically medically neglected. Borderline diabetic (Type 2 lifestyle diabetes, I'm calling it what is is). She’d prefer to be the only cat in our house.

Despite not having earned her title last year, 2013 has been an especially good year for our oldest cat.  In retrospect, perhaps winning the respect and adoration of internet fans has helped her change her attitude and slim down to 10 lbs. Self respect is a powerful elixir (I hope you are reading this Harley). Because of her weight loss, Natalie has also stopped her incredibly expensive diabetic cat food, which is a plus for our family's fiscal health.   At long last, sometime during the past year Natalie has recovered from being angry at her living situation.  She is once again affectionate, outgoing, and loving.  The Natalie of old.  Recently, she even sat on Trisha's (her frenemy care-giver) lap.  She has extended the olive branch to even Miles. But not Dr. Z.

All this "being good" takes it's toll.  It is exhausting to her.

She has also taken an interest in our hobbies.  Here she is helping Marilyn sew curtains and an awning for a camper she will never use.
She doesn't resent that.  At all.
2013 Accomplishments:  weight loss, fiscal responsibility, improved self-esteem

Age: 14- ish
Weight: 7 lbs
Breed: Turkish Angora x Persian

Background: Innocent victim of a hoarder. He was at the shelter for 2 years because no one wanted to adopt an adult black cat. We adopted him in summer of 2007 as a friend for Natalie. Boy was that a bad idea.  Really bad.

The understated hero in our house.

This has been an expensive and difficult year for our quiet and brave little guy.  He is plagued by small tumors,  inside and out.  His weight is diminishing, and he had to have one of his canines removed. I think he still expects Junebug (or Squeak) to come back home. Despite all this, he does not complain.

The other cats look to him as the leader- partly because they are terrified of him.
It's not that he is mean, he is just socially inept.  His favorite games are hit and bite. Since Squeak passed, no one has ascended to the rank of leader.  Natalie by all accounts (biggest, oldest, shrewdest and longest tenured 8th Street resident), should have taken the throne, but she lives in fear (and hate) of the other pets (Squeak, Junebug, Alex and Miles).

Back to Alex.
He is very interested in and tolerant of house guests.  He recently learned the word "selfie".  Here he is having fun with our friend Andrew from Myanmar.

He has embraced (to the best of his ability) the arrival of Miles, and tries to play with him. But again, his two games are Hit and Bite, and you never know when he is going to play, so he hasn't won over Miles as a playmate.

2013 Accomplishments:  None, really.  He is a rock; he is legend.

Age: 10
Weight: 7 lbs
Breed:  Wire-haired Chihuahua

Background:  Our smallest and youngest cat, Miles is a "California Little"- one of the small dogs sent to Missoula's Humane Society from an animal shelter in Merced, California.  He, like his bother Alex, is the innocent victim of a hoarder.  We know very little about his past, but when we adopted him he had sores on his feet and legs from confinement.

Although Miles came to live with us in 2012, since he did not complete greater than .5 years he was ineligible to complete for the title last year.  This year, he is in the running.  As a wire-haired Chihuahua, you might be surprised to find him in the competition.  Yet we remind you all that Junebug was crowned Cat of the Year, and we are still not sure what kind of creature she was.

We learned a lot about Miles this year- almost everyday is an exciting adventure for him.
He loves running, and his longest run was 10 miles (no problem).  He even competed in his first race and easily took the senior toy breed division.

He loves ice cream, especially from the Big Dipper
He loves hiking, and this summer among other things he hiked to 7 mountain lakes.
He does not like swimming,he won't drink from a lake or stream (we call it wild water), so we carry a bowl for him, and is terrified of toad stools.
He loves hunting (camp),
camping, sitting by the campfire,
but most of all he loves Marilyn.  As a chihuahua, he is fiercely loyal to one caregiver.  And he is also fond of small dogs, especially his breed.  Among chihuahuas it is called "clanning" (kind of racist, actually).

2013 Accomplishments: He learned to jump through a hula hoop on command.   He's a good boy! Yes he is!