(Photo credit TLC Network)
I admit, I’ve always had an odd fascination for the Duggar family – you know, the ones with 19 kids, who now have spouses and children of their own. Though my interest in them has waned in recent years as more scandals of theirs have come to light, I have maintained a curiosity about the big brood. I thought a lot about how each child could maintain their individuality in a family so large. And, in a way I understand it now. I am the “mom” to seven cats. I never intended to have so many felines, it just kind of happened that way.
Beavis and Stan were my first two. At twelve years old, they are still perfect. We had JB for a time – a time that wasn’t long enough. We lost him in June. Between December of 2018 and May of last year, we acquired five more – Nik, Lexi, Malenky, Boris and Tasha. They had a sister who I named Anastasia. My ex-husband and his girlfriend took her in and renamed her Gilly. I like to refer to our brood as the Magnificent Seven.
Enjoying each cat and appreciating them for who they are is not hard. That’s why I’m understanding Michelle Duggar more. I know children and cats are not the same, obviously – but their unique personalities makes it easy to love them each exactly as they come. Like people, each one is different – they have different moods and different tendencies.
Beavis was given to me by my ex-husband and children after I was mugged, and they didn’t know what to surprise me with at Christmas to make me perk up and feel better. They found him in a pet shop, and he was a sweetie from the very first time they picked him up. He’s a gorgeous tabby, and recently lost a lot of weight after being chubby for the past several years. I think he is the only one of our cats who has never, ever gotten in trouble or yelled at for anything. He turned twelve years old on October 10.
Stanley was originally my sister’s cat. Due to a change in living situation for my Mom, my sister and I had to play musical cats, and he became ours. My kids liked Stan right away, it took the ex and I a little longer. For some reason, Stan has always been in love with me. When I lived with my sister (I had the cats with me there) Stan would sit by the door every afternoon about a half hour before I was due home and cry for me until I got there. He is a character, a cat who is always around. He is always under foot, helping with every project he can get his hands on. He is a gorgeous long-haired gray cat who is also twelve years old.
JB was our Florida cat. He hung around outside the house I shared with my cousin until I was leaving for Pennsylvania. He came with us. He adjusted to life with us as an inside cat very well. He always had an odd way of breathing, like he was snoring. Long story short, he was older than the vet in Florida had said, and what he had wasn’t a breathing problem, it was nasal cancer. He lived with that from January until June 2nd when, as they say, he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. JB went over that bridge knowing he was loved.
Going to a shelter to drop off some food that our cats didn’t like led me to Nik and Lexi. They were a foster fail on our (well, my) part. We took them in on December 29th. That’s their “Gotcha Day.” They are both cows – white with black splots. Nik is rough and tough, and is a big boy. Lexi is the perfect female – she really is a Queen. Nik tries very hard to be the dominant male cat in the house – Beavis doesn’t mind, but Stan resists Nik’s effort and they do tend to fight. Lexi is the perfect sister in addition to her being royalty.
Malenky was a total surprise. Sitting on the living room couch, I heard a meowing in the basement. I went down there, and saw and heard nothing. Of course, as soon as I went back upstairs I heard it again. I went back down again, and issued an ultimatum – come out come out wherever you are, that kind of thing. And then, out from underneath a dresser walked the smallest kitten I have ever seen. A tiny, beautiful black and white kitten. I fell in love with him at first sight, for sure. He was no more than three weeks old. His ears weren’t even fully extended. I had no idea how to care for a kitten so small – thank God for the internet. I taught him how to do everything – how to eat, drink, how to pee and how to poop. He is a gorgeous Tuxedo boy, and he is my success story!
People were right when they said that where there was one, there would be siblings. How right they were! Three weeks later, we found the three siblings – two girls and a boy. We toyed with the idea of what to do with them, when I think we’d really known all along. My ex-husband took one of the Tuxedo girls, the cute one with the black splatch on her nose. He renamed her Gilly. We have kept the all black boy, Boris. What a nut he is! He keeps us laughing every day with his antics. He chases his tail in many ways, like it is his own built in toy. His sister is Natasha, and she is the perfect Princess. She is a quiet, dignified Tuxedo girl. She also is Beavis-like in not really doing anything wrong, though she can stick up for herself for sure when her siblings try to strong arm her away from food she thinks is hers!
So that’s our brood- – all different, all perfect. We love them all the same, yet love them for different reasons. They are each their own individuals – which I’m guessing is even more relevant (if that is even the right word) with the Duggars – no matter how many of them there are. As much as I would love to have more, I realize we are full up. Inside. I do however feed some of the outside ferals of our West Scranton neighborhood. Ginger, Gloria and Olga are well taken care of on N. Bromley Avenue…
Below, in order are Beavis, Stan, Nikita Adam and Alexi Eve, Malenky Lewis, Boris Alexander and Natasha Jean.