[Originally published in The Witch’s Corner newsletter, June 2011…Pixie passed away since this post was first published]
(Salem & Pixie, sitting in *their* spot at the livingroom windows, watching birds & squirrels at the feeders.)
We have six cats, or Katz, in our house, and each one is a unique creature that stands out from all the others with a staunch individualism that only cats can carry off successfully. There’s Salem, the sleek black prince of the house, who enjoys a great deal of affection, and can’t seem to wait until 5:30am, the time my husband normally rises for work, to come greet us in bed with morning nips to the fingers, purring, chirping, and carrying on. Unfortunately, Salem seems to think that *every* morning must begin this early and in this way…whether the alarm goes off or not.
At the other extreme is our brown tabby cat, Basil. Basil was born with the soul of an irrascible old man. He doesn’t want to be touched, he doesn’t really like it when you talk to him, and he puts a lot of effort into pretending not to listen. He doesn’t even like you to get too close, and goddess forbid, don’t make eye contact. And just like some crabby old man, he spends a lot of time growling, hissing, and complaining.
(Basil, napping on the back porch.)
Bast is the ‘Mama’ of the group, both figuratively and literally– she’s Basil’s mother. She also runs our cat community with an iron fist, and if anyone gets out of line– either cat or human– she puts them back into place by giving them a good swift slap to the face. Apparently this system works very well for her. So far no one has questioned her authority or tried to usurp her position in the pecking order.
Pixie, also known as “Mistress Pixie Paws”, is just plain weird. She’s known around the house as ‘Spook’, for the unnerving habit of calmly watching us out of glassy gold-green eyes when we least expect it, and then blinking complacently when we’re startled. She is a sprite, a magickal creature, one of the elves or nymphs come to spy on us humans. Her actions are usually slow and deliberate, occasionally totally off the wall and unexpected, and always entertaining.
This cat also has the ability to fall asleep anywhere in almost any position– occasionally even when she’s sitting up, human style.
(Pixie, sleeping on the arm of the couch, where she had fallen asleep sitting bolt upright in a human position, and then gradually slid to the right.)
Pyewacket defies explanation. He’s a beautiful black angora that is very affectionate, likes to do a little ‘head-bumping’ greeting he has, and absolutely refuses to use a litter box– no way, no how. Wintering with him in the house is hell. He is banished to the laundry room, with the entire floor laid in newspapers. I defy you to pick up one square of newspaper, because if you do, out of this entire room– and it’s big– he will choose that one bare spot of floor to do his business.
We’ve decided that, lovable and affectionate as he is, Pyewacket basically has the heart of an outdoor cat.
(Pyewacket, snoozing in his food bowl on the back porch.)
Baby, aka Duchess, is my ham. Where the camera is, you’ll find Baby. She winds up in more of my photos, and photos that I’ll use for particular purposes, more often than any of the other cats. She also has two names, as you can see.
She is quiet, sort of out in a zone all on her own. This cat also obviously interacts with beings or entities that only she can see. We sat and watched her one day in the middle of the livingroom floor, as she circled an unseen being, her hair standing straight on end. It must have been about the same size as herself, and as she circled it, all puffed up, she would reach inside this space, trying to sniff whatever it was. Suddenly, it must have startled her, for she leaped backwards, all four paws off the floor. And then it was gone. I’m grateful that I had wittnesses to this extraordinary display.
Cats are lazy, plain and simple. That’s the truth. They spend their time eating or sleeping, with a little bit of play and shenanigans inbetween.
But mostly, they sleep…
Sometimes they like to share their space…
And sometimes, they don’t.