Thursday, March 13, 2014
Mina's Journal #1
In October of 2011, we had settled into our new house with our new cat Olivia. I'll tell her story in the next blog, but it's important to note that Olivia had been an 'only child' for a good six months before Mina came into her life.
We run Tsubasacon, in Huntington, WV, so when the convention was over that year we had talked about getting another cat to keep Olivia company. Perhaps, we thought, having another cat would keep Olivia occupied so she wouldn't constantly bug us to play with her. Maybe a buddy would help? Well, I told my husband that if we were to get another cat, it would have to 'come' to us. I know there are a lot of people out there who don't believe in God, but for those of you on my side of the fence, I believed that God would bring me another cat if that's what was to happen. Not two days after I got back from my leave from running the convention, a coworker said to me, "You have only one cat, right? Weren't you talking about getting another cat?"
"Yes...we were talking about getting another eventually," I replied, wondering where this conversation was going.
"Well, I have this stray running around my house, and I've been feeding him but my cats don't like him and I can't have another right now... He's a real sweetie." We talked about this kitty and my coworker told me about how she'd seen him being dragged around in the arms of a toddler a few houses down when he wasn't fending for himself out and about. Of course when you hear about a cat being tortured by a child I immediately went home and told my husband about this desperate situation. He agreed we could go look at the cat.
After a week or so we arranged to go to my coworker's house and she arranged to catch the kitten and have him ready for us to look at. We made the almost a half hour trip out to nowhere land and there was this kitten in a carrier out on my coworker's back porch. She brought the cat out and he wove in and out around our ankles and climbed around the back porch area. I looked up at my husband with big eyes, and begged to take him. He called the vet on the drive back, because he knew he didn't have any argument about the little raggedy black cat with the silly white hairs sticking out of her chest and back.
At the vet, just as I'd already assumed after seeing the cat in person, that 'he' was actually a 'she'. My coworker didn't realize it with how long haired she was, but I knew immediately. We passed back and forth dozens of names on the drive to the vet and already had a name picked out by the time we got there to have her checked out. "Mina" was a character from an anime (not originally an anime though, an opening sequence anime to a Japanese drama called "Densha Otoko"). I'd wanted to use the name when we got Olivia, but didn't due to other reasons.
Olivia is a pretty easy going cat, but for some reason the moment Mina came into the household she lost interest in playing. Mina basically took over being the kitten with all of the energy. She'd silently run into a room while we were playing and take over the battle over the birdie or mousie, or whatever feathery toy we would be waving around. Olivia would sulk out of the room and let Mina have the run of the place. When they were younger, Mina and Olivia would spend time near one another and sometimes even sleep near one another. Unfortunately upon the entrance of Tenchi, they lost interest in cuddling together and everyone took up their own territories in the house.
Unfortunately a few quirks still exist from her kitten days. Mina does not like to be picked up. Almost immediately this normally quiet cat will start to yowl like I've pulled out a toenail or something. She absolutely hates to have her claws trimmed, which is sort of ironic as she also doesn't use scratching posts so if I don't trim them, they curl back on themselves. I'm not sure why she has such an aversion to having her feet touched, but the only time she allows them to be touched is when she's completely asleep or she's forced into the trimming. Luckily she only struggles and yowls, doesn't bite like Tenchi will try to do on occasion.
Mina also hates the sound of thunder. We discovered this the spring after we got her. The first thunderstorm that rolled through and she hid herself under the television stand. She still does it even a few years later, and she'll stay there until long after the storm has passed. We're not sure where this fear came from as neither of the other cats have a problem with storms and even though Mina used to run from the vacuum cleaner, she mostly stays put now that she's older and won't leave too far from her perch in the front window.
An unusual thing happened when Mina would hide under the television: Olivia would play again. In fact, I sometimes think that Olivia enjoys feeling like she's the only cat in the house during thunderstorms because she will play and snuggle up to me on the first floor when Mina is no where to be found.
Then, after Olivia was just starting to act a bit more normal (at least back to her six months of being an 'only child') we introduced the kitten Tenchi. For some reason he clung onto Mina like they were going to be the best friends in the entire world.
That, of course, was not the case. Mina hissed, howled, growled, spat, clawed...turned into basically the most nasty sounding evil cat I'd heard - all coming out of the sweetest cuddly thing you can think of. She didn't want to have anything to do with Tenchi. (Olivia, on the other hand sniffed at him, but overall just avoided the kitten.) But Tenchi was enthralled with Mina for some reason. He would find her sleeping up by the window and curl up next to her. If she was sound asleep then he could be near her, but the moment she woke up she would sniff at him in disdain and leave.
Mina's schedule is usually like this - she sleeps on the couch, or the cat tower, and when she hears her humans get up she runs out into the living room floor and throws herself down for scratches. If we take too long to get up she might run up to investigate which causes Tenchi to chase her out. Then she rubs around our ankles in the kitchen, throwing herself down on our feet if we stand in one place too long without petting her. Tenchi comes in and chases her out of the kitchen. If I don't have to go to work and take up residence on the couch, Mina plops herself on my leg until it goes numb (about a half hour or so) and then plops down on the floor to the left of the coffee table and sprawls out until I get up and walk around. If I sit down again she'll be on my lap within 5-10 minutes. Repeat, lots of times through the day. In the evening, Tenchi comes out from hiding and will lie on the floor and copy-cat her position in the floor, both of them showing off their bellies.
Mina stays downstairs when we go upstairs as that is Olivia and Tenchi territory. Now, if we've left something on the floor - Tenchi's blue rubber bracelet for example - we'll hear her meowing to tell us that it's been left on the floor. Mina also has a cute habit she started as a kitten, and that was fetching small objects that DO NOT BELONG. I say this because she makes a point of making a ruckus if one of these objects is found. The first was a bit of cement from the basement floor; she brought it up in her mouth, carefully dropped it in the living room and meowed at me. She rarely speaks, unlike Tenchi and Olivia who are avid talkers. So it's quite a shock, and the first time she brought me something I thought she had hurt herself. But eventually we figured out what the meow meant. "This does not belong on the floor," she seems to say.
It's taken nearly a year to get 'used' to Tenchi enough to get back into the routine of disrupting play time again. Olivia got fairly used to the new boy in the house, but Mina stopped playing when we got him, all but on occasions, and maybe it's because she's got such short legs she doesn't run very fast. She runs with all claws and can't jump very high. Most of the time she stays on at least two feet to catch birds. She's scared of heights as well. She will get to the top of the cat tower, but it took months to get over wobbling with fear when we'd put her at the top. She started lying on the bottom, then the first ear, then another until finally she would sleep at the top. She can't jump up on counters, her legs just won't let her jump higher than a foot or so.
I don't mind that she doesn't climb (Olivia is enough of a hassle to chase down off of things), because she's quite the cuddler. When she's on my lap, if she's really loving she'll start up this little motor going (Tenchi, I didn't mention before, doesn't purr. He has a tiny little rumble that will come for maybe five seconds at a time when he's feeling cuddly, but it only happens maybe once a week. Olivia purrs, but more about her later) and put her paws on my shoulders. She'll rub her face in mine and bury her face in my neck. She doesn't do this to my husband (only rarely) but she cuddles with me at least once a day.
She also begs for food. She's the only one of my three cats that care at all about people food. She LOVES it. Oh wait... LOVES it. She'll plop up next to me on the bench at the kitchen table and put her paws on my shoulder and rub the side of my face and then reach over to the dish that I'm eating. I give her occasional table scraps, but only meat, and only tiny bits as she won't eat anything over the size of a pea. But she's insatiable. She'll beg until every scrap of food is cleaned off the plate. Then she'll turn around and get annoyed that I didn't share anything and leave dejectedly.
And there you have it, Mina. Next Journal up: Olivia, Cat #1!