For this installment of Whatever Wednesday, I'm going to introduce you to the cats in my world. These cats are one of the most wonderful things in my life. So, without further ado, here are my cats:
Nicknames: Herc, Herkemer, Herky
Type: American Short-Hair
Age: 11 years
I have always had cats around me in my life. Despite this, there has rarely been a cat that I brought into my life. Hercules was the cat that changed that for me. Alice and I got him together and he's been with us for almost the length of our entire marriage. We got him from a childhood neighbor of Alice's when Herc was only a year old. He has been there through the best and the worst parts of our life. By my count, Hercules has been with us through seven moves from one home to another. He hates moves and can tell if we are preparing for another.
Herc is about as laid back as a cat can get. He is friendly, affectionate, and has never used his claws on anyone on purpose. The only time someone was scratched by Herc was when he fell and was trying to catch himself. Herc is also one of the smartest cats I know. Alice has trained even him to do High Fives. If you hold you hand up in front of him, he'll smack it with his paw. It is super cute.
No matter how many, or what cats we've had in our house, Herc couldn't care less. He doesn't get into fights and is very content with doing his own thing. Unfortunately, Herc's idea of doing his own thing does involve getting onto the counters and eating fish, chicken, or any other food that was left unattended. Outside of stealing food from the counters, Herc is a well behaved cat. Lately, he has been coming around and telling us to go to bed. Or at least that's what we think he is saying. Did I mention he is a very, vocal kitty? Yeah, Herc loves to communicate.
Hercules is the primary inspiration behind my short story Timid the Cat Goes to War. I returned to our home in Asheville, NC one afternoon to discover the screen knocked out. Risu hadn't gotten very far and was quickly recovered. Herc was missing. For over twenty-four hours, Alice and I did everything we could to try and find Herc. We were worried we had lost him for ever. This area, after all, had a tendency to eat cats. He returned the following day on his own with no explanation as to where he had been or what he had been up to. I decided after this moment to write a story explaining what exactly catsdo when they go missing.
In my novel, The Rose and the Crown, Vincent wakes up after having fallen asleep in a chair to discover that a cat has curled up on his lap. This was also inspired by Hercules and his behavior of curling up next to people sleeping in chairs as if it were a part of his daily routine.
Nicknames: Brat, Princess Prissy Pants
Type: Siberian (Believed to be purebred)
Age: 5 years
We did not pick Risu. Risu picked us. I woke up from an overnight shift and heard piteous mewing from bushes outside our apartment. The source of this crying was Risu. When I lowered myself down to the ground, she ran towards me and hoped up into my arms. I couldn't turn her away. We put signs up and, much to my eternal joy, no one claimed the fluff ball of happiness. We named her Risu, the Japanese word for squirrel.
Risu has a kitty crush on me. She wants everything in her life to do with me. If I lie down on the floor, she'll snuggle up next to me. If I sit on the futon, she will curl up beside me or behind me. At night, she climbs up next to me and gets under my right elbow, making reading difficult. She also is kind enough to inform me when the clock reads 5:00 AM. Why? I have no idea.
Risu also is obsessed with the sink. She'll run ahead of us in the hall if we are heading towards the bathroom and leap into the sink. Half of the time, she'll drink from the sink if we give her a chance. The other half, she looks at us like we are crazy. Do believe me? I offer you video proof.
I have a WIP titled, “Finnish Cat Story”. This story is about a young man, Eric, whose cat is accidentally stowed onto the wrong plane and is flown to Finland instead of Boston. Eric uproots his entire life and leaves for the strange country he knows nothing about to recover his cat. There, he spends a six month quarantine with his pet, eating into his life savings for this one cat. The cat in this story is directly influenced by Risu. I adore this cat so much, words can not describe it. She is a complete brat. She does hundreds of things that drive me crazy. And yet, I love her. It is also clear that she loves me very much and just wants to be close to me. I felt this kind of love deserved recognition in writing.