In August of 2010, our family adopted two kittens from a coworker of mine who's female cat had just given birth to about seven kittens about six weeks before. A few months before, we had to put our family cat down because he was sick. It was the second one in the family we had to let go. We gave ourselves a few months to grieve and let some time pass before we decided to adopt a new member of the family. But this time, my mom insisted on getting two!
A brother and a sister! One light, one dark, to easily tell them apart. This was their very first night with us -- meet Cartney and Ringa!
At the time, we actually thought Ringa was a boy. We originally wanted two brothers. Ringa used to be called Ringo. Obviously, our cats were named after the Beatles ;) But in time, we noticed "Ringo" seemed kind of...."dainty?" We had our suspicious that perhaps it was a female cat after all. And once we took them to get neutered approximately four months later, we had confirmation that "he" was indeed a "she!" Ringo became Ringa.
Even though our family owned two cats before this, I never grew up with kittens! Our first cat - Ricky - was around before I was even born, so I missed his kitten stage. After Ricky died, we adopted Tibby. Tibby was a rescue cat and so he was already a couple of years old and a full grown cat. Both beautiful cats we were blessed to have. Once we adopted Ringa and Cartney at only six weeks old, you can only imagine my excitement and new fascination with how kittens interact for the short time that they are very young!:
They brought such joy to our lives! And before we knew it, they quickly grew:
Two peas in a pod they were :)
Cartney Lost Then something sad happened. My dad insisted on letting the cats be free and let them explore the outdoors. Ricky and Tibby were outdoor cats previously. They always stayed close to home and in and around the neighbourhood. They were usually always in before dark and we trusted to let them out because they always came back. I really wanted to keep these cats indoor ones, maybe because there were two of them together this time and I felt protective of them. But my father is absolutely helpless to these cats (we swear, he puts them first before his own kids it feels like!). He wanted them to explore the outdoors and so, we slowly got them used to going outside.
Ringa was great. She stayed close to home and was always inside before "her curfew." Cartney, on the other hand, was wild. He loved the outdoors. So much that if we let him out in the morning, he'd be gone for hours and not return till sometime in the middle of the night. We thought, "How does he survive with no food and water??" Later on, we heard from neighbours that he was actually "visiting" them! And would visit other cats. Neighbours soon recognized him and even welcomed him into their home! They'd feed him when he came for a visit and he mostly would just hang around for the rest of the day.
We had no idea at the time that Cartney was such a social butterfly! And I was never comfortable letting him out to begin with because of all the hours during the day he was gone. Anything could have happened to him.
Then one day, it did. On a freezing cold night in February of 2012, Cartney never came home. He went missing! And he was missing for five months before we found him again.
We searched the neighbourhoods, called his name, asked people in the area if they'd seen him, posted signs everywhere, advertised on websites. I worked in a grocery store in the area and even kept a poster of him at the end of my desk for customers to see. The whole thing broke all our hearts and was a very stressful time for us. I kept checking back on websites to see if anyone found an orange tabby cat. A few times, we got calls from people thinking they saw him, only to discover it was another stray orange cat wandering around.
We still had hope we'd find Cartney one day, given his history of wandering off to visit other neighbours. We figured some blessed soul somewhere was looking after him.
A few months later, our parents decided to adopt another cat. They wanted Ringa to have some company, because she'd stare out the window hoping her brother would come home.
We adopted Lenny from a local shelter, who couldn't be more thrilled to have a happy home.
In reality though, Ringa pretty much resented Lenny! It wasn't her brother. To her, it was "someone else" coming into her home! For a very long time, there was so much hissing and scratching among the two of them going on. But thankfully in time, she learned to kind of "accept" him.
We always thought that if we ever found Cartney again, we'd have a very busy house of three cats! We knew at that point, we couldn't give any of them away even if we tried.
Cartney Found! - A House of Three Cats Cartney went missing in February of 2012 and we got him back at the end of June 2012. I never stopped advertising his picture on the Toronto Humane Society website. Because of this, one day in June a woman called us saying she was "almost positive" our Cartney had wandered aimlessly into her house, and before that she often saw him around her neighbourhood. She described him to me on the phone, saying his left ear had a small slit on it as advertised. At the moment, I was almost positive it was indeed our Cartney!
I had work that day but my parents and sister went over to this woman's house to identify our cat. He was far enough from our house! But not too, too far enough that it was impossible for him to get to. They also brought Ringa around to see if she would recognize her brother. And you know what? She did! When she saw him, apparently she went right up to him and licked him! We knew then, we had finally found our orange cat at last.
He didn't look scrawny when we saw him or scratched up, so it was a relief to know that all the time he was gone, it seemed like he was more or less safe. But he did look a bit more "wild" and his fur seemed a bit more rough. I think it took him some time to adapt back to a proper home life. To this day, we have no idea where on earth he took off to for so long. Perhaps he was making several visits to different people throughout the day. Regardless of what happened to him, we were beyond thrilled to welcome him back into his home! Ringa was extremely happy to have her brother back. And Lenny? Pretty much loved him. It was easy to see Cartney was a like a big brother for him to look up to.
These days, Cartney is only allowed out on a leash! Which he really isn't too happy about but it's for his own safety (and our peace of mind!). We all take turns taking him out and letting him enjoy what he can. Lenny literally just sits in the backyard and stares at birds and squirrels so he mostly keeps Cartney company while Ringa stays in a neighbour's backyard if she's wanting some space from the boys.
These cats are a heck of a lotta work! They always wanna go outside and it seems like we cater to them so much. A few times, Ringa has gone missing for a night and we've had to worry about her! But she's always returned sometime in the middle of the night. One time she was just stuck in a neighbour's garage for the night. Gahh!
It goes without saying that we love them all so much. They all have their own distinct personalities and characteristics that make each one of them so unique. We are definitely known as the "house of crazy cats" among our friends and family.
But it really doesn't matter to us. We are very happy to have them here to stay :)