I have four cats. The most recent time I had such a low number was last year, briefly, in the latter part of May. That was after Cammie left to go (also briefly, thank goodness) to Regina, but before Kola came to stay with me. Kola made five and Cammie’s return brought the number up to six. That was the norm here for the next ten months.
Prior to that period, I can’t remember the last time I had just four cats. I literally can’t recall. Before Kola, there was Bear-Bear, and Rachael, and Luther… Their times with me didn’t overlap in each case, but for as long as I can recollect, I have had at least one foster-cat in addition to my four perma-cats. And now I have just three of those.
Josie - Josefina von Chubs - is now my senior feline, in terms both of age and her time with me. She came to me on Christmas Eve of 2008, when she was five years old. Good Heavens, that will make her twelve when her birthday rolls around in summer. She is good natured, though she has shown that she can be testy with foster-cats, and when she finds someone in the nylon tunnel. She has become a demonstrably happy cat over the years, always ready to be petted.
Renn - Renfrew Foster - is seven years old, and came as a foster-cat in May, 2010. He used to be afraid of everything. His great enemies were the roofers who spent the summer after his arrival on a neighbouring building, banging and pounding. Now, he fears much less, and, after an initial period of anxiety, has little problem greeting new people and enjoying their attentions.
Tucker - Tucker R. Poly - came to visit as a foster-cat in October, 2010. He was five at the time, and so is ten now, but he still reminds me of a big furry baby. Or a sausage. Or a wombat. He has always been very timid. The slightest movement may send him scurrying away, startled. But he is also the happiest cat I have known. Tucker will purr if you merely look at him, and whispering his name will cause his pudgy little feet to flex in joy. He also squeals and squeaks and talks and whoops. He has been my most expensive cat, due to his health issues. Those appear to be behind him, with luck, but I don’t regret a penny I’ve spent on him.
And there is my foster-cat, Cammie - Princess Cammerouska Albigensia of Siam (I think she may be a fraud, as those names don’t appear very Siamese to me). Eight years old when she arrived at my house in July, 2013, she is now ten. She was very distrustful and it was months before she purred, but she has come a long way since then. I can now pick her up and hold her. I don’t believe she likes it much, but she allows it, and that is a great improvement. She left for a few weeks in the middle of 2014. We thought it was a permanent adoption though, as it turned out, we were fortunate that it was not. Cammie was not in a good environment there, and she came back to live with me.
These are the four who live with me now. The house seems quiet - despite the occasional singing from the boys - and empty. I still have a quartet of animals, two of them rather large for their species, but something is missing. An individual creature can fill a space with its personality, and two such cats left me in as many days last week. There is no top-cat now, and no one to lock away at nights to keep him safe from another. We are a reduced band, and we miss those who have gone before. But we are content, and glad to be safe and fed, sheltered and befriended. Life is not what it was, but it is good.