Over the years we have been servants to many cats. In fact, with the exception of the five years we lived in Spain, neither of us have never lived without a furry feline companion.
Before moving to Spain we had to make a tough decision. There was no way we could have expected five free-roam cats to be couped up in an attico apartment - that's the reason we did not adopt a kitty there. We were just not used to having "indoor" cats. Fortunately, we found good homes for our quintet - only one of which we had had since birth - the others were all results of someone "volunteering" us to take them in.
Once we had settled in NC though, it became a different story. We have a large yard, plenty of space and trees. Ideal for cats? Maybe, but when we were at the animal sanctuary I was immediately attracted to a large eight year-old gray tabby. He had been named "Berber", apparently because he likes "messing" on the carpet and no one wanted him. "We'll take that one", I said. "You do understand that he has had other homes and his habits have brought him back here?" "We'll risk him"!
I then found out two more important facts about him. He had been de-clawed as a kitten (a barbaric practice which I would loved to see outlawed). The other fact? He had only days left until he was to be euthanized. Was I going to let my heart rule my head? You bet I was and I did! "Hartley", for that was what we named him, was all over me. He knew for sure! However, it wasn't until we were signing the adoption papers that I noticed the clause (pun absolutely intended), that as he was claw-less (front paws) and he was only to be an indoor cat.
Could we change our minds? Of course not. "Big H" has now been with us five years and is a healthy thirteen year-old, is stubborn, gets his own way, absolutely rules the home, will not settle (or let us settle) in the evening until he has been brushed to within an inch of his life and is renowned for his Houdini escape attempts.
Oh - does he mess our carpets? No - although we often wake up to hear him in his litter box making another attempt at "The Great Escape", although we are not sure if he's working on Tom, Dick or Harry? All we know is, he makes a lot of noise and although he tolerates us - we love him!
Hartley - what a beautiful boy.