COLUMNISTS

How to juggle three cats

Susan Manzke
The three housecats: Cruella watches the boys, warily from under the chair, while big brother Car-E stretches out near newcomer little Barn-E.

The three cats I have in my house all want my attention. No one wants to share me. To keep them all happy, I have to make sure I spend time with each one.

Cruella, at 14, is the oldest. She spends much of her time alone, only coming downstairs for breakfast and supper. When Cruella shows up, she looks around to see if Car-E is near, if he isn’t, she’ll leap into my lap. She doesn’t like being held, but she loves when I scratch under her chin.

The kitten, like any baby, wants my attention all the time. Car-E, an 18-month-old, does not like it when I give the kitten attention. It is easy cuddling with the new little buddy, but if I look across the room, I’ll find Car-E watching. He’s waiting for his turn in my lap and more than willing to push the kitten away.

When the kitten and Car-E are on the floor together, I have to keep an eye on them. The kitten will follow Car-E, looking to touch noses. He is not afraid of the much larger cat. I am.

I know how rough Car-E can play. I’ve had my hands scratched and skin pinched roughly in his teeth. A few times, he even drew blood. This rough play could do the kitten in. I fear one good chomp from Car-E, even if in play, could be the end of the kitten.

It is juggling time at breakfast and supper. Cruella takes her meals on the stairs where I can close the door and give her peace and quiet.

Barn-E after his bath.

The kitten eats in the downstairs bathroom. Again, there’s a door to close to keep others out, especially Sunny the dog who would love to clean up every cat bowl in the house.

Car-E is locked in the dining room with his food. There he doesn’t feel confined because it’s a large room where he can roam or relax after eating. Though often I hear him trying to pry the door open so he can make an escape.

Keeping them all separated allows me to know who is eating and how much. Sunny eats in the kitchen. I have time to make my meal after barn cats and fish are also fed. Finally, I can eat—when you have animals, you come last.

I know a lot of people are interested in the kitten’s name. Last week I asked for suggestions and I got quite a few.

My family was the first to offer their ideas. Arianna instant messaged me with the name Echo. Other names that came from her family were Bilbo and Pumpkin. Rebecca thought Cleo or Cloey would suit my little pet.

Russell messaged me with three names from his family: Oliver, Barn-E, or Jeff.

A sweet Barn-E.

My BFF Joyce in Illinois suggested Honey, Barn-E or Porch-E.

A Tuesday coffee friend put in her two cents with Cappuccino or Latte. Writers from around the state thought Typo, Ditto, or Journal would be good names.

Many other suggestions from column readers arrived via email. These included Lucky, Buffy, Frosty, Latte, Dusty, Caramel, and Perfect.

I’m pretty sure this kitten is male but I wanted to make sure. The last time we made the wrong call with Car-E. I’ll know for sure after the kitten's visit to the vet.

Okay, now we’re home from the vet. The vet says it’s a BOY.

The kitten’s name is BARN-E!

I’m the one who had the final say. Sorry if I didn’t choose your favorite.

Now all I have to do is to continue juggling cats. I think Barn-E will eventually give Car-E a run for his money though it will take a bit more growing to do that.

By the way, my critters and I wish everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.