Category: Crazy Cat Lady

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock! Slick's Story

Contemporary Tortoise shell cat painting by BZTAT
“Slick” -acrylic painting by BZTAT

I have always loved tortoise shell cats. When Slick found her way into my life 17 years ago, that love found fulfillment.

She was the “baby” back then. Now she is the matriarch in the family. She has renal disease, but is mostly asymptomatic, and she is in pretty good shape for her age.

Tortoise shell cat on bed
Recent photo of Slick, the Queen of Comfort

I wrote about Slick’s story back in 2009. I don’t think I can improve upon it, so I thought I would share what I wrote back then. What follows is a reprint from a post that I wrote on 6/27/09.

Slick came into my life in the summer of 1995. A small oil spill caused by a pipeline rupture had filled the Tuscarawas River near my home with black oily goo. I volunteered with the wildlife rescue for the spill, as many ducks and geese were harmed by the oil that invaded their habitat. Along with the wildlife, the rangers also brought in a calico kitten who had been romping along the riverbed.

I already had two cats at the time, Beezie (read about Beezie here) and Bub. I had no intentions of taking in any more cats. But there was something about this little kitten…The rangers thought that she had oil on her because of the black patches in her fur, but that turned out to be her natural markings. She did have an injured paw, though. I was concerned that she would not be saved if they took her to the Humane Society. The local HS was a fine organization, but was overwhelmed, and not likely to treat an injured animal.

I made the mistake of putting my hand in the cage that held the kitten. She purred and loved on me so sweetly,  there was no way this cat was going to the Humane Society. The rangers gladly allowed me to adopt her. She was named Slick after the oil spill, and she has been with me ever since.

A minor surgery fixed her paw, and Slick quickly took over my home. She and Bub became friends quickly, and they were best buds until Bub went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2004. Beezie never quite warmed up to her, but she tolerated her, much the same way that Slick tolerates Brewskie today.

Two cats in rocking chair Slick and her best pal Bub

Two cats in rocking chair

Slick tormenting Beezie

Slick became an indoor-only cat at my home. She was pretty wild at first, and obviously missed climbing trees. She loved to climb up on high things like the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets and curtain rods. She has always been a silly character, doing kooky things. She settled down somewhat after a couple of years, but she continues to enjoy high places. She still gets the zoomies now and then, and she is still kooky. She loves the nip and gets drunk as a skunk whenever she partakes.

Tortoise shell cat on cabinetsSlick pretending the cabinets are a tree

Slick has always been a great cuddler, and her short tortoise shell colored fur is very soft. Brewskie gets very jealous when she and I cuddle.

I always considered Slick to be my baby. She was younger than Beezie and Bub, and she always just acted younger. Things changed, however, when Beezie went to the Rainbow Bridge in 2003 and Bub in 2004. She and I were both lost without our other pals. She especially missed Bub, with whom she was particularly close.

I knew that Slick would need another companion, as I was often gone for most of the day. A friend directed me to a family that had newly born kittens, and I brought home Noah. Noah proved to be a bit too aggressive for Slick, so I brought home Brewskie to redirect him a bit. Now Brewskie is best buds with Noah in much the same way that Slick and Bub had been. My mother’s cat named “Who” joined us in March 2008 when Mom had to go into a nursing home.

Tortoise shell cat on bedSlick and Brewskie

Although I got the others to keep her company, Slick has never really forgiven me for bringing these monsters into her home! She has always treated them with disdain. Brewskie, knowing that I always protect Slick when he or one of the others picks on her, gets especially jealous when I cuddle with her. He seems to think that I favor her.

I love all my cats dearly. But the Brew maybe right. I do sometimes show Slick special attention, because of our history and because she is so much older than the others. Can you blame me?

And that is the story of Slick.

Tortoise shell cat on bed
Tortie Toes

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock! Okey – the cat who started a movement

Okey's Promise white cat named Okey
“Okey” artwork by Bztat

I was already a Crazy Cat Lady before Okey found me.

As much as I love cats, I have always been pretty staunch in sticking to my boundaries with taking in new pets. I had four cats when Okey showed up, which was already one over my limit. I had only stretched my boundaries for the fourth (Who) because my mother’s cat needed a home when she went into a nursing home.

I really did not need another cat.

To be truthful, I tried to ignore Okey’s presence at first. She appeared in the parking lot of my building one day, which was not highly unusual. I live in a downtown area where occasional transient feral cats travel by.

But Okey would not be ignored.

I don’t think she wanted to be noticed, but she was bright white in color, making a strong contrast to the drab colors of the parking lot.

And she was not transient. Unlike other cats I have seen in the area, she stuck around. I eventually discovered that she had made herself a bed under the air conditioning unit of the building behind mine.

Okey was not streetwise either, which was different from other cats I have seen around my building. It was pretty clear that she had been “dumped” as she was not very good at staying out of traffic and out of view.

After she nearly was crushed beneath the wheels of my truck twice, I decided to rescue her.

I set a trap near her “bed” beneath the AC unit. It took a couple of days, but she eventually went in the trap and was no longer a parking lot kitty. I named her Okey after the Okey Law Firm building where she was rescued.

When she came inside, I realized that she was not feral. She was open to human contact, and she loved having her head rubbed. She was very timid, though, and seemed fearful that I would hurt her.

I expected that I would try to find Okey a home other than mine, but when I took her in to be spayed, I realized that I had fallen in love with this little cat. Getting back into my truck alone while she was at the vet, a Dixie Chicks song on the radio brought me to tears.

“How long do you want to be loved? Is forever enough cuz I’m never going to give you up.”

It was clear to me at that point that Okey had found a home.

It also became clear to me that Okey had likely been abused before she found me. Her behavior had all the classic signs – desiring affection but fearing it; shrinking away at sudden movements; constant anxiety and hypervigilance; etc.

Knowing that child abuse and domestic violence often are present when animal abuse occurs, I was haunted by the knowledge that Okey’s previous home may have had other victims.

Many people had followed Okey’s story on Facebook, as I had shared with my friends about the newest creature in my life. In fact, a number of them had contributed funds for her vet care.

I knew that her story was powerful, and that others wanted to hear it.

Soon the Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause project was born.

Okey’s Promise is a public art initiative to raise awareness about the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

Most people are unaware of those connections. It is my mission, and my little cat’s legacy to make sure that EVERYONE becomes aware. My hope is that awareness will lead to action that will make ours a safer world for animals and for children and other vulnerable persons.

I can create great artworks that move people and open their eyes and hearts. I need help, though. I cannot do it alone.

I need the support of others to make it happen. Would you like to be one of Okey’s Promise Keepers?

You can read about my latest project and fund raising campaign here. Please share with others who you think may be interested,

More than everything, please help me share Okey’s story, so that we can eradicate animal abuse and it’s connected abuse to humans.

If doing that is crazy, who wants to be sane?

 The video below was made to celebrate Okey’s Gotcha Day on October 30, 2011. it chronicles her journey from being a parking lot kitty to taking her place among my fabulous felines to being a worldwide sensation.

Please contact me if you would like to share Okey’s story and info about the new project on your blog or other media. I look forward to Okey’s story being told by many!

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock! The Brew and Me

Artist BZTAT and her cat Brewskie Butt
BZTAT and her cat Brewskie Butt

Every year, the Pets Add Life Campaign (PAL) asks me (and a bunch of other bloggers) to help them share about the joys and benefits of pet ownership. PAL’s mission is to encourage pet adoption and responsible pet ownership, and their method is very positive – share real life stories about how pets can enhance your life.

I usually let my cat Brewskie Butt (AKA the Brew) handle the writing for the campaign on his blog Just Meowin’, but since I am writing about being a Crazy Cat Lady here this week, I thought the PAL concept fit the theme. I decided to write about the campaign myself in this space.

I am sure that the Brew will add his thoughts in future posts as well. The Brew ALWAYS has his own thoughts, and he is ALWAYS one to share them.

Artist BZTAT's Five Cats
BZTAT’s Five Cats

Brewskie sure adds life in my home, as he is the constant stirrer-upper.

Whatever I or any of my 4 other cats are up to, Brewskie seems to find a way to be smack dab in the middle of it. He can be quite obnoxious about it, in fact.

I cannot imagine my life without him, though, nor can I imagine living without any of my 5 cats.

I truthfully do not recommend having 5 unless you are financially and physically able to keep up with the care and demands of 5 animals. Three would be a better number for me, but, you know, things happen.

I do recommend having more than one pet, though. Having multiple pets allows you to have that very special connection that pets offer many times over. It always amazes me how I relate to each of my cats in a unique way that is special to that animal alone.

Having multiple pets also allows the animals to socialize with each other, which is good for them. It is nice for them to have buddies when you are not around.

All of my cats were rescued in some form or fashion. I will try to share each cat’s rescue story this week in different blog posts.

Brewskie was rescued from the side of a country road when he was a kitten by a school teacher. He found his way to my home through a friend whose niece was in the teacher’s class.

Brewskie Butt cat on the beach with a beer painting by BZTAT
“Beach Brew” painting by BZTAT

As I was contemplating a name for him the first night we met, I looked over and saw him sampling my freshly poured beer on the counter.

I am a firm believer that cats earn their names.

Now, you may think that I am crazy for having 5 cats. You may think I am crazy for allowing my cat Brewskie Butt to have his own blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

So be it. It is a way of life that has nourishes me since I was a child, and I think that there are many worse ways to live your life.

My cats provide me with love, companionship, constant humor, and as a pet artist, constant creative inspiration.

Crazy Cat Ladies Rock and their Pets Add Life.

Nuff said.

(Make sure to follow Pets Add Life on Facebook, and share photos of your beloved pets on their page!)

This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership. What a gig, huh?