It’s past 8 in the morning. I’ve no plans for the day, and yet somehow, I am already awake. I look to my right and realize that our black cat, aptly named Harry, is standing beside me, meowing loudly.

“Get up, human! Get up and feed me. I’m hungry!” her meows say, while forcibly nudging me with her furry head. But instead of getting up, I ignore her and go back to sleep, because I know that she lies.

All the cats have already been fed. She’s just being greedy (and needy) again.

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‘Mom, she’s bullying me!’
‘Shhhh! Don’t be a tattle-“tail”!’

(See what I did there? ;p)

Believe it or not, I wasn’t really into cats before. I wasn’t even into the idea of having pets, for that matter.

*

My oldest memory of being a pet owner was taking care of 2 dogs named Aga & Kevin in my toddler years. I have a photograph with one of them, although I’ve forgotten which dog it was. Sadly, they both didn’t survive. There was even a rumor started by my mom that one of the dogs got eaten by some neighbors, because she (allegedly) found a dog skull by our front door.

Moving on from that, when I was in second grade, I tried taking care of a chick that was spray-painted bright orange. Painted chicks were all the rage back then, and since almost every kid in our school bought one, I decided to follow suit. I regret to say that the chick didn’t last a week in my care. I think it was the fall from the ledge on our door that did it in.

Three pet deaths did not discourage me from taking a pet in yet again, this time in the form of an electric blue fighter fish, which I kept in a small fish bowl. I was in the sixth grade by then and so I thought that I’d be a more responsible pet parent. The poor fish, just like the chick, expired within a week.

It was around this time that I (kind of) realized that I wasn’t meant to take care of any living thing. Heck, if I had owned a Tamagotchi back then, then it probably would’ve died too.

However, I’d like to mention though that when I was younger, I’d always wanted to have kids. Now, not so much.

*

I open my eyes again, and to my surprise, Harry is still in the room.

This cat never gives up until she gets what she wants. Among our ten indoor cats (yeah, that’s right—indoor, because there are more cats outside) she’s the smartest. She’s the only one who can open the refrigerator door by herself, and then run off with the contents, much to the annoyance of the humans in the house. A rule of thumb we’ve developed is to always put a chair in front of the refrigerator door, to keep prying paws away from the food.

Harry’s persistence seems to have been inherited by her offspring. Cheshire, the only male, has found a way to manipulate me into giving him food: by constantly occupying the chair beside my usual chair at the dining table, and then staring at me with his big lovely green eyes.

Lily, the older female, has made it her mission to stalk me everywhere I go. She even sleeps right outside our bedroom door, in hopes of scoring a meal. And the youngest, Puzzle, who got her name from the different colored patches on her body, which we thought looked like puzzle pieces, loves acting like a little cat overlord.

If cats were still revered as gods to this day, then Puzzle would definitely be in the pantheon, as a prima donna goddess. She dislikes being touched or carried, but also hates it when she isn’t the center of attention. Sigh.

Aside from these four, my husband and I are also parents to an angry ginger tomcat named Ron, who currently prefers the company of strays, or himself. He had just turned fourteen cat years when he decided to run away. Teenagers, am I right?

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Our handsome Ronald, ginger wizard-cat of Novaliches

(By the way, if you still haven’t caught on to the Harry Potter references, may J.K. Rowling have mercy on your Muggle soul.)

We also have an adopted kitten named Simba, who looks exactly like Disney’s Simba, if that Simba had been a domestic cat and not a lion cub. Even though he’s only been with us for more than a month, he sure doesn’t act like it.

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Simba, our little monarch

The little prick also lives up to his kingly name. He never does his business in the kitty litter, unless he is escorted to it.

Geez. Such entitlement.

*

I have to admit, our cats can be annoying as hell at times, like an irritating sibling that you want to silence for all eternity; but I’ve already become too attached to them that I can’t imagine my life now as being something else. Sometimes, I would rather prefer their company than be around people.

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Cheddar (L) and Lucifer (R), our ‘miracle’ babies

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two wonderful years ever since I welcomed two little kittens (that I named Ron and Harry) into my life. However, not everyone was on board with my idea. My mom was against my decision to take in the cats, citing ‘unbearable smells’ as her main reason. I tried coercing her into agreeing by letting my partner talk her into it, but to no avail.

My dad, on the other hand, was more lenient, stating that he’ll allow it, as long as I took full responsibility of them. And it was quite a challenge, mind you. The main goal at the time was to not let them die, so of course, I had to make sure they were well-fed, well-groomed, and well, basically, well-cared for. That included cleaning out their poop and teaching them how to use a kitty litter.

I succeeded in doing so, and for that I am proud, because I had to start from scratch.

And speaking of scratch, I got a lot of those in the process. But as they say, no pain, no gain.

*

Writing this piece helped me realize how much I’ve built my world around my felines in such a short span of time. I say it is a blessing, because without them, I wouldn’t have found my purpose & passion for my bare existence: to become a cat photographer. I imagine life would be a breeze if that were to become a reality.

Or maybe not.

As I write this, I am once again attacked in the room by four hungry, wailing, clawing cats. They go for my dinner, which sits unattended on my lap table.

Oh dear Bast, not this again.

FIN