Me in a Cat World

HAVANA TIMES – For my age I have had a pretty substantial history with cat raising; this got me wondering about why I love cats so much? I haven’t found the answer yet, but if you find it when you see your furry friend let me know so I can get to know you.

I think I’ve liked cats ever since I used to watch the Tom and Jerry conflicts on Cuban television programming. I’m talking about the original 1950’s series, which had a pilot episode called Puss gets the boot, an episode I recently saw on the internet.

Back to the subject of the cats I have raised, my first cat was named Mican, I think his name came from a cartoon series, but I can’t remember the name of it. What I can remember is that it is was about anthropomorphic animals.

Mican was a black cat, part of the pet litter of a family friend who decided to give us one of the kittens. I have loved that cat ever since and I think it is thanks to Mican that I have so much love for all-black cats. I seem to remember that Mican had some white hairs in his armpits, but to me he was totally black.

Me and Mican

It was very hard for me when I had to leave Cuba and leave my firstborn in the country. In the end we left him at the house of the person who gave us Mican. In 2012, I went to Cuba for a visit and I remember we went to visit him but Mican was no longer in that house.

In Nicaragua, in 2009 or 2010 I had two other cats, their names were Black and Gray, I think it is very obvious the inspiration for those names, although Black was not completely black, he had white on the lower part, from the chest to the stomach, with a pair of paws painted white.

Black was a gentle cat, very well behaved; while Grey, his brother, was calm, but liked to tease Black a lot.

Gray at an old Age

After Black and Gray came Black the second. At that time I was not original with names at all.

It wasn’t until I got my fifth cat, that I started to focus more on parenting. My fifth cat was a female, I got her in February 2018. At that time, we were also adopting a dog around 5 or 6 months old that we named Kypros. That dog who for such a young age was already a giant who never grew in his mental age.

When I had Taiga she was the spoiled of the house, she was a very small kitten, the smallest I had had the opportunity to raise. I never let Taiga alone at any time, she was always on my head or on my shoulders. Especially because she was very scared of Kypros, and Kypros was very curious about that little miniature thing.

Taiga

Since I was with Taiga all the time, I had to teach her to go to the bathroom. When I used to get up, I would take her to a place where she could relieve herself, the first few times I had to dig a hole for her, then she would do it on her own.

As she grew older she lost her fear of Kypros and overnight she was playing with him.

Every time she misbehaved, I would go up to her and hit her on the head with my finger, always trying not to hit her hard. So she learned the gesture I made before hitting her as a way of knowing that what she is doing is going to have consequences, which helped her avoid the bad moment.

As time went by Taiga grew up and became a full-grown adult. Then she was pregnant and left us with four other cats to raise. From that moment on we started to fill up with cats.

Taiga and her Kittens

I didn’t give my grandchildren that much attention, that was Taiga’s job. Thanks to that I was able to learn a few other things about cats, like that there is a hierarchy when dealing with large groups, plus cats are quite territorial.

Suddenly Taiga would growl at me every time I did something she didn’t like, and it was something that helped me a lot to know how to respect her boundaries. As my grandchildren grew up, they made me a great-grandfather and eventually Taiga was no longer at the top of the hierarchy, my great-grandchildren started to take her out of the house and Taiga was only near one of the humans (I guess for them we are at the top of the hierarchy).

When I migrated to Panama, I was quite lonely until August 2023 when my mom and I decided to look into adopting a cat, personally I wanted a black cat, but being that picky was quite complicated, we ended up adopting a pair of rescued sibling kittens, which had skin problems when we adopted them.

We named the gray cat Zenith and the black cat Kai.

Zenith and Kai

Those kittens helped us more than we helped them, we needed some company from those beautiful animals. Nowadays every time they do something I don’t like I growl at them, I no longer resort to violence, and they understand it quite well, although Zenith sometimes gets rebellious and doesn’t respect the limit I set for her. In times like that, I carry her and leave her locked in the bathroom for about 4 or 5 minutes. When I take her out of the bathroom, I don’t give her any attention or look at her, I give her a little cold shoulder.

Once she is out and some time has passed I give her all the attention she asks for, so she has learned to respect the limits. It is important that when they do something bad not to call them by name because they can associate their name with a bad experience. What I do is growl at them and if they don’t pay attention to me I come closer. If they just look at me, that’s more than enough.

We currently have three cats, an orange cat named Tina joined the family, my mom and I like to joke that Tina is an ex-convict because Tina was the cat of a friend of my mom’s who is currently in prison.

Tina at one point was filled with some kind of tar and that had left him very serious. For that reason, we took him in to take care of him and try to watch over his recovery. Currently Tina is doing well, sometimes you can tell he comes from the street because he tries to look for food in the garbage, but as time has passed he has learned that he will not find anything good to eat there.

From left to right Tina, Zenith and Kai.

I would like to know if you readers have any tips you would like to share or any experiences you have had with your furry friends, whether they are cats or not.  If so leave a comment.

Read more from Axel Saenz diary here.

One thought on “Me in a Cat World

  • Axel, Interesting what you say about not using the cat’s name when disciplining. We don’t find that to be true with our Juanito and Rosita. Also I read that when one tries to end a bad habit you may only succeed in teaching the cat to not do it when you are present; not out of maliciousness just literal mindedness. Of course cats don’t read the books.

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