Happy World Cat Day! A Celebration of Oskar, Onion, and Lula, the Best Worst Cats

First, we adopted Oskar in 2005.

Click on the images to see them at a larger or true size. 1) This is Oskar's general appearance. He has no sense of humour. 2) He seeks comfort during times of higher anxiety by burying his face in my arms or chest, and it's darling. 3) One of our old apartments had a half wall over which he would adopt this sloth pose and look hopelessly depressed. It was his favourite activity. 4) This is Oskar when he was about 1.5 years old. Thank god he's good looking.

We adopted Oskar in September 2005 because he seemed like the sweetest, quietest, and most sedate kitten at the animal rescue. We were oh so very wrong about his character.

It turned out that he was at the beginning of a serious upper respiratory virus that nearly killed him two weeks later, and once he was feeling healthy again, his intense and vocal anxiety took over and then never quit. He is anxious, his only form of vocal communication is long and consistent whining, and he has triggers from past abuse that can result in short bursts of violence, which he feels very badly about. He once scratched my mother's nose and tore her shirt for saying he was cute in a lilting voice while also touching him. He hid around the corner and shuffled his feet for an hour, not sure if we'd take him back. We did, of course, and my mother's nose suffered no permanent damage.

We love him, comfort him, and have learned how to sidestep his triggers, and Oskar has learned that we are safe people for him. As much as I make him sound terrible, he is deeply affectionate and is an excellent lap cat as long as you don't use a sing-song voice, look him in the eye, or let him focus his attention on your face for too long.

Then, we adopted Onion in 2006.

Click on the images to see them at a larger or true size. 1) Onion has the fiercest whiskers. 2) This is how Onion can generally be found. Unlike Oskar, Onion spends the majority of his time at great ease with both himself and the space he inhabits. 3) This is Onion's love face. He and I are kind of bonded. It's gross. 4) No matter what crazy hours I work, he's with me, half asleep, ready to help me go for community naps if I look tired.

To be honest, the only reason we were looking for a second cat is because Oskar had become unmanageable violence-wise, and I had read that adding a second cat can help a single male cat mellow the hell out. I'm so happy it worked, because otherwise Oskar would have been a failed adoption, and I don't know that another family could have handled his emotional issues.

But this is about Onion, my snuggly wuggly baby boo boyfriend. We are so gross sometimes. When Aidan and I kiss, Onion has to get in there somehow. When Aidan and I lie down at night, Onion crawls in between us and lays his head on my shoulder with a paw gripped around my arm. If I yawn in the afternoon, he pesters me into nap time, and he insists that we spoon.

His jealously makes me think we're a little overly bonded. I tell him that he has to live another forty years so we can be old together.

He is also the only cat I've ever known who has learned to read human facial expressions, and it can make interactions with him kind of creepy. He'll look at you hard, searching your eyes and mouth for clues. It's intense, especially when it happens in tandem with his hypo-eyes-mind-control stare, which he employs to make us do just about anything he wants. We find ourselves turning on the bathroom taps for him without having been aware that we were even walking down the hall.

Oh my creepy widdle snuggle buggins control freak. You're probably just making me think this, but I would have you no other way.

Lastly, we took in Lula in 2008.

Click on the images to see them at a larger or true size. 1) She actually lay around long enough for me to photograph her! Miracle of miracles. 2) A soft breeze from through an open window is her all-time favourite thing. 3) This is Lula demanding something of me, which is how she usually looks at me. I'm supposed to a. let her touch my belly, b. make a tent for her out of blankets, or c. give her my food. Other than that, I'm pretty useless. 4) This is what Lula usually looks like when she kneads my belly. She paws me while watching Aidan like he's her belly-kneading porn. I feel so used.

And then we have Lula. We weren't planning to get a third cat, but then I stole her from a person who wasn't taking care of her when she was on the brink of starving to death. She felt absolutely zero gratitude for my kindness and decided that Aidan was the best and only human for her. Over the next six or more years, she complained every time I touched her or looked at her wrong, which was apparently the only way I could do things in her eyes. Over the last couple of years, though, she has warmed up to me, and will even come for cuddles if Aidan's preoccupied.

During those first six years, she also tried to be the meanest little beast alive, but she's tiny and far too cute to pull it off. She'd park herself in the hallway with her brow furrowed into this tight little M and hit every living thing that walked by. It was adorable. I miss her meanness.

I love her stupid amounts, though, if only because I've had to work so damn hard through ages and ages of secret treats and physical entreaties to please love me goddammit. I've put a lot of work into this 2.5 pound little monster, and for that, I get hit less than I used to. How sweet.

Happy World Cat Day everybody! May your kitties treat you better than mine treat me.