It’s officially Autumn and it’s the season when my kitty matches the environment. I call her my October-coloured cat. I think it’s a good time to introduce her officially. Up till now I have only casually mentioned her. With Tara gone to college, Miss Racecar is my only housemate.
When this kitty was a kitten, her name was Cookie. Tara named her after their favourite thing. In fact, Tara’s first word was cookie! Even before “Ma” or “Da,” Tara said “cook-” which was pretty close and I knew what it meant.
When Cookie got older she turned out to be a persistently rambunctious kitty, and was always racing around, galloping through the house or through the yard. She sprints up trees and leaps from trees to rooftops, and runs along the tops of fences. Tara said once about the cat, “She’s like a race car: either zooming or stopped.” And the name stuck.
Racecar is a barn cat, so we don’t know her exact birthday, but it was in 2006. That makes her a zooming, youthful, nine year old cat. I think she’s slowing a little, and prefers a nap in front of the woodstove to pretty much anything else.
I was worried about her move out here to the country, and she *was* scared at first. She climbed inside a hole in the fabric underneath the couch, and stayed there for days. When she was brave enough to climb out of the couch, she refused to leave the room. By the end of the first week, she would go outside onto the deck, but would run back into the house at the first frightening movement or sound.
My worries are gone now. She appears completely comfortable at the new place. She tolerates the chickens (who have an inexplicable interest in her, despite the predator vs. prey relationship they should be aware of), climbs the apple trees, and stalks through the grass in the farthest reaches of the property. Though Racecar has never been much of a hunter, she has always been a player. She is deeply committed to recreation, and would love for the rodents to play too. So far, she has brought us two moles and three mice. She tosses them around until they are spent. Then she gets bored and goes off to do something else.
Racecar doesn’t eat what she hunts. In fact, she’s the pickiest eater I’ve seen. She will not eat tuna, or drink milk. She refuses fancy gourmet cat foods and will not touch cat food from a can. Racecar will accept only cheap, dry cat food. The cheapest generic brand is the only thing that will do. If I try to put something healthy into her dish, she will go hungry for days. However, she does eat ice cream. Tara has taught her to eat right off the spoon.
She’s my comfort now that Tara is gone. Racecar loves to prowl in the dark, till way past my bedtime. I leave the sliding glass door open just wide enough for her to fit through. Even though I am usually asleep when she comes in and jumps onto the bed to curl into a ball next to me, I feel even more at peace when I know she’s safely home. I guess a mom gets into the habit of worrying about somebody in the house.
I heard recently on the news that yet another study has been done to see if cats actually have affection for their humans. The conclusion is that cats do not love their people, but use them for warmth and food. Well, I don’t mind. I love my Racecar. As long as she’ll have me. 🙂
21 thoughts on “Meet Racecar”
After a life time spent with cats I don’t hold with that particular ‘scientific conclusion’. I have seen enough scientific facts change course in my lifetime to know that a theory masquerading as a fact can change in a heartbeat. My observation and experience based on 60 years of daily interactions informs me that cats have likes and dislikes and that this includes their human companions. I have known a cat who crossed a valley to escape their current human to move in with me. And when that human came to reclaim him, the cat buried his head into my shoulder and clung on for dear life. I have known cats who pined for their humans when they went away – one who waited daily at the street corner where the human was last seen. I live with a cat currently who has a particular loud and melodic song he sings only for me and only when we have a cuddle. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my drift 🙂 Being independent creatures cats do not behave on command but respond to the humans in their lives according to both their [the cats] temperament and the humans. I’m convinced of this. I also have lived with cats who showed obvious affection for dogs – but that is another story.
I admire your Racecar very much. She is very pretty and for someone of advancing years she is still very active and sporty! I guess her diet is proving scientifically that cheap generic food, like McDonald’s isn’t a killer for everyone 🙂
It’s good you still have someone to cuddle with at night – being a person with grown children and of the grandchildless persuasion I only have my boys to spoil and care for – they are a great boon to me 🙂
Thank you Pauline, for coming to the felines’ defense! I can’t help but think that cats develop a relationship with their humans, and when I heard about the study, I wondered about the cats and humans that were studied. And… who was studying them. I appreciate your stories and you must have had some very loving times spent with cats over the years. It’s the independence of cats that I love the most. I feel like I must earn their affection, and I like it that way.
I also had the same thought about junk food – especially since she likes ice cream. Well, it’s working for her, isn’t it?
Thank you Crystal – I got all prickly at those scientific statements didn’t I 🙂 I tend to wonder the same things you did about the thing – I am always suspicious when scientists take something in isolation and then pronounce upon it, like it is the whole story. You can’t beat living with and actual observation of whatever you are studying – isolation isn’t real life. Oh, look at me, there I go, ranting off again 🙂
Orlando spent the first year of Siddy’s life living on top of the refrigerator. Eventually he decided the puppy wasn’t so bad and descended to the ground again – to tease and to play and to claim my lap back. It was a long year, but he needed that amount of time ……….
And re the junk food – I want to know how come it works for her and not for us? Now there is something worth studying!!
Great story Crystal. Thanks for introducing us to Cookie-Racecar. No reason why she shouldn’t have two names. You may recall our Liberian cat Rasputin who was originally Brunhilda until we turned him over. –Curt
Yes! I do recall that story, now that you remind me. I know that several of the bloggers I read talk about their animals, so I decided it was time for Cookie-Racecar to shine. I do sometimes call her Cookie still, though her name has been mostly Racecar for about 6 years.
Wonder if your daughter is thinking, “Darn, I’ve been replaced by a cat.” 🙂 –Curt
Ha ha. Possibly. I have told Tara that I am reliant on the cat being here. 🙂
‘Naughty torties’ are delightful…
Are they possibly acting the way I wish to sometimes? Yes, I believe so. 😉 I talk to her like she knows English. “Listen, you freeloader. All you have done today is nap. When are you going to start pulling your weight around here?” But she just blinks at me and goes back to sleep.
there’s something special about tortoiseshell cats…
Cats and dogs are very different but both have wonderful attributes. As a mother to both, I have preferred dogs but we had a cat for my daughter that was raised by our dog so she thought she was one too. We walked her on a leash and yard trained her. She was only allowed in ours and the landladies next door. She adored the dog and my daughter. I agree with you. It depends on who raises the animal as to how they respond to us. My dog LOVED ice cream. We would sometimes stop at McDonald’s and order a small vanilla cone. She would eat the whole thing. And it never made her sick. I love the video of Racecar playing with the mouse. Shatzie, my dog used to be bring in moles, thankfully dead moles. Yuck. I’m glad you have racecar.I do worry about your door staying open. Just the mom in me. 😦
I get the mom feelings. Thanks for worrying about me. So far my biggest danger is neighbor children bursting in unannounced and uninvited. I’m trying to keep my schedule a mystery, so the locals won’t figure out the best time to come rob me.
It is so cute that you actually bought an ice cream cone for your dog. I love that!
I wasn’t sure the video would be distasteful or entertaining. Watching a cat play has always been funny for me. I sent this video to Tara at college, and they wrote back, “Awwww, Racecar’s teaching a mouse to cartwheel.” So that’s where I got the phrase.
Leave it to the kids to put things in proper perspective. 🙂
You will be missing Tara. Glad you have Racecar
Yes! She is a massively snuggly love-hungry cat, too. Much more of a cuddler than Tara, so I’m well taken care of.
I am not what you would call a ‘cat person’ but I do like cats. Something about them not really needing me is off-putting. But your cat is adorable! I love the colors–very fall-like. It’s hard to believe she is 9, she seems pretty spry for eating cheap cat food. She may not really need you, but she is definitely needed. So glad you guys have each other.
She is certainly needed! And I have to agree with Maureen: this cat goes through every motion of expressing attachment and affection, so I will allow myself to believe she loves me too.
My mother had a cat many years ago that would only eat generic cheap dry cat food. Apparently I have found another one. 🙂
I think cats totally love their people- I have a 16 ur old cat, Willow, who will come RUNNING if I ever stub my toe or am crying just to give me a nose kiss – animals are the BEST!! 🙂 glad you have such a good friend!
Willow is 16 years old? Wow, that is an old cat. The oldest one I have had was Manny, a Maine Coon who was 11 when he finally went on walkabout and didn’t come home. Animals are the best. I’m glad you have your friend too.
Yup! 16 and has been my snuggle buddy that entire time – I even snuck her into the dorms with me when I was going to school – haha! 🙂 She was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year so we had a bit of a scare, but now I give her an insulin shot 2x a day and she’s much better! So she will be around for a while longer hopefully!