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Cats Among Us

We share our house with 2 cats. We don't own them because a) they are cats, and b) they have a cat door so they could just leave any time they wanted. We adopted both of these cats - one from Craigslist, and one we found injured in the backyard. The Craigslist cat is named Gracie because her former owner didn't think that she was very graceful. She is orange and white, fat from lack of exercize in her former owner's tiny appartment, and not what one could call stealthy. She kinds of crashes through the underbrush when she is outside, and her coloration makes her visible from a block away. She is also very chatty. She starts talking from the moment that she comes in the cat door. Meow, meow, meow. Gracie is a neat freak, and her fur is always perfectly clean and soft. She is also very proper. She doesn't think that it is good manors to just jump on people, she does not care for snow at all, and sits with her paws crossed in a very lady-like way.

Our other cat is George. We named him George bacause we already had a Gracie, and if you have a Gracie you have to have a George. Anyway, George was kind of the neighborhood stray. He never let you get too near. Once, before we adopted him, he chased Gracie into the house, through the cat door, at 3 in the morning. There was a huge yowling fight, and then Gracie chased him back out. I thought a racoon had come in the house. I ran down to the cat door to find Gracie on one side of the door and George on the other. On the day that I adopted George I went out into the backyard and he was lying in my garden. He didn't run away, which was different, and then I noticed that his ear was bloody. He had been fighting and had developed an abcess. I packed him off to the vet and got him patched up, and fixed, too, while they were at it. George had to stay inside for 2 weeks and wear a cone around his neck. Poor guy. Well, when the cone came off and the cat door was reopened, he left, but he kept coming back. He would be gone for a couple of days, and then reappear, but now he has decided that he likes out house pretty well and is home every day. George is the opposite of Gracie. He is a hunting cat. He is orange and white, too, but better at sneaking. I always hear Gracie walking but not George. He is as silent as the night. He can leap flat footed onto my desk right in front of me and I don't hear him coming. Somehow I have managed not to have a heart attack. He has also figured out where and how to walk in the backyard so he doesn't set off the motion light. I have seen him go in and out without setting it off, while Gracie always does. George is also a killer. Gracie will occasionaly bring a bird in the house, but they are almost always still alive and uninjured. They really have to be the weakest of the species for Gracie to catch them, so she is doing Darwin's work. George likes to catch mice and moles. Sometimes he leaves me their entrails, or their snouts, or their whole bodies. Sometimes he brings them inside to torture them and kills them slowly at 1:30 in the morning. Did you know that moles can scream? If he sees Gracie playing with a live bird, the bird is dead 2 seconds later. There is an orange and white blur and it's over. George has learned to clean himself - I think from watching Gracie - but he used to be kind of dirty and stinky. Now he is very clean, and even tries to groom people if he feels that their hair isn't clean enough. If you wear styling gel he will probably try to clean it out of your hair, but you won't like it because he uses his teeth and yanks on your hair. He's always grabbing Alexander's hair if Alex needs a bath. George has no problem with jumping up in someone's lap and sprawling out in an undignified way. Gracie looks at him with a disapproving expression when he does this. He also leaps through the snow like a dog and will stay outside long after we have gotten cold and gone in. He can also run up a tree faster than a squirel. If he sees me outside pulling weeds he comes over and bites at the weeds like he is helping.

The cats are always trying to grab each other's territory. Periodically they ambush each other - leaping off of something to pounce on the other's head. When Gracie does this to George he just runs away, but when George gets Gracie she yowls like she is on fire. Very dramatic. Lately they have decided that George is not allowed on my bed - only Gracie. Gracie has decided that just sleeping on the bed is not enough. She has to sleep right next to my head and use my face for a pillow. When she does that she purrs like crazy. Needless to say, I can't really sleep like that, but she thinks it is great. I really like sharing my house with these two characters.

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