I am a cat person. Cats who generally don’t like people seem to like me. I can spot an excellent cat at thirty paces and I can pick the kittens that will make the best lap kitties every. time. This is not bragging, it’s just truth acknowledgment.

Aravis. Super Awesome. Lived to 19. Secret to longevity: look both ways before crossing the street. True Story.

***The secret with cats is to let them pick you.

There was this local pet store that took in kitty litters from the local shelter, had them checked over by a vet and given their initial rounds of shots and then sold them. They had a room about 10′ by 10′ covered with kitty climbing areas from floor to ceiling. I had been wanting a kitten for a while and went in on a whim and sat down in the middle of the floor. I wanted an orange tabby that was solid orange with eyes to match (not picky at all).

Of course, most of the kittens immediately bounded over to me. I spent some time petting and cooing and picking a kitty up here and there. I had my eye on a particular orange kitty and had held him and petted him,

Biggus Sithicus

but he kept popping away only to sneak back over and attack a nearby kitten. He let me hold him, but only in the most aggrieved sort of way.

After a while, I noticed that this little, scrawny black thing was curled up on my leg and pressing his face into my stomach. I petted him and picked him up and talked to him. I turned him onto his back and rubbed his tummy then I set him on the floor and played with other kitties. Invariably he ended up right back on me; asleep. I decided he was the keeper because he so obviously just wanted to be with me.

Well, that was 12 and a half years ago, and he is no longer little or scrawny. Although, he is still definitely black. In fact, he’s huge. He’s bound to be, at least partly, Maine Coon. His name is Sith, although it has morphed into Biggus Sithicus because Sith isn’t very fitting for him anymore…unless Hutt’s were known to be Sith, too?

***Best. Cat. Ever.

Sebo. 19 years old.

It was spring and I was sixteen. My friend, Raye Donnovan, had a farm cat (that’s a cat that works for a living and isn’t a pet) that had kittens. The litters of cats on this farm always had one kitten that looked siamese, and this litter was no different. There was one, and I fell in love with his little face with the sealed shut eyes, who looked siamese. Seal point. I named him Sebastian (after the lead singer of Skid Row, not the composer (WHAT?!? I was 16!)).

A few weeks later I was spending the night at Raye’s house and it was raining. There was Sebastian, plastered to the back glass door wanting in with the peoples so, so badly. Raye assured me her dad would have kittens if I let Sebastian inside the house. I assured Raye that I would keep hold of him. Raye wasn’t so convinced that Sebastian would stay where I wanted him once inside, but he just curled up in my lap and purred loudly.

The next morning I called my dad and asked if I could have another cat. He consented and Sebastian moved to my house where my dad promptly renamed him Bingo. Only my dad and occasionally my brothers called him Bingo, but eventually he would earn the nickname Sebo as kind of a  hybrid of Sebastian and Bingo.

Sebastian: wow, cameras DO add 10 lbs.

Sebastian is super cuddly and will let you hold him any ole’ which way you want (er, well, he did until he got OLD and arthritis ridden). He talks. A lot. (Well, not so much anymore due to the deafness). But he used to have conversations with me. I could just talk and he would respond. He was the awesome uncle kitty who never had kids of his own, but loved to hang out with yours. That rule applies to human kids, kittens, puppies…not so much with the snakes or rodent pets. He tried to eat those.

Hubs and I rescued a dog right after we were married. He was a cute terrier-ish type mutt of a puppy and only as big as Sebastian. Sebo let Grendel (that’s the dog) carry him around in his mouth. He let Grendel roll him around on the floor and Sebastian didn’t do that whole cat thing of attacking you when he’s done playing. He regretted letting Grendel man-handle him as Grendel got bigger, though. Grendel made a habit of just laying on Sebastian. That, Sebastian didn’t care for.

***Cats will always pick the lap of the one person in the room who wants to have absolutely nothing to do with them.

My maternal grandparents were visiting. Grandad is notoriously NOT an animal person, and it’s only notorious because one of my mom’s older sisters WAS so very DEVOUTLY an animal person. Anyway.

Grandad was sitting in my living room and Sith, of course, decided Grandad needed to pay him some attention. So Sith jumped up into Grandad’s lap. Grandad began petting Sith as I made sputtering noises about how Grandad should just push Sith down. Grandad smiled, continuing to pet Sith from tail to ears over and over, and said, “It’s okay, if he doesn’t like it, he’ll get down.” I just shook my head.

Sith? He didn’t appreciate being petted in the wrong direction so he stood up in Grandad’s lap turned to face the opposite direction and laid back down again. Thus, making Grandad’s repeated tail to head stroke, a head to tail one.

***Oh, right. ALL cats DON’T like me. Especially ones inhabited by demons.

I have a friend, Shanny, who had a cat that was part bobcat. True Story. She was beautiful. She was bigger than average. She was MEAN. And SCARY. She stalked the front door and would attack any who weren’t her people whenever they walked in the door. (Heck, she may have attacked them, too.) She hid under things and randomly growled that wild bobcat thing she could do and she would lash out for no discernible reason.

Never have I been so scared of a cat. And I slept in that house. On the living room floor.

I woke up in the middle of the night with that mean ass cat standing on my chest, growling into my face. I don’t remember what happened next, but I walked away unscathed so my petrified imitation of a rock must’ve fooled her.

Her name was Isis. Moral of the story? Never name your pets after deities. Or maybe, bobcats, even diluted ones, make scary pets.