Monday, April 18, 2011

Memory Monday: We Were the Brady Bunch of Cat Families

Here’s the story ... of a crazy lady ... who was bringing up two naughty little cats.
Both of them were ... spoiled rotten ... they were on their way to being feline brats.

It’s the story ... of a kindly fellow ... who was raising two furry felines on his own.
They were living ... like wild animals ... to spoil them he was prone.

Then the day came when the lady and the fellow ... met and knew that it was going to be their fate -
That this group must somehow get together ... and they sat down to appoint the fateful date.

The Crazy Bunch, the Crazy Bunch, that's the way we became the Crazy Bunch.

(OK, so that’s only 2+2, not 3+3, and the “revised” lyrics don’t scan so well - neither do the original lyrics. But the story is much the same.)

Episode 1 - In Which We Meet the Brinlee Kids

Fred - the Older Brother - was a charmer and a favorite with all.

He was something of a good-time guy.

Rabbit - the Little Sister - was  the responsible one.

They were the perfect pair

... like bookends

... like yin and yang.

(A college friend’s family found Fred, along with his mother and siblings, in their back yard when the cats were abandoned there. We ran around catching all of the kittens, and I ended up taking Fred. He was with me in my dorm rooms and apartment throughout graduate school.

Near the end of my time in Cambridge, Rabbit was given to me by friends who found they were no longer able to take care of her. She and Fred hissed at each other at first, but then became best buddies.)

Episode 2 - In Which We Meet the Koehl Kids

Eleanor - the Older But Shorter Sister - was a bit of a yenta
and was always telling everyone what to do.

This tiny cat could bend any feline or human to her will 
- or so she thought.

Cinder - the Baby Sister - seemed to be a bit of an airhead, 
but had the sweetest personality.

Her talent was stuffing herself into small spaces.

(Stu took Eleanor with him when he moved out of his college dorm room. His roommate had brought her into the room, but never took care of her and seemed to have forgotten her when it was time to move out. Cinder was given to Stu by a friend who was no longer able to take care of her.  Cinder and Eleanor hissed at each other at first, but then became best buddies.)

Episode 3 - “Together Yet Apart”

Cinder decided to jump into a packing box 
and hope Dad would take the hint.

Eleanor acted out by reverting to old habits 
and rummaging in the garbage for food.

Fred and Rabbit did not know what to do.

They tried to comfort one another.

(When I decided to quit graduate school and get a job in Northern Virginia, Stu and I planned to get married and rent a house in the area. Simple enough for two people with few possessions, but ... there were the cats.

The move from Cambridge to Northern Virginia was interesting.  Stu and friend Dave drove a moving truck which had brake issues, and the cats and I rode with friend Steve in his car. To keep the cats calm, I purchased a sedative from the veterinarian and administered it to the cats right before we left.

Perhaps it would have been better just to deal with two frightened cats. During the entire trip (a long one) they howled and yowled drunkenly: “Aaa-wooooo!” “Yow-rooooo!”

Moving into the house with the cats was no better. For weeks and weeks the cats hissed and spat, chased one another, jumping up on tables, scattering and breaking dishes, and hiding under furniture when they ended up on the losing side. At best they tried to ignore one another, with Fred and Rabbit hunkered down at one end of the house and Cinder and Eleanor cowering at the other end.)

Episode 4 - “Together at Last”

Cinder made the first move.

The kids even started to sleep near one another, 
especially when it was cold.

It was as if they had always been friends.

Finale/Jump the Shark/Teaser for Revamped Show

But there was a new challenge looming 

... even more daunting than the integration of cat families.


  1. I love it, introducing one new cat was difficult I can only imagine how much it was to introduce four. On top of the new household and the move it must have been very stressful for awhile.

  2. Loved your feline "Brady Bunch" saga!

  3. Cat lovers will love this, and I am a cat lover.

  4. How precious! What would we do without our pets? They make our lives so much better.

  5. Goodness, this was so good, I read it twice. So, what is your little kittie's name?

  6. Wonderful story! I'm a cat lover, but I think I'd still love it even if I were not.

  7. We had cats during my college days -- but then we also had children. However the story of the thirteenth kitty came from children coming home and depositing a cat (which they couldn't take care of "for just a little bit." Sometimes they did this multiple times and with multiple cats. Loved each and everyone -- cats and kids.

  8. As a cat lover, I can relate. I had two (boy) cats when my daughter decided to move back in with me after a year with her (girl) kitten. I know the exact second she went into heat (and was taken to get spayed the very next weekend LOL). Lots of hissing and spitting and running and swatting. I sort of just stayed out of the way. So ... congratulations on your new addition?

  9. Wow, Greta! This hit home because we just got a new cat last week. My fiance still has him in Louisiana, so he hasn't met his big sister yet. I need to post pics of him.

  10. Claudia - Yes, our cats certainly did not cover themselves in glory those first few weeks; but they made up for it later by being really cute.

    Dorene - Thanks!

    GrannyPam - Same here; our whole family are hopeless "cat crazy people."

    Lori - Definitely. After these four passed, we were able to hold out for about five months, and then we couldn't stand it any longer and started back on the path to multiple cats.

    Barbara - The little one is also Eleanor; she looks different in the two pictures (different view), but she was our tiniest kitty. Bossy, though.

    Debbie - I am a sucker for any animal story. If my younger daughter had her way, we would probably have at least of of many different types of animals.

  11. Carol - Thank you; glad you enjoyed it!

    Joan - Yes, the above-mentioned daughter could bring home all sorts of animals if not kept under control. Two of our later cats and a lizard in this house were her doing.

    Jenny - These are our first kitties from some years ago; we're on a whole different set, and they are all nearing "senior citizen" status. They all get along together - except when they don't.

    Jennifer - I hope you post pictures on your blog! Good luck with the introductions.

    Tonia - Thank you!

  12. Too cute...thanks for sharing. My feet were tapping to the tune of the song :)

  13. What fun! Loved your Brady Bunch Cat story : )

  14. Thanks for putting a smile on my face on a very busy, harried day!

  15. Really cute post! I enjoy your blog. I was given the "One Lovely Blog" award and want to pass it on to you. I understand you're supposed to visit my blog to pick up the award and pass it on.

    Thanks for the great information you share.


  16. Greta, awesome story! I'm jealous you have four cats!! Hubby doesn't like the two we have let alone living with four. =^)

  17. Mary - It's a bit of a trick to keep to that rhythm - the change in the second line throws me off!

    Tipper - Glad you enjoyed it!

    Michelle - Yeah, I have had a lot of those days recently - we need a break!

    Joleen - Thank you so much!

    kinfolknews - These, unfortunately, were our four cats years ago; we built up to four again, but one we adopted when he was an older cat died a couple of years ago, so we only have three right now.