Simply 6 Minutes: The Joys Of Long-Haired Cats

One time, Mary and I saw a stray cat walking around the neighborhood, took her in, and later discovered that our new arrival was pregnant. Judy, a brown-pointed tabby, had five kittens: a gray tabby, an orange tabby, a tortoiseshell, and two medium haired calicos: Tuffy, a muted calico, and Li’l Linda, a bright-colored calico.

(Sadly, I can’t seem to find pictures of them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.)

The care of a long- or medium-hair cat requires that the cat be brushed at least once a day, sometimes more, or their hair gets matted and tangled and, if it gets very bad, needs to be shaved off. Which is fine, if you can get the cat to sit still long enough to be brushed. Which, unfortunately, we weren’t able to do with Tuffy and Linda. They were born apparently believing that humans had cooties so badly that the mere touch of a person would infect them with whatever they had, which frequently was love and concern, and any time we approached either of them they took off in a hurry. It became almost a game: if they were sitting somewhere and we needed the seat, we’d walk up to them saying "I’m gonna give you attention!" You could almost see the fear in their eyes a split second before they took off for under the bed…

On a couple of occasions, they got so badly matted that we had to take them to the vet and have them "buzzed" like the cat above. It was usually preceded by a cat rodeo where we would chase the cat around the house until she ran into the carrier, after which we’d close the door and take the little darling "bye-bye car."

They never did quite get the hang of being friendly with us, and we weren’t disposed toward forcing ourselves on them. But we loved them anyway and miss them now that they’re gone.

Christine Bialczak runs Simply 6 Minutes.

23 thoughts on “Simply 6 Minutes: The Joys Of Long-Haired Cats

  1. Oh, John, I remember my mother trying to get our cat in a carrier to go to the vet. There was only one time though! And she ended up grabbing it, stuffing it head first into a pillowcase. I can’t remember who held it but we all got scratched up that day! Thanks for participating!

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  2. Love your story of the cats! They do become family. All our cats over the years have loved to be brushed, and would even beg for it. Even now I can brush several of the outside cats that come around. We did have to get our long-haired kitty shaved a time or two though. 🙂

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  3. All our indoor cats over the last 44 years have been shorthairs, but a few years ago a very ratty-looking longhair showed up in our yard, looking frightened and hungry. We put food out for him, because it was winter and I can’t stand to see anything starve, not even a ratty-looking cat with fur so matted he looked like he had dreadlocks. We had four indoor cats at the time and were not in the market for a fifth — not that Scruffy (as we named him) would have come indoors even if we had let him. He was terrified of us, but he kept coming back and eating the food we put out for him, and very slowly, over the course of several months, we managed to tame him. By summer he was letting us pet him, and we found out he LOVES being brushed. He even let me cut off the worst mats in his fur, and once the hair grew back in the bald spots, he turned out to be a very pretty cat. We had him neutered and vaccinated, and now he lives very happily on our porch.

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    1. We’ve had a few ferals that came to us, and we’d feed them. They were happy for the food, but terrified of us. We learned to live with it. One guy, an old orange tabby, would cry at the back door, but when we’d open it, he’d go dashing down the stairs until we went back in. Then he felt comfortable eating. Cats are strange…

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      1. Most of our cats have been strays that either showed up on our doorstep or that my kids brought home. (My kids were all champions when it came to rescuing strays.) Considering how many cats we’ve had over the years, it’s kind of surprising that Scruffy is our first longhair. I prefer the shorthairs for ease of maintenance, but I have to admit that a longhair, when well cared for, can be beautiful.

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    1. The animals are as big a part of the family as the parents and kids. Losing a pet is a crushing experience. We had a cat who was over 20, and when we finally put him down I just couldn’t stop crying. He had lived with us his entire life and was such a big part of ours. I think I cried more for him than I did for my mother. I told my aunt (Mom’s sister) that, and she was shocked and upset that I said that. Then, when she had to put her dog down, she called me and apologized. She understood what we went through. It’s kind of weird in a way…

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