Bug Patrol and Stampedes: Lots of Cats

Bug Patrol and Cat Stampedes: Life with Lots of Cats

We have a lot of cats. More than is usual in a multi-cat household, but less than "crazy cat lady" numbers. We love having lots of cats, but it does change your life. We have made adjustments to accommodate them; most of these changes are really to make our life easier, since trying to change a cat's nature is pretty futile.
We don't have any carpets in our house. We tried it once. Our cats thanked us profusely for the great new horizontal scratching pad, and assured us they'd have it shredded in a jiffy. There are no curtains in our house, we only use micro blinds, and even those they are bending in a few places. No fabric upholstery on any vertical surfaces. In fact the only fabric upholstery we have is our dining room chairs. Sofas are all leather; the cats aren't interested in scratching their claws on them, so the only damage they suffer is accidental.
I often wish houses were designed with pets in mind. Why can't bathrooms be designed with a place for the litter box? In our house, the space under the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms — where the foot inset is — isn't sealed off. Nearly every kitten we've had has discovered this great hiding place, under the cabinet; a place we can't get them out of! Whoever designed those didn't have cats.
We bought a Roomba® robot vacuum. Works great on cat hair, and the cats don't seem to mind it at all. Not like the canister vacuum, which they stayed terrified of even after years of use. Best of all, the cats don't think I'm chasing them around with the vacuum cleaner anymore!
One of the great things about having cats roaming the house is that you don't have to worry about bugs much. I consider bug patrol part of the cats' job. Find them, kill them, eat them, preferably without me having to even see the bug. We once were awakened in the middle of the night by a strange crunching noise. Turning on the light we discovered our calico happily munching down a four inch long green grasshopper. Good kitty! Hey, how did that get into the upstairs bedroom, in the middle of the night, with the door closed?
Yes, cats stampede. Pretty much like cattle do. If one gets scared, by a loud noise or something, and bolts out of the room, everyone else nearby, or even not nearby, will also bolt out of the room in terror. It can be quite impressive.
And, with lots of cats, you can do "theme" naming. That's what we did. Only problem is, we ran out of girl names. That's how you end up with a female cat named Stanley.
Margaret Gates is the founder the Feline Nutrition Foundation.
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