There are two cats living alongside the residents at the adult family home where my parents reside. Animals are such great companions and these two felines delight not only my parents but cat loving visitors as well. If anything makes a house feel more like home, it's having a pet or two.
Mom in particular has always been a cat lady; in Aruba she had dozens of them over her 26 years on the island. At one time, I remember counting fourteen cats of all colors, shapes and sizes eating their dinner from three large plates at the back of our house. These cats rarely ventured inside our house; they roamed the yard, chased lizards, lounged in the shade under the sea grape trees and showed up regularly for meals twice a day. They all had names, crazy names and most of the time, they made Mom happy. They were a 'lean and mean' group; Aruba cats were never fat; they spent too much time moving, chasing lizards, and keeping out of the way of neighborhood dogs. When Mom and Dad knew they'd be leaving Aruba, they acquired no more new cats and let natural attrition run its course, giving the last of the cats to neighbors and others when they moved stateside. That was over 30 years ago and Mom has never had another cat since.
Imagine reaping all the benefits but none of the worries associated with having pets. These two cats bring such joy to my parents; they lounge on their beds, laps, and under the dinner table, begging for scraps of meat. They have free reign to roam the house and the grounds. No one seems to mind. "Buffy" is the long haired cat stretched out on the recliner."Panda" is the black and white cat.
"Buffy", the dominant male is now known as the "Lion King" ever since his haircut 6 weeks ago. His fur is so long that once a year he gets a professional shave in August. I've never seen a shaved cat and wish wish wish I had taken a picture of him in those early weeks after he was relieved of his long coat. By now his fur is growing in and he doesn't look quite so shocking. What he does resemble however is a miniature lion; the long hair around his neck left untouched and the tail shaved (ha!) almost to the tip with just enough plume left to make a grand statement. You'd never have known that he's also a 'lean and mean' specimen under all that hair; definitely not carrying any extra pounds this one. An Aruba cat after all.