Guess whose 21st birthday it is?!
That’s riiiiight. Little miss Winnie kitty turns the big 2-1 this month! I don’t know when exactly her birthday is, but I do know that I had her for her first Christmas, and she was old enough to leave her mom then (6-8 weeks?), which means she was born around this time. So we are celebrating birthday month. Fancy Feast all day err’day (not quite, but that would be Winnie’s dream).
21 is a big deal for anyone. 21 for a cat is a HUGE deal and pretty much unheard of. There are differing opinions on cat to human years, but in human years Winnie is about 100-140 years old. You do not often hear of cats making it to this age, so it’s pretty incredible and I think of Winnie as my little miracle kitty. So in honour of her 21st birthday, here are 21 facts about Winnie.
21. Winnie was parented by two stray cats and was born under my friend Emily’s neighbour’s air conditioner. It happened on a day that could have been just like this, 21 years ago.
20. Winnie lived in the barn in Emily’s backyard with her mom and her brothers and sisters, until she was old enough to leave her mother and we could adopt her. We adopted Winnie and also her brother Tigger.
That is sadly the only picture I can find of Tigger. I know there are more around somewhere! Unfortunately, Tigger is gone (I will get to that) but apparently Winnie does still have a surviving sister who lives with a friend of Emily’s parents! Barn cats man, they are sturdy minxes.
19. Winnie does not really like children. You can see in the above picture that she is keeping a watchful eye on Eric… He harassed the pants off her, and she did not like it. I don’t know if it is specifically because of Eric that she doesn’t like kids…but probably. He certainly did not change her mind about them. Winnie was also the unfortunate victim of Eric and a bottle of my mom’s Chanel No 5. That was a fun moment for Winnie.
18. Winnie LIVES to snuggle. She has always been like this. As soon as we brought Winnie and Tigger home I made them sleep in my bed with me, but Tigger would never stay. Winnie would though. Winnie would stay with me in my arms every night until I fell asleep, and when I woke up I would find her by my feet. She still sleeps with me every night.
She prefers to be under the covers. So snuggly.
17. For the first 10 years or so of Winnie’s life, we lived in the middle of nowhere, across the street from a lake and basically in a forest. In her youth Winnie was an outdoor kitty. She was allowed to freely roam around outside at her leisure. Although she had this freedom, she stayed on our property and only dared to go into the very edge of the forest. Very unfortunately, Tigger disappeared when he was about 10 years old, and we can only assume that an animal got him. But that would not happen with Winnie. Not only did she practice safety first, but it was clear that you do not mess with her. You may notice that Winnie has a little cut in her ear.
That is a V for Victory. Some other animal tried to mess her up and she showed them who’s boss and came out unscathed, minus her badass battle scar.
16. Winnie was an excellent mouser in her day. So many times I would walk outside and find a dead mouse “present” on the step of our front porch.
15. Aside from being a fabulous mouser and an excellent guard cat and defender, she is the sweetest little kitty you will ever meet. She has the most beautiful soul in the world. And I don’t just mean cat soul, I mean all souls. She is the nicest. It makes me sad that she is spayed and will never be a mom with kittens of her own, because she would be the BEST mom.
She has also never bit a person and will not bite you even if you stick your finger in her mouth (I have tried). She will refuse. She is friendly to everyone (except kids, she’ll just hide), and she’ll snuggle with anyone.
14. At the lake house, we had a neighbour who lived behind us whose name was also Winnie, coincidentally. So my mom would want Winnie to come in for dinner and she would be at the back door yelling “WINNIEEEEEEEEE!!!! Come on, hurry up! Winnieeeeee! Are you hungies? Are you hungies? WINNIEEEEE?!” Not awkward for our neighbour Winnie at all I’m sure…
13. Winnie does not like dogs. She has never liked dogs, and I don’t think she ever will. She tolerated Bolt for exactly one evening, and then she went back to avoiding him.
My mom was all “well, how do you think Winnie has lived for so long? She knows to stay away from the dogs.” Too true. Smart kitty.
12. She doesn’t like other cats either. Until she gets used to them. When I lived with my old boyfriend we had another cat named Dexter that we introduced to Winnie when he was a kitten, and I think she thought she was his mom because they actually became best friends.
I lost custody of Dexter after the breakup when we sold our house and I moved into a tiny junior one bedroom condo downtown Toronto (well, technically midtown) and couldn’t have two cats. I was very sad to lose Dexy, but I know he has a good life now. I wonder if Winnie ever misses him.
She probably doesn’t miss his harassment.
11. Winnie has been with me through everything since I was about 10. She was my kitty all through high school, all through post secondary, has spent time with all my friends and everyone I have ever dated (well, dated seriously, and Evan is her favourite). She has been with me through my parents break up, many, many moves, and many jobs. The Wins has always been the steady constant in my life, for two thirds of my life. She is the pet of my life.
10. Winnie has always been a small cat.
However, she did go through a stage where she put on some weight (too much Fancy Feast), and her body got quite a lot larger. Her head, however, did not change in size. This earned Winnie the nickname “Beetlejuice” because:
9. Winnie is a true sunshine kitty and she loves to be outside. She can’t roam freely like she could in her younger years, but she loves to be outside on the patio and feel the sunshine on her fur.
8. For the most part Winnie is very low key and does not get into trouble. But occasionally she will have a destructive moment. She has an issue with plants, she cannot let them go uneaten. And apparently she has an issue with potato bags…
And she has a very discerning taste in cat toys. She likes tinfoil balls, foam balls, balls on string, and that’s about it. She likes balls.
Fake mice though? No.
7. Winnie’s destructive moments tend to coincide with the moments that she REALLY. WANTS. FANCY FEAST. and is on a hunt for it.
She absolutely LOVES Fancy Feast and will do anything for it. Imitation Fancy Feast? Forget it. Winnie only likes the real deal. She will not even look at Finicky Cat or those fancy Meow Mix gourmet toppables. She is on a special dry food for her kidney disease and she is supposed to have the corresponding wet food to accompany this, but she really doesn’t like it. She only wants Fancy Feast, and she’s 21 years old so if she wants to eat crap, that’s fine. She can do whatever the hell she wants. She’s earned it. She also likes ham. And cheese, yogurt, and chips.
6. We had to stop giving her Fancy Feast in the morning because she started waking up earlier and earlier and meowing for it. It got to the point where she would wake up at 5am and start meowing in our bedroom and would not shut up until she got her Fancy Feast.
So now she gets the Fancy Feast every day at dinner time and the morning meowing has stopped.
5. Winnie loves, loves loves loves, to be brushed. On the ottoman. Always the ottoman. And if you are not going to brush her, that’s fine, she gets things done.
4. Aside from when Winnie was diagnosed with kidney disease (bad times in the litter box, and outside of the litter box, led to this diagnosis, and it is manageable with her special food), Winnie has only been sick enough to require a visit to the vet one other time that I can remember. Again, barn cats. They sturdy.
3. I mentioned this in my Nana vs. My Cat: A Comparison post, but Winnie has the most positive attitude. Again, this is probably why she has lived for so long and is still so spry and full of energy. Winnie doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She lives for the smallest things. Like her alpine scratcher (we have to get her a new one, she loves it!)
2. Winnie is very vocal and meows a lot. Some would say constantly. Evan and I think this is hilarious/cute and it does not annoy us (unless it is happening at 5am for Fancy Feast, then yes, it does).
I could go on forever about how amazing Winnie has been over the years. She is a one-of-a-kind kitty and I am so lucky to have had her in my life for as long as I have. I can’t imagine my life without her and I know it’s not possible, but part of me thinks that she will live forever because she is just fueled by love.
If you would like to send Winnie a gift she will accept Fancy Feast. And ham.