When You Have Eight Cats: Slice of Life #sol18 5/31

When you have eight cats

       Sometimes you lose track and think you have seven or nine.

                      Head counts are impossible. You never know if you’ve left one on the porch or if one has slipped out the back door. “Herding cats” takes on a new meaning.


When you have eight cats

            You learn to look before you step.

                        You were in the bathroom alone brushing your teeth, but somehow there’s now a cat behind your ankles, bread loaf style, settled in as if he’s always been there. You were in the kitchen alone chopping vegetables, but somehow there’s now a cat twining between your legs as you try to move to the sink. You were on the staircase alone carrying groceries, but somehow there’s now a cat reaching up to peek inside the bag.


When you have eight cats

            You are always needed for something.

                        A shoulder to look outside. A lap to sleep on. A ribbon to pull.

A can to open. A fall to catch.


When you have eight cats

            Your space becomes their space.

                        That island you bought to expand your meager kitchen counter? It belongs to Frances now. She has her little milk dish there, and not one but two cozy beds so that she never has to share. You’re still preparing meals at a cutting board sized corner by the microwave. That dining room table where you used to eat your meals? Totally conscripted by cat. Two bowls for dry food. Three plates for canned food. You’re relegated to a little TV tray in the living room.


When you have eight cats

            You’re never cold at night.

                        They curl into C’s and O’s; they combine bodies to form S’s and E’s. They nudge the covers until you wake up enough to let them in. They drape themselves over your neck, your chest, your feet. You fall asleep to the light vibration of purrs.








26 responses to “When You Have Eight Cats: Slice of Life #sol18 5/31”

  1. arjeha Avatar

    Love this. What cat owner hasn’t done the “kitty shuffle”? I never realized how heavy a cat is until one in curled up on the covers next to you in bed and you are trying to move it because you have to get out to go to the bathroom.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Isn’t it incredible how heavy they are? Even our little five pounder feels like a ton of bricks at night and it’s astonishing how hard it is to squeeze out from under a sleeping cat who doesn’t feel like waking up.

  2. Terje Avatar

    Cool structure for a fun topic.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you! It was fun to find a way to write about them.

  3. BethMooreSchool Avatar

    OMG I love this slice so much! I don’t have a single cat (just a dog and some kids) , but I just love the idea of having eight cats.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s wonderful to have eight! I am fully convinced that eight is the right number. And also that entire litters of siblings should be adopted at the same time–which is going to make future cat adoption quite interesting for us.

  4. elsie Avatar

    When you have eight cats you are blessed eight times over. I don’t have any now, but used to have two and I understand each statement. I really miss them in the winter cuddled under the covers next to me.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      They are wonderful winter warmers. We have a drafty old house and would miss the extra heat!

  5. Akilah Avatar

    That is a lot of cats. Are they all indoor cats?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      They are! Isn’t that totally nuts?

      1. Akilah Avatar

        Hahahaha omg. I thought you were going to say only, I dunno, five were. But I understand that it’s verrrrry easy to find yourself with more animals than originally planned.

  6. karpenglish Avatar

    As soon as I saw your title, I had to read your slice. My little boy is obsessed with cats, and definitely thinks that our two are not enough. In fact, he has requested that we move to a bigger house with a second floor that can be just for him and his sixteen cats. I’m going to read him your story when he comes home from school. It will make his day!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have to side with your son here. Two is definitely not enough! I thought two was good, but that was before I had four or six or eight or, for a memorable few months last summer, 12!

      1. karpenglish Avatar

        Haha! I could probably manage a few more, but my husband keeps interjecting reality and making annoying practical comments like, “We cannot afford to feed that many cats,” “What about the vet bills?” and “Where exactly do you think we can fit more cat boxes in our little house?” 😉

  7. stephaniemeier94 Avatar

    I have TWO cats and still find the “look before you step” rule challenging. Always underfoot and in your space- but as cat owners we wouldn’t have it any other way. Love it. Nice slice. Made me smile.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s amazing how underfoot they can be. But you’re right: wouldn’t have it any other way. I will be sad when summer comes and they don’t snuggle for several months.

  8. schwartzee2 Avatar

    Having one cat and a puppy is enough for my husband but I’d love eight cats! The way you described them forming letters as you sleep and especially about nudging the covers is perfectly accurate.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      They’re such a joy–and it’s so interesting to watch their dynamics. We have a couple of blanket head butters and a couple of blanket pluckers and I used to have one who would simply insert a claw in whatever flesh was readily available to signal her desire to crawl under the blankets.

  9. Melanie Meehan Avatar

    I really think this should be a picture book! I’m not a cat person, and I still appreciated the rhythm of your words and the feline love in your house!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Melanie. This was a fun slice to write–and actually very inspired by the creative way that Michelle at Literacy Learning Zone structures her lines and uses white space, so I need to give her credit too!

  10. Ashley ❤ (@AshleyLS_16) Avatar

    I have two cats, and I understood every word of this. My two love to take up odd sleeping arrangements and have taken over random pieces of furniture. My husband and I were just commenting on the fact that our female cat sleeps on us at night and it feels like a ton of bricks you have to move out of the way. I love this format as well!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, there are certain chairs in our house that just belong to the cats. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that they let me sleep in my bed at night, because I’m pretty sure they think it’s “their” bed.

  11. carwilc Avatar

    Holy cow! I can’t even imagine this! But I’m so glad you adopted all of those cute babies!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      They bring so much joy and happiness and laughter to my life.

  12. mmatticek Avatar

    We just got a cat in October and are loving it! I never considered myself a “Cat person”, but probably because I didn’t grow up with them. They make a wonderful pet and are much more independent than dogs are! I can’t imagine having 8 though! What a happy home it sounds like you have made!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      They are the most fascinating animals. Their independence is one thing I love about them. They are very much their own beings, absolute equals in the family partnership in their minds. Glad you are enjoying your first cat experience!

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