Alana Grelyak, musician and writer, shares her downtown Chicago home with four cats named Rocky, Niles, Mrs. P, and Crepes, the latter of which is the front cat for Catinthefridge.com, a humorous blog about special needs animals. She also lives with a dog named Doodle, some sexy shrimp, and most recently, she acquired a husband named Michael. This post is all about how her love of animals started at a young age and grew to include more than one rescued feline, making her a pretty interesting person and not crazy at all!
Crazy Cat Lady? Possibly. I really prefer the term “Eccentric Animal Lover,” because my affection for animals goes beyond cats. My parents, who when I was born had two dogs and three parrots, gave me my first pet when I was two. It was a golden hamster. I named her “Lama,” with one “l.”
When Lama passed on, my father insisted that I look into the cage and see that she was dead. I cried, but it made me realize early in life that our animal friends, like anything else, aren’t with us forever, that each one is a precious little friend not be to taken for granted.
When I was 14, I sneaked a hamster into the house. I named him “Wolfie.” At 16, I was given a tiny pet rat in a shiny Christmas bag. I dubbed him “Basil,” and one of the greatest loves between a girl and a rat that history has ever known was born.
During the Basil years, my family had three parrots and one dog, and then I went out and sneaked in two more hamsters and two more rats, bringing the total to nine. And yet, I’d never had a cat until I adopted Rocky, which I did for the simple reason that my college apartment allowed cats and I couldn’t fathom living without animals.
Rocky was three months old. He immediately attached himself to me and I remain, now thirteen years later, the only human being he actively seeks out for cuddling. He has issues, like having irrepressible urges to pee on my things and an attitude that could make a nuclear missile turn around and go the other way, but I’d never trade him. The rent
was $15 for the first cat, $10 for the second, so I adopted Niles.
Niles has always been, and will always be, a lover and not a fighter, except with Rocky, with whom he fights liberally, then snuggles in the dark when no one is looking. When I’m ill, Niles wakes up at night and checks on me. When I have a headache, he settles onto my chest, purrs, and puts me to sleep, and when I awake, all is right with the world.
A year after that, a neighbor found some kittens in an alley. I took one home and named her Mrs. P. Sylvia Peabody. I love her with a fiery passion. When dating my now husband, I asked him if he wanted to join the foster program at Tree House Humane in Chicago. He had always wanted pets, but never had them growing up. It was something he missed.
After fostering for six weeks, we kept one of the kitties, now known as Crepes. She’s missing a foot but doesn’t seem to notice. She runs, jumps, plays, and even scratches her head with her stump. Her attitude astounds me, and her desire to snuggle fills me with a warm happiness that I cannot find anywhere else.
What’s the rest of my life like? Busy. I work at a music composition house, then I go to Crossfit where I lift weights and work on my handstands. I’m in the process of writing a few books. When I have time, I sing and play the piano in clubs.
I work with Crepes on our blog. I speak Italian decently and Ukrainian poorly, the latter of which I hope to fix in the coming years. I act in my husband’s films and occasionally win awards. I’m an avid reader, I own an Xbox, PS3, and a Wii. I take accordion lessons from an 88 year old man named Sam. And I recently got married.
So, again, Crazy Cat Lady? Possibly. I think my life is pretty interesting, all the more so because of the little creatures with which I share it, each one of which was adopted for a specific reason at just the right time in my life. It’s a bit crowded, but that’s ok,
because within every room, I find love.
Enjoy this highly hilarious and creative video created by Alana and her hubby Michael featuring their cats!