Ok, so I will do the best I can to explain the love for cats. I am not the only one here in the favela that loves cats. I have met many here who love them, both women and men!
I had to think a little about this. Because I am not sure what to say. I think most people who know me, know and understand my love for cats.
I started when I was about 7. My brother had found a small orange kitten. When he brought him home, I could see my mother was not very happy. She didn't want more complications in our busy lives. But eventually she gave in and we kept the cat. Although my brother found "Orange", he was more "my" cat. Orange would follow me everywhere when I was home. He slept at my feet and would paw my face in the morning to wake me up for school. Orange was a comforter. When I was sad or sick, he would be by my side. From the point on I became fascinated with cats. I studied about them on my own. And I grew a love for them.
My life growing up was very difficult and there was much sadness. Orange helped me to focus on other things. I did ok in school but excelled at Sport. As an adult, my life changed a lot for the better because some positive people outside my family. I have lived in many situations, from renting a room in a house to having my own place. Most of the time when I lived with other people, there were cats in the house. The cats always liked me, so of course I liked them. I decided to adopt a cat when I was 27 years old. I was living with other people but they were open to having a cat. I adopted a 4 year old male cat. He was an awesome cool cat. He died 7 years later of cancer. But I think I gave him a good life. My life went on not really wanting to think about a cat.
January 2010 as I walk through this narrow alleyway in Rocinha, I hear a high pitched meow coming from above. I stopped, turned, looked around but I couldn't find the origin of the sound. I started to walk again and heard it again. I turned around and underneath the opening in this low rooftop, I could see a little tuxedo furball staring at me. I went to the kitten who looked about 2 months old and put out my hand to let him smell me. He approached and proceeded to rub his cheeks all over me. Anytime I would pass that alleyway, I would see him. So, I spoke with a lady in the area and she told me that he was homeless but that she and few neighbors would feed him and he lived in an opening in the roof so he was protected from the weather. I asked the lady if I could have him because he seemed to really like me. She told me if I wanted him to just take him. I told her I would see if my situation was ok to have a cat and then I would let her know. I came back a week later to catch him and bring him to my house. The first 5 days he would not meow or leave my side. Even sleeping on the side of the pillow tucked into my neck. He was a big cuddler and loved anyone who came to visit. I named him "Fuzzy"
Here's what Fuzzy looked like as a kitten about 4 months old, he loves being held and cuddled!
Here is Fuzzy now at almost 4 years old.
Fuzzy spends most of his time, sleeping, eating, or relaxing. His favorite time is to hang out in the Dj School while the students are spinning and you can catch him on top of the dj equipment like the foto below! He really is a sweet cat. Every now and then he will play.
Joy is the second cat that acquired by accident. It was not expected! I had just finshed working and I was at the bottom of the favela. I saw this boy about 8 years old holding this cat and his mother telling him that he could not have it. She told the boy that he was not old enough to care for the kitten. I am guessing that the kitten was about 4 months old. She was a calico, multi colored fur ball. The mother called out to me if I wanted the cat and I told her I would take it and find her a home. I had done this with previous cats before so I was not expecting to keep her. I took her home and Fuzzy found a new friend.
Joy is very quiet, rarely meows, where as Fuzzy is very talkative. Joy likes to sleep by my hip or at my feet. Every now and then she will sleep by my head. This is also determined by where the other cats are on the bed. She is reserved and likes petting but doesn't like to be picked up. She likes to play and chase mosquitos and flies and she likes to take care and clean Fuzzy and cuddle with him. She was named by a tourist who came to visit our Dj school.
Joy as a 5 month old kitten.
Joy has a BIG fascination with the Dj Equipment. She likes to think she is "Scratching".
Joy and Fuzzy love to be together. Its like Fuzzy is her protector.
Joao came to me about 8 months ago. I think he was one month when I found him wandering in the street and I was afraid a car would run him over. The pet store across the street was closed so I had no choice to bring him home. He fit in so well and the other cats liked him, so he's now part of the family. He is the most silly and entertaining cat. He started out snow white but as he has grown he is now what looks like a siamese mix. Joao loves to play and he was named by Dembore, our Dj school teacher. He told me he looked like a "Joao", so the name stuck. He loves the Dj school and the students. He loves catnip and wrestling with Joy. He loves to chase bubbles that we make out of soap. He is a very active cat but when he is tired he likes to lie across my shoulders or my stomach if Fuzzy isn't there. He thinks he is a big hunter and likes to chase and kill bugs that enter the apartment.
Joao at 5 weeks old. Such a tiny skinny boy.
This is Joao at 3 months showing his Dj skills. You can see his siamese markings developing.
Joao at 7 months old.. loves to pose!
I love my little cat family and my friends and family often come over now to see what's going on with them. I have a cousin who visits once a week just to come and play with the cats. And Dembore loves to post photos of them on his instgram account. I think Dembore has copied me because when I first met him, he did not have any cats and then he told me about a cat he saved but it died and he was sad about this. Soon after he found a tiny orange and white cat and took him in. His name is Caramelo. About 6 months ago he added to his cat family and now has a kitten of about 7 months old, his name is Chico.
Here are his two "children" below. Dembore's Cats.
Chico's favorite resting spot, the bathroom sink.
Caramelo posing for a photo.