Friday, October 7, 2011

Adventures in Kitty Adoptions, Day 1

My 9-year-old daughter is an animal lover. Many people claim that, but I doubt that they love every kind of animal. My daughter does. I mean, she was mad when I ran over the squirrel as I wrote about in my previous post. Her favorite animal is a snake. She most definitely loves every animal. She is a strange mixture of irony, however. She loves all animals and gets upset if I run over a squirrel, but one of her favorite video games is Cabela's Big Game Hunter. It's very odd to see this little curly-headed animal lover blowing away deer with extreme prejudice. Though she claims she would like to hunt when she is older, I believe with a real gun in her hand, she would not be so quick to pull the trigger when Bambi's dad is on the other end.

I do not claim to be an animal lover. I love certain TYPES of animals. Squirrels, no; dogs, yes; snakes, no; cats, yes; and so on and so forth. However, in my years of pet ownership, I became jaded. I have had 10 cats and 6 dogs pass through my homes. I think of myself as more of a cat person. A couple of the dogs I had were only in my possession briefly, and of those remaining, I only had a strong bond with one of them. As for the cats, after I had 3 die of leukemia, I was heart-broken and didn't want to have a pet I was close to any more. I allowed the kids to keep a stray outside, but was unwilling to let another into my heart.

Two years ago, when my ex-husband and I divorced, I moved into a home with the kids, and a neighborhood cat showed up. At first, I thought he had been left behind by the previous tenants because he had no qualms about coming right in. I eventually learned that he belonged to the people across the street, but he roamed around at will. Sometimes, I would walk through the house and pass Jude as he sauntered along, despite the fact that the doors were all tightly shut and locked. He would find one open window and make himself at home. He never waited for an invitation. I'd sit at the computer and he would jump in my lap and lay there, allowing me to pet him. It was then that I realized how much I had missed having a cat.

My husband had just adopted his border collie when we came along and he wasn't in a hurry to bring in any more pets. Though he had been raised with cats and loved them, he felt we had enough going on in our home and family that we didn't need any cats added to the mix. Eventually he began to think it might be nice to have a puddy tat around, so we began talking about the possibility. I asked for a kitty for my birthday this year and my husband agreed. His mom (a cat lover) bought me a self-cleaning litter box, kitty toys, kitty treats, etc. for my birthday. The plan originally had been for my husband and his mom to go and pick out the kitty for me, but it was agreed by all that I should pick out my own kitty friend. And so the search began....

We started with a shelter near our house, Kansas City Animal Shelter. My husband was asking that I consider adopting an orange tabby, his favorite. I said that I didn't care what it looked like as long as it was a lap cat. We mentioned orange tabbies and they took us to two candidates, Hi-C and Buddy. They were HUGE! Hi-C was very lovable and purring and Buddy was hilarious, laying on his back staring at us with no intention of getting up from his comfy nap position. But, my husband didn't want a kitty quite that big. He said, "I don't want to have to move that thing if I want to sit in my chair!" But, I thought he was a cute fat kitty and probably would have taken Hi-C home, except for the fact that he would never have fit in the cat carrier.

Stop two was PetSmart. We had seen a cat there that we liked a few weeks prior, but we were getting ready to go out of town to our family reunion camping trip, so we felt we shouldn't adopt at that time. When we arrived at PetSmart, there were only 3 cats there and one was already adopted. The other two wouldn't come out of the corner to meet us. I'm sure they would be lovely cats, but it's hard to tell when they don't respond to you.

The next shelter we went to was Independence Animal Control/Shelter. My husband found a little kitten that he liked that was really friendly, but I didn't want a kitten. I found one that I liked that my husband aquiesced to. He was listed as part Bengal, but was a stray and they had just gotten him. When we petted him, we felt a lump. We asked about his health and were told he was so new that he hadn't seen the vet yet. The lady at the front desk went to check it out and thanked us for alerting them because she found an open sore in his skin. They said I could call the next day to check on him after he'd seen the vet.

The next day, we went to the Greater Kansas City Humane Society. The volunteer wanted to show us a cat named Van that she thought would be a good match for us. When we came in the room, I tried to pet Van and pick him up and he scratched my face. Not a good first impression! I looked around and was taken by two cats. One was a black cat and he kept trying to get our attention. He stood on posts and cat beds and reached out his paw to touch us and he jumped in Scott's wheelchair to get his attention. His name was Mercury. But, I was also drawn to a Maine Coon named Stella. She was reaching her paw out to one of the volunteers and looked like she was going to fling herself into the girl's arms. I started petting her and when she decided she enjoyed it, I picked her up. Scott held her too and she snuggled down into both our arms. She slightly twisted so that part of her was laying on her back, which is odd since most cats do not expose their bellies unless they trust you. And she latched onto my shirt with her claws as though she didn't want me to put her down. We filled out an application for her and were told that we would probably hear from someone in 2 days.

I decided not to call back about the other cat since we seemed to have found our match. So, the search ended and we waited. My birthday was the next day and I was a bit disappointed that I didn't have my kitty yet, but excited at the thought of getting her the following day. I was planning to change her name to Bella, possibly. There was even some discussion about also taking Mercury home. The next day, we waited impatiently by the phone. With only 2 hours remaining until the shelter closed, I called them. However, I got voicemail and left a message. The following day, the shelter was closed. The day after that, I called and left another message. Eventually someone called me back. I was told that someone had applied for and been approved for Stella before me. I'm sure the volunteers didn't know this but it would have been nice to know before I waited 4 days for this cat. I asked about Mercury and was told that he too had been adopted.

So, the search renewed. The day was almost over and Scott had to work the next day, so it seemed I would have to wait 2 more days. I was deflated, but I got on and perused. I found 3 kitties that sounded perfect for us, friendly lap cats. One was at a shelter called Wayside Waifs, but they wouldn't be open for 2 days. The other two were at Daviess County Humane Society. I had no idea where this was. I found out it was an hour and a half away. I emailed both and found that all three were still available. The lady from Daviess County said that they often transport kitties to Liberty, which is about 20-30 minutes away from us. Scott wanted to see those, so we made arrangements to meet. And so, yesterday, we brought home Butterball and Smidgen. We are not 100% sure that we are keeping both. Scott never wanted two cats, but it was hard to tell which we wanted so we brought them both home to see. I foresee us all being attached to both and not able to let either go. They are brothers, tiger-striped tabbies. On the website, it said they were born in late June, but they are much bigger than a 3 month old kitten would be, I think. The lady said they were less than a year old. We are going to change their names, but we aren't decided on what yet. We need to do it soon, though, because I keep stumbling over their names.

The kitties had never known anything but their foster mom's house, so this is a big transition for them. First, an hour and a half car ride took them away from their home. Then, they have this new home and new people to get used to. We haven't even introduced our border collie Jesse yet! Another transition was that their foster mom uses shredded newspaper in the litter box, so they have never known kitty litter. We decided that since the litter box and food dishes were going to be in the garage, we would start them off in the garage and let them calm down and get used to things before we let them into the main house. We put down the carriers and let them just breathe for a few minutes without all the jiggling. Then we opened up the crate doors and sat back and watched. After a couple of minutes, Smidgen crept out and went immediately into his brother's carrier. Poor Butterball! His carrier was much smaller and he ended up with his brother on TOP of him! After a while, I took the top off the carrier and tried to pick up Butterball. Smidgen ran and hid under Scott's workbench. Butterball allowed us to hold him and pet him, but wasn't too sure about it. When I picked Smidgen up, he scratched me a little in his attempt to get away. I dug him out of the workbench and tried to block it so he couldn't get under again. They both ended up back in the bigger carrier and didn't budge for hours and later, I found Butterball on top of Smidgen's head, forcing his nose in the corner. Paybacks for earlier, I suppose.

I was a little worried about how scared they are, but I googled it and found that it was common for cats to be afraid when adjusting to a new home. I put on a radio in the garage to get them used to some noise and voices and also to help soothe them with music.

The kids were introduced to them one at a time, quietly. They were so surprised to find that there were TWO kitties in the carrier instead of one.

Since both our moms are interested in how their "grandcats" are doing, I decided to blog about the new fur babies to keep those interested updated. Tune in next time!

No comments: