For the Pleasure of His Company

Source

I Asked my Husband to Come Along.

I’ve been questioning my sanity a couple times a day for the past few weeks.

Twelve weeks ago I started looking in earnest to get myself a sweet little Pomeranian from a rescue group here in the Phoenix area. I went to meet a couple sweet little Poms at one of the rescue organizations which doubles as a doggie daycare during the daytime. I let my husband come along. He would say I dragged him along. Bob is not an animal lover. I knew it was risky bringing him along because he doesn’t give out good vibes when he is around an animal for the first time. If the owner of the business or the workers were to think he would be unkind to a Pomeranian, they would not let me adopt one. Bob would not ever hurt an animal but he just doesn’t understand why anyone would want an animal sharing space in their household.

If there are any impressionable young women reading this; take heed. If you love animals and are unmarried and thinking of one day getting married, be sure you check out your fiancé’s reaction to animals – left, front and center. Do not simply ask him if he likes animals and then believe him when he says he does. Don’t even believe your intended’s demonstrative affection toward some niece’s dog or cat while visiting your relatives briefly. Find a longer, better test and run the test a few times before you check off this prerequisite on your list of Necessary Traits when choosing your life’s partner.


Emerald and Niah loved each other.

Emerald, years ago, trying to get Niah to play with her.  2008
Emerald, years ago, trying to get Niah to play with her. 2008 | Source
Niah in Upcountry Maui.
Niah in Upcountry Maui. | Source

Niah has gone Over the Rainbow.

I really thought I was ready to get another dog. I knew I missed having a dog. I'm going to have two dogs eventually, maybe more, but I planned on starting with one.

I had had a dog. Her name was Niah which means dolphin in one of the Polynesian languages. She was a nervous little white Chihuahua. Our daughter, Priscilla, named the dog Niah because the dog ran and bounced along the grass like a dolphin skimming the water when she was allowed a short run outside the Maui Humane Society’s building. Priscilla brought her home from the Maui Humane Society in 2007 and gave her to me.

Niah was a sweet little companion for me and a good buddy for my cat, Emerald. They really loved playing with one another and ambushing each other. I had had Niah two years when one morning I put on her leash and harness to go for our usual walk around the neighborhood. I never took her to the beach or the dog park unless we were with Priscilla and her dogs. Niah was slightly behind me and on-leash when an unsocialized Pit Bull came out of nowhere and locked on. We went in circles. No one came to help for at least four minutes even though the whole neighborhood could hear me screaming. Finally a very brave young man came running out of his house and grabbed the attacking dog by the collar. I had to have Niah euthanized an hour later. It was a few months after losing Niah that I came upon Hubpages. I'm pretty sure the first Hub I wrote here at Hubpages was about this. I needed to write, to share and to heal. I described the incident. I don’t have the hub up anymore. I think I had it up for at least a year and I thank any of you people who responded with kindness and understanding.

I do know there are many good Pit Bulls out there. I have met a few.

Our cat Emerald, quite sure everything is really hers.

Emerald Kitty Kitty.
Emerald Kitty Kitty.

Five years later, I have now decided I am ready for another dog.

Twelve weeks ago, after meeting the dogs here at the nearby Pomeranian rescue, I decided I had better start out by just fostering a dog rather than adopting one. I had thought I was ready to walk a dog again, but my heart said otherwise. We live in a gated community so one would think there wouldn't be any lost dogs wandering around. Still, my heart rate goes up just picturing me walking a dog – a dog who depends on me for his or her safety. I drove back to the Pom rescue office on another day and asked if I could fill out their foster application. I knew they would require a visit to our home and an interview with Bob and I before approving our application. The young girl at the counter reiterated this information. The next day I received an email from the owner of the business stating they no longer have a foster program. Their daily postings coming through to my Facebook account seemed to indicate otherwise, but apparently they had just recently stopped operating the foster program.

I decided I would look at the nearest Animal Control Center for a Pomeranian even though it is so heartbreaking to go in there and see those hundreds of dogs without homes, some with only days or a week left to live. The nearest Animal Control Center happens to be the one where I had met my beautiful little Pom, Shadow, in 2004. That’s another story and I don’t want to take up too much of your time.

So I started checking the Animal Control Center’s website every day for any new intakes of Pomeranians or Pom mixes. They do have a foster program in addition to an adoption program. I went there in person once a week. Six and one-half weeks ago I ventured into the Kitties and Puppies wing of the building where I really had no business going because I didn't want a puppy. There was kennel after kennel of cute little kittens and cute puppies. There were also full-grown cats there.


Brought him Home

Princely -- just an hour after we brought him home from the Animal Control Center.
Princely -- just an hour after we brought him home from the Animal Control Center.

And then I saw him.

And then I saw him. There before me was a male, long-haired tan domestic cat. I didn’t know these particulars at that moment. All I knew was he had the saddest eyes I’d ever seen in an animal. He didn’t look scared. He looked like he was giving up on life. He was lying parallel to the front of his cage looking directly at the side of his cage. He wouldn’t look at me. I stood there and spoke to him quietly until he finally turned his head. He looked at me briefly and then looked away. But something made him look back quickly and he gazed into my eyes as though – just for a moment – he felt some hope. But, no. He knew he had been mistaken. He looked away again.

I went to the front office and stood in a line-up until I could speak with one of the animal control center’s clerks. I gave the kennel number to the young lady at the counter. She looked it up on her computer. This number pulled up the cat’s name, information and his photo. Someone had given him a really dumb name. The young woman remembered meeting this cat. She had been the one who processed his information and took his photo when a man brought him in. The man said he was a friend of the cat’s owner. The owner had died. The man had tried for a week to find someone to take the cat, but none of the deceased’s friends or family wanted a cat. The man also told the clerk that this cat is very gentle and is really good around children, cats and dogs. Also, he said, the cat had been declawed. I really hate that. I think that is so cruel.


Princely -- So Matted until we shaved him.

I went back to the Animal Control Center again and again.

I went home and told myself I would only ‘think’ about getting this cat – no hurry, no pressure. I tossed and turned that night, arguing with myself that probably every cat that is taken into the Animal Control Center looks that sad and lonely. Can I save them all? No. So why save one? The next morning I had a beautiful poem arrive in front of my eyes – serendipity perhaps – titled 'I Saved a Human Today'. It is by Janine Allen of the National Dog Mill Rescue. It is about the fact that even just saving 'one' animal is important. I could feel the truth in it, but I fought it. Well, I had felt this twang of responsibility and love when he looked into my eyes. Forget that, I told myself. I have a cat and she is used to being the queen in her little kingdom. I don’t need any complications. My life is pretty simple right now. Besides, Emerald doesn’t mind dogs, but she will not tolerate a cat in her territory.

I went back to the Animal Control Center the next day. Why? I don't know. I need to take responsibility for my actions? Yes, I know. Looks like I will be doing just that for the next ten years in this instance.

I asked my husband to come along to the Animal Control Center. He came willingly. He had an interesting look in his eyes when he saw this cat. Their eyes met and I felt intrigued for that moment as their eyes met. Bob felt something. I didn't ask him about it, but I knew he felt something. Still, I didn’t jump into anything. I decided I would think about it one more day because I knew a new cat would mean more work for me to do.


My reasoning.

I reviewed in my mind that I already clean one cat box a day – sometimes twice a day – and then I vacuum. Usually I feel real and imaginary dust under my feet by then so I wet-mop the floor once or twice a day. Therefore, I reasoned, what would be the harm in another cat and another cat box? I have to do the whole parade anyway. I would just do two cat boxes at the same time and I would hardly notice the extra work.

WRONG.

Princely -- Very Tired and Scared.

Princely during his first few days at our place.
Princely during his first few days at our place.

I brought our new cat home. Named him.

I brought our new cat home. I named him Princely.

Princely wouldn’t eat or drink. He probably had not been eating or drinking during the three days he had been in the Animal Control Center either nor had he been using his cat box. He had been lying in it. He couldn’t stand up in it because the powers-that-be had placed a footstool eight inches above the cat box so that a cat could, if he really wanted to, lie on the top of the footstool. I saw this crazy problem in each of the cat kennels. I will write a letter to the management there.

By the third day at home with Princely, I had learned from a person in a cat rescue organization that I should be giving fluid to him via syringe or he could begin to have liver failure. He was already vomiting bile a couple times a day. The cat rescue person said this can be a sign of liver failure.

I cried. I felt like I was going to fail Princely big time. On top of this, he was so matted and dirty. Another dilemma: My cat didn’t like him. I sort of had expected that, but hoped they would be curling up together within a month. Everything seemed overwhelming and I wasn't getting enough sleep with this new cat in the house.


Princely wouldn't eat. He got sick from being nervous. Carpets came clean, no problem.

Princely was so sick and nervous the first six days.
Princely was so sick and nervous the first six days.

Princely didn't seem to drink for days -- but must have.

Took Princely to the Veterinarian.

I decided I would take Princely to a vet. I called my daughter and told her the situation. I sobbed her the situation. She assured me everything would be fine and she offered to come over the next day to give Princely a bath and a hair cut.

I put Princely back into the cloth cat carrier and struggled to the vet's office, tears streaming for this cat whom I was sure would be dying soon. If only I hadn't taken him home, maybe he would have been eating and drinking at the Animal Control Center by now, I thought. The vet had good news. Princely had no sign of liver failure. The vet suggested Princely might do well with an anti-vomiting shot of medication. The carpets were a mess at home, but I knew this could be easily fixed with some Folex – the best carpet spot-remover around.

The vet also said some cats take longer than others to start eating and drinking, but she figured he must have been getting a little water when I was sleeping because he was not dehydrated.

The next day, Princely ate a little. He also jumped up onto the bathroom counter when I ran the water from the faucet. It turns out, he is a tap-drinker like my daughter’s cat. He will now drink from a bowl, but he prefers the tap water when he is offered it.


Our Daughter Came Over to Groom Him

On the afternoon of that next day, my daughter did come over. She brought four very noisy little cat-scaring angels. Once we got the four of them busy with their Grandpa, Priscilla shaved 25 dirty mats of fur from Princely’s belly, back and underarms while I held him. He IS a gentle cat. Then I held him firmly in the kitchen sink while Priscilla gave him a real scrub down with a mild shampoo and then a long rinse. We were all exhausted afterwards – especially Princely.

Princely is nine years old. I think he gave up trying to clean himself years ago. He was such a mess. Cats need to be brushed every day. I guess his former owner didn't know that, but his former owner made up for it in being a very gentle person. He must have been gentle and loving. How else could Princely have turned out so sweet and calm?

Princely is now clean and does clean himself every day. Priscilla didn’t shave the fur around his neck and head because there were no mats there. Now with his big mane and bare body, he looks like a lion.

The fur on his body is growing in nicely.


His fur mats were thick and could not be brushed out.

Princely an hour after his grooming.  He was scared, but he let us groom him.
Princely an hour after his grooming. He was scared, but he let us groom him.

Princely is Tall

When Princely sits up tall he is at least 15 inches high.  He's a head taller than Emerald.
When Princely sits up tall he is at least 15 inches high. He's a head taller than Emerald.

I hadn't realized how big Princely is until I got him home that first day. The County Pound person had placed him in my cloth cat carrier for me and brought him to the outside area where I had been told to wait. It was a good thing I didn't see how tall, skinny and mangy he looked until I had already signed the papers. I might have changed my mind -- but probably not. I had this wild ridiculous feeling there had been an unspoken trust he had laid before me and I had accepted it – at that first meeting between us.

True to his new name, he really is very princely and serene. And he loves to be petted. He purrs loudly. He is very polite. He always asks before jumping up on my lap. He stands on two legs and places his paws on me while I'm sitting there. He looks up at me to ask silently. If I say okay, he jumps onto my lap, but only stays a few minutes.

He likes to chase Emerald’s catnip mouse. He chases it, pounces on it and carries it by the tail. He is a giant kitten. Emerald, this past week, lays herself down five feet away from Princely during her few wakeful hours and watches him quietly.


Princely and Emerald are separated at night.

We had to keep Princely and my cat, Emerald, separated at night – especially at first – because I was way behind in my sleep and I do not react calmly enough to the sound of two hissing cats. It's a scary sound, one which really gets the adrenaline pumping as images in the brain quickly show what a cat without an eye would look like.

Source
Source

Will All be Well?

Now everything is going very nicely – except for the responsibility of the cat boxes. There are two covered cat boxes, each in a separate room.

Thoughts -- more or less the same ones, day after day -- enter my brain each time I clean out the cat boxes.

“What are you doing with two cats, Pamela? Why did you even get one cat all those years ago? Why does anyone have a cat? My great-grandmothers had more sense. The cats lived in the barns. Have I gone mad? Why would I get another cat, knowing I'll now be cleaning two cat boxes for at least the next ten years?”

After I take off my catbox-cleaning robe and shower cap – and after I open the front door and shake the robe briskly – and after I wash my face, hands and arms – and grab a towel and make a trip outside to the garbage can, I can again remember the reason I brought this cat home. “Ah, yes. It is for the pleasure of his company.”

Little Emerald, having watched my noisy actions as she lies curled up among my art supplies, begins to purr. "Yes. Give me time and I'll concur."

An Update: Turns out, Princely Loves to Play

He is nine years old, but still a kitten at heart.  When I put the embroidery thread up on the counter to let him know I'm done, he waits 'til I leave the room and goes up, gets it, puts it on the floor for when I return.
He is nine years old, but still a kitten at heart. When I put the embroidery thread up on the counter to let him know I'm done, he waits 'til I leave the room and goes up, gets it, puts it on the floor for when I return.
Source
I keep the embroidery thread in a drawer.  Princely leaps on the counter several times a day, sitting tall, waiting for the drawer to magically open so that he and I can play with his thread again.  Sometimes we include Emerald, too.
I keep the embroidery thread in a drawer. Princely leaps on the counter several times a day, sitting tall, waiting for the drawer to magically open so that he and I can play with his thread again. Sometimes we include Emerald, too.

Take a quick poll.

How many animals do you feel you can look after comfortably and safely in your home?

  • Just one. I have one and that's all I want.
  • Two or more. I have two or more.
  • None. Even just one would be too many.
See results without voting

Princely Loves to Play with his stuffed Mice.

Source

© 2014 Pamela Kinnaird W

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Comments 15 comments

Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thanks for reading my hub about Princely. He's really settling in here and he's quietly persistent in getting my very independent female cat to take notice of his playful ways. He chases a toy mouse all around the livingroom and pretends to ignore Emerald. I do now see a glimmer of possibility that the two of them will become friends.


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Pamela, a lovely story. yes you saved one unhappy little friend. I hope your husband is happy Princely is with you. I rather think he is.

Graham.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

No, no, FlourishAnyway, my husband isn't animal-hating -- he's just indifferent to animals. To be more exact, he likes to pretend he is indifferent and can't be bothered with them when, in fact, there have been a couple he absolutely adored. One was a bird. Thanks for commenting. Princely is doing very well now, really settling in.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Aww, sweet lady, you and he were meant for each other. Be easy and understanding on him. He's lost his parent of nine years, went to death row, went on a starvation diet out of grief, ended up in a nice stranger's home but doesn't know if she, the cat, or that animal hating husband intends to kill him, and he is desperately trying to be a good boy. I have 10 cats, many of whom are neighborhood strays and elderly and disabled. Not all of them are indoor cats but all of them are extremely loved. Be patient with this sweet gentleman -- you are saving his life and he will repay you with dedication and love.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you for your comments, ChitrangadaSharan. That's sure something that you have Australian parrots way over there in India. I'm happy for you that you have two parrots and fish, too. I've never had fish, but I know parrots are a lot of work and they steal one's heart completely.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Very nicely written hub and I enjoyed your story. Its good to adopt and take care of pets. It requires passion and commitment, which you have as is evident from your hub.

I do have two pair of Australian parrots and a big fish aquarium. Lot of effort is required to maintain them and make them comfortable, especially during change of seasons.

Voted up as interesting!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Ann1Az2, in most areas the whole idea behind helping the feral cats is to get them spayed and neutered so they don't keep multiplying. I enjoyed your comments. Thanks again.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

I had a neighbor once who took care of feral cats in the neighborhood. She kept food and water out for them. Never had any of her own and these seldom came close to her. She was always joyful when one had kittens. Strange - I always looked at it as more unwanted kittens, but she was elated. I guess it's all relative. She thought of it as taking care of wild animals, which I guess they were.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Denise, thank you for stopping by and reading this hub. Princely is lying at my feet as I type this. I'm happy to say he doesn't have any quirkiness to him. I lucked out. I'm happy for you that you have four pets and have things well under control.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Ann1Az2, Six cats, wow. You're a trooper. I did look after about 40 in total on Maui, but they were feral, so after I'd fed them and hoped for their well-being, I'd go home. No catboxes to clean there (except for my kitty's at home.)

Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. It's interesting to meet someone who has a husband like mine -- with only tolerance for animals or at best, indifference, but as you said, it does speak of our husband's characters that they 'put up' with the cats for us because they know we love them.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina

Pamela, I give you a lot of credit in accepting and adopting animals from the shelter or center...often they have personality quirks that don't disappear, due to the way they were treated previously.

We have four pets: the dog my nephew left for me to care for while he is in college. She is a lab, cocker spaniel mix with a sweet disposition. The other three are cats that we took in as stray kittens-two from one mom, (brother and sister) and one from another mom. They have all been fixed and we have worked to handle them and domesticate them. They are sweet with three different personalities, just like kids. They get along with the dog and vice vs.

When I am away, like I am this week, I miss them like crazy! Just like a mom and her kids. So sorry to read about your horrible experience with the dog attack!

Thanks for sharing. UP/U/A/I


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

What a great story - I had tears in my eyes at one point. I'm a cat person, so I related to everything you said. Actually, I have 4 cats which sometimes can be overwhelming were it not for the fact that at one point in my life, I had 6, so 4 seams a lot less. However, I do not want anymore! lol

My husband also has a problem with pets. He, like yours, would never hurt one. He was just raised thinking they belong outside and not living with us humans. He tolerates mine because he knows I love them and that says a lot for both our husband's characters!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

pstraubie48, I hadn't even thought of that possibility. Yes, if only there were little fairies that could come in and take care of it twice a day. Just sort of snap their fingers and let it be done. Thank you for coming to visit and commenting.

grand old lady, thank you for all your kind words. I was over reading some of your hubs just now. You've been a busy lady with your magazine writing. Good for you. Keep up the great work.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Pamela

This was such an interesting and lovingly written article about your lovelies. So glad to read that little "big' kitty has become a member of your family. Now if we could only figure out a way to have those littler boxes take care of themselves !!!


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

I love the way you told your story, so simply and directly. It is very informative about animal adoption, but the inclusion of your state of mind, your concerns, you past experience with your chihuahua, and the process of choosing and adopting Princely, then helping him to adapt to your house, added heart to the information. This is a wonderful, wonderful piece and it is voted up.

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