The FIRST Cat - The One Who Adopted the Person, Part Nine of Adventures in Cat Adoption
The Streetwise Cat with a Happy Face
Over Presidents' Day weekend 2011, a five-pound ball of feline fluff landed in our home. I have been relating all the funny adventures and misadventures we have experienced. Now I'd like to share the story of the very first cat of our family. As I was not yet on the scene, I asked MyGuy (the human alpha male) to tell me the story.
Cat Adoption is When a Cat Chooses You
I was living in an apartment above a neighborhood corner bar in the thick of the city of Philadelphia. One evening when I came through the bar, a server asked, "Hey, d'you hava cat?" Of course, I said no. I hadn't had pets since my childhood. She apparently didn't like my answer, because she objected to it with, "I think you DO!"
Annoyed and puzzled, I started up the stairs to my place. When I got to the second floor landing I felt eyes on me. There was a dark, striped animal peering down at me from the third floor landing.
Well, it was a cat. At the time I was dating a "cat lady," so she was all happy and coo-ey about me having one, too. There was no ID on the cat, no collar, nothing to show that it might have been lost from an adoring family nearby. Plus, the restaurant staff claimed there was a despicable "kitten mill" in the neighborhood. We figured this cat escaped from there. Since I was recently divorced and kinda missing the fam, I thought I'd give it a try. Plus, cats pretty much take care of themselves, I thought. And this was a female, which would be easier, I thought.
This is the Marley of Cats
Adjusting to Having a Pet
My girlfriend became my off-site advisor. We quickly got this feline a basket, food and litter. I had to pick a name for this cat, so I named her after the cook in the restaurant. She obviously had broken into my place, but she was very wary and cautious of me. All the restaurant staff figured she had been mistreated by humans in her previous life.
All things considered, this cat which you know as The Goddess seemed to be thriving with a new human (me) providing the cat food.
Thriving in Her New Home
Thriving, indeed. This cat was gaining weight to the point of swelling. The first educated guess was – please God no – worms. A vet examined her and eliminated that. Concurrently, the reason behind the Goddess’s body changes was revealed. She was on the nest. Or the litter box. In other words, my furry little vixen was pregnant.
Make that "The First TWO Cats"
At the appointed time, the litter was delivered. The Goddess was extremely protective. When my girlfriend got too bossy about where the newborns should sleep, Momma Goddess quietly, stealthily carried each one by the scruff of the neck deep into an attic cubbyhole in my apartment. Those kittens did not come out until the Goddess decided it was time.
When the kittens grew and were allowed to be with me, they started to move around and do those “kitten-y things” such as chasing each other, and practicing their leaps. I thought maybe I'd keep one of the kittens …there was one little fellow, Sammy, with white fur on all four paws. I found that appealing and also comfortingly reminiscent of family legends regarding my grandfather’s cat, “Boots.”
Once, as I sat watching TV with a plastic cup of water at my side, tiny Sammy leaped up and bear-hugged the cup. The proportions were as outrageous as you or me trying to embrace the bulbous reservoir of a water tower. Of course, he couldn’t really get a claw-hold. As I grabbed the cup to steady it, I lifted it slightly. Sammy did a slow-motion slide down and then off – just like a cartoon kitty – falling all the way to the floor. Unfazed, he gleefully bounded off to his next adventure
(and into my heart.)
Waiting for the kittens to be Weaned
Weeks later, the kitten brood romped about my apartment. Now fully weaned, they used a cut- down cardboard shipping box for their bed. Its sides were about eight inches high and getting into the box provided a playful challenge for the little kittens. One of Sammy’s sisters took a running start and, like a high jumper, made her try. She got just her front paws over the sides of the cardboard wall, intent on pulling herself up and over. Sammy, with all the wild abandon and joy of a successful linebacker, rushed and sacked her. They both toppled outside the box, delightedly wrestling and chortling.
The deal was clinched. After a super move like that, Sammy was the kitten I chose to keep.
So, a lot of people are surprised that I became a 2-cat bachelor. Maybe Maren is right: they picked me.
As told to Maren.
Picture and text copyright 2011 Maren Morgan.