Monday, September 29, 2008

New Tabby

It started with a trip to Petsmart to return the steps that Buttercup never used, steps that were supposed to help her climb up to the bed on her own. (See below to read about Buttercup's final summer and her last day with us in August.) And being at Petsmart, I had to walk past the adoption area. After all, the cats and kittens are so beautiful and I just had to see them even though I knew it would make me sad.
As I rounded the corner, I saw a beautiful small tabby. Her ID tag said she was a mother cat, found as a stray. She was alone in the cage. I fell in love.
I looked at all the kitties in all the cages, including kittens, and knew that the tabby momma was the one who would most need a home. And I left, knowing that we have two cats and that my husband would probably prefer to stick with just two for a while. I had tried to suggest kittens a few weeks ago and he said he just didn't think it was a good time for that.
I dropped a hint or two here and there. And then the following night, my husband said one adult tabby would be an acceptable addition to the family, bringing us back to three cats. We agreed to stop by Petsmart the next afternoon to adopt her--part of a birthday "surprise" for him, but really more for me and the boys.
I could not sleep. All night I kept imagining that she would already be adopted and that wasting two days without making a move would have meant that she is already gone. I decided to assume she was already gone just so I would not be disappointed if she was gone when I got there.
I ended up going to Petsmart at 9:30 that morning; it was Saturday. The store opened at 9. I wanted to check on the kitty and get the adoption started as soon as possible. It was going to be a surprise for our two boys who love kitties as much as I do.
As I rounded the corner, her cage was empty! But I quickly noticed the back was open and a volunteer was cleaning the cage. I looked through the glass and beyond the cages, and there she was, just running around in the area where people meet cats they want to adopt. She looked up at me, with a bounce in her step. My eyes watered.
Anyway, I found a Petsmart employee to help me, and she said that adoptions usually take several days to complete, for good reason. They need to make sure the family is a good match for that cat and everything seems ok and safe. I wrote my name and number on a sheet of paper and indicated which cat I wanted. The employee told me that I would have to wait for a volunteer from the agency to call me, probably Monday. Petsmart itself does not do the adoptions.
The employee said that the volunteer would be stopping by later that day to check on the cats, and that volunteer would initiate the adoption process, but that she knew nothing about the details of the procedure and I would just have to wait and see. Urgh! Meanwhile, I asked whether I could meet the kitty and pet her. She said that employees are not allowed to let people meet the cats, but since the other volunteer was there to clean cages, it would be ok as long as the volunteer said it was ok with her. Well, the volunteer cleaning the cages was wonderfully sweet and said of course it would be ok.
I entered the tiny closet-sized "meeting" room and feel in love even more. I spent 40 minutes petting the beautiful tabby. She purred almost the entire time. I wanted to drag it out as long as possible for hopes that somehow the person in charge of her might show up and we could make sure that I would be the one to eventually take her home. I was lucky... and had good timing. I overheard someone through the door talking to another person about the cats, calling them by name and acting like she knew them. By this point, the volunteer cleaning cages was just finishing up and so it was about time for me to leave. I gave back the tabby and left the little room.
I knew this was my big chance. I walked over to the woman talking about the cats and I bravely asked if she was the person in charge of the tabby. She said yes. I almost cried with relief.
We talked awhile, and my eyes watered. I told her that I have fallen in love with the momma tabby and would love to take her home as soon as possible. We talked about the formal procedure, which would take a few days. Then kind of spontaneously, the person said, "You know, you can just take her today and we can finish up the paperwork and interview next week." She would not normally do that, of course, but she sensed (correctly) that I was a good match for the kitty, and that my home would be safe and loving. Both she and I were eager to get the tabby out of the cage and into a home.
We talked together as I filled out some of the paperwork. She shared her joy that the kitty had found a home so quickly, after just one week in the cage at Petsmart. She explained that she had been concerned about finding a home for the tabby: "We were worried about whether we could place her. It is hard to find a home for mother cats. And we have a lot of brown and black tabbies right now, which added to our concern." I replied by saying, "She is the perfect cat for me. I love her."
Of course there were two cats at home, minding their own business at that very moment, having no idea that I was in the process of changing their lives. Not immensely but somewhat. We'd adopted them two years ago as kittens, sister and brother from a litter of four. One solid brown and one solid black.
The introduction was better than we could have hoped for. Shadow and Cinnamon, are weary of their new sister, but already after just two days seem ok with her around. There has been a little posturing by Cinny (fur standing on end, as he raises himself up to look as large as possible), but no genunine agression, no contact. Mostly he stands back and watches from a distance. Shadow follows the tabby around, a bit close, sniffing. There were a few nose-to-nose exchanges as each one sniffed the other's face. For the most part, the tabby seems kind of oblivous to the other kitties, happy go lucky, comfortable, just nervous when she hears a strange noise. She is curious but not that interested in the kitties.
As it turns out, the tabby had been living with a group of feral cats when she was captured for spaying. Immediately they knew the tabby was not wild due to the way she cuddled and acted so friendly. She was also pregnant. She was brought to foster care, had her kittens, and now the kittens are finding homes of their own. The lady in charge of the adoptions is hopeful that the kittens will be placed rather easily. But was so glad to see that the momma (our new tabby) had found a home so quickly, and she could tell it would be home in which she would get lots of love.
We hope to name her by the end of the week.


Blogger Euphoria said...

Lovely story. I used to hate cats, and I fell in love with Dalai, our cat, who found us and followed us everywhere, just like a dog. They are amazing, misterious and beautiful. They are my inspiration and I paint them now.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Thanks for sharing about your love for cats. I have always loved them or at least "wanted" to have a cat, even as a kid. When I was older I got my first cat when we moved (at age 13) who was actually quite unfriendly but I loved him anyway. I am glad I didn't give up on cats, because every cat since the unfriendly cat has been wonderful, playful, fun, and/or cuddly in his or her own way. I cannot paint or draw, but I photograph them. My oldest son loves to draw and paint them.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Euphoria said...

Yes, I think I saw his work.
Every cat has its personality, of course. My cat is siamese, and everybody told me to be careful. I canĀ“t imagina a better cat. He is very sweet with me and with my baby girl.

3:14 PM  

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