When my ex-girlfriend moved out in 2005, she left me with the three cats she had acquired for us: Sara, Lucy, and Petra. Since that time, Petra has died of complications from diabetes and Sara has died from a rare cancer of a blood vessel. Lucy, bless her heart, is about 17 years old now and is in very good health. Since she'd been terrorized by Petra for most of her life, she has a skittish personality. Although she loves being cuddled at times, she is rather aloof. I guess I'd been spoiled by my dear Sara, who needed to be with me every waking and sleeping moment of the day.
I started toying with the idea of adopting another pair of cats. I say "pair" because I believe cats are happiest if they are living with a comfortable companion--a littermates would be ideal. I knew that Lucy appreciated having my full attention, but I also know she's exhibited a desire to cuddle with Sara and Petra, but she'd always been rejected. I thought she might adjust to the presence of a pair of tiny, non-aggressive kittens.
There is a no-kill animal shelter less than 1/4 mile from my house: Animal Care Society. My ex-girlfriend worked there for a while. Actually, Lucy was found shivering in the rain on the land near Animal Care. People frequently abandoned unwanted pets near Animal Care, assuming someone would rescue them.
The first time I stopped by Animal Care, they were not allowing visits with kittens because they'd had an outbreak of ringworm. They let me browse through a binder with listings of cats that people were offering for adoption. I leafed through it, but I really wanted to adopt directly from Animal Care. I knew they would be rigorous in performing veterinary tests and procedures for their animals. With an unknown 3rd party, I could not be sure about anything.
The lady at Animal Care told me to watch their web site for news about the re-opening of the kitten room. Yeah, right. They're good people, but they do not keep their web site up-to-date! I just dropped back by after a couple of weeks and was allowed to walk into the kitten room. I knelt down in the middle of the floor and was instantly swarmed by sweet, needy kittehs!
The kitten they called "Moonlight" jumped on my back and licked my neck and ears. The one they called "Marabella" sniffed me and accepted pets but then backed off and observed. Now that they've been with me for a few weeks, I can confirm that this was a very good indication of how they'd behave with me on an ongoing basis.
After seeing the kittens, I filled out an adoption form, which was not to be processed until I'd called them back to give them the go-ahead. I was a bit taken aback by the quantity and nature of the questions on the form. Most notably was the requirement to provide them with three personal references, one of which needed to be a family member. Great. I am happily estranged from my family, but I reluctantly gave them my father's name and telephone number. I somehow convinced myself that they would only actually call my vet. I was wrong. Apparently, they called everyone. Thankfully, they did approve my adoption request. One of my references, my boss, wrote me that he told them I was their "wet dream" of an adopter. Funny! And apparently effective!
I went to Animal Care the following Saturday with two cleaned-up carriers to pick up my new family members. From the get-go, the adoption was a comedy of errors. The woman ("handler"?) who processed my case was apparently a higher-up in the organization. Higher-ups are never as savvy about business operations as the "menials". There followed re-printing of medical forms and various signings. After 45 minutes of confusion and delay, I was ushered into the kitten room with my two carriers.
The handler shoved two cats into my carriers. I asked if she could tell me which cat was "Moonlight" and which was "Marabella". "Oh, you can name them anything you like," she said, but I insisted. She didn't know the cats by sight, but both had been micro-chipped (apparently a standard policy for cats about to be adopted). It's a very good thing I insisted, because she was trying to give me one of the kittens and the mother! Next, she tried to shove a long-tailed cat into the carrier the mother had been in. I was adopting two Manx kittens, so I questioned this. She re-scanned the long-tailed cat a
nd left the room to look up the ID. No, this was a different cat. Finally both of the Manx kittens were in my carriers and I exited the kitten room. As I exited, one of the "menials" took a close look at the two kittens and confirmed that I did, indeed, have "Moonlight" and "Marabella".
Here are the two kittehs in the back of my car as I'm about to leave Animal Care.
I've tentatively renamed "Moonlight" as Ginny and "Marabella" as Gypsy. They seem to be hugely content in their new home. Lucy has been hiding out in the living room ever since they arrived. She is doing less hissing and spitting now. Just today she allowed a quiet nose-touch with Ginny. I feel her pain, but I think this could be a plus for her in the long run. She's never had a housemate with whom she could cuddle. Once she realizes how non-threatening these two little girls are, she may actually have nap partners for those long, lazy afternoons.