Friday, June 18, 2010

Kitties: a post about cats

Ryan and I decided earlier this year that we were ready to adopt another cat, so that Ruckus has a friend in the house. Cats are very social creatures and Ruckus thinks he's a person, so his adjustment to living without Monkey has been to stick to us like glue. Which is really sweet and cute until it gets annoying. Now, I'm not saying that I want to shake him off, but I mostly just feel guilty every time we leave the house. A 10 minute trip to Blockbuster turns into heartbreak when Ruckus puts on his sad face and cannot fathom why we ever have to go anywhere without him!

Most pets are used to being alone sometimes - their people go to work, etc. but since Monkey died, my work-at-home schedule has increased and well, Ryan has been working at home for the past 6 years, so Ruckus is used to someone (a human!) being not only present, but awake nearly 24 hours a day at our house. So when we leave for, say, a movie or a weekend he gets extremely heartbroken. How could they leave me here all by myself?? Fortunately, my mom and brother make a good catsitting duo and when we're out of town, they stay at our house. That is an extreme luxury and I recognize that, so we need to wean Ruckus off of 24/7 people-attention. Which is why he needs a buddy. If there's another pet for him to associate with (who also does not get invited to the grocery store) then he can at least see that it's not just him and maybe he won't take it so personally. Maybe he won't cry in the window! A lady can hope!

So we've been looking at local cats for adoption. I'd personally love to have a kitten again, but it's a lot of work! Just like a baby, kittens are up all night and they cry and get into things and poop where they shouldn't. But still: baby cat! In your house! Most likely, we'll get an grown cat, maybe someone who's a few years old, although we're not opposed to an 'old' cat either. Ruckus is 9 and still frisky as ever, so I know that chronological age has little to do with how "old" a cat is (or person! look at me! I act like I'm 12! It's awesome!). My goal is to find someone that he can be friendly with and have a buddy for Midnight Crazies and a pal to share the heating pad with all winter.

I kind of have a soft spot for orange cats - I always have. Over my life, I've had a couple of orange cats and they've all been the nicest cats I've ever known. I feel "colorist" for liking a cat based on its fur and although that is certainly not a criteria for adoption, if there's a ginger cat who meets our requirements, that will probably be who I choose. I don't know why I feel so guily about it. I mean, people have dog breed preferences and would adopt, say, a Boston Terrier but not a Pug and no one would say that they're jerks. But since cats are basically a single breed (shelter cats, anyway. I'm not in the market for a high-end cat where I'd have to find a specific rescue for Sphinxes or something) you have to rely on age, gender, and color. Of course, temperment is the #1 deciding factor, but all things being equal, you just have to pick. And I hate doing that.

Monkey came to us when a friend's cat had kittens. He chose me. The momma cat and her newborn kittens were hiding under the bed and so I got down on the floor to look under the bed at them and Monkey came toddling over to me. I visited him a few more times over the next 8 weeks and he always came to see me, so I knew there was something special there - he was meant to live with me. Ruckus was a feral kitten who hid under our apartment at night and made Monkey crazy. One afternoon, the neighborhood kids brought him to me (thinking it was my kitten) after he'd been hit by a car and I took him to the emergency vet. After the vet advised that he'd likely be euthanized by the shelter because of his injuries, I adopted him. But still, he basically chose us to live with (he was living under our apartment, rather than any of the others). So I never had to pick -- my cats came to me through destiny. Now I feel a bit like Schindler, having some sort of list of which cat might make the grade and live in our home. Which is a wonderful and crappy feeling all at once. Am I allowed to hope that when we go to look at the kitties that someone finds me? That I can sit on the floor and let whichever cat is meant to be mine find me?

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