A Kitten Adoption Story

Two hours ago, I was attempting to enjoy a milkshake that Jim made me while I watched Pushing Daisies. I say attempting, because while I was trying to indulge in Ned the Pie Maker’s life drama, there was a cat sitting on my chest, trying to paw at the contents of my glass. I tried to move him, to push him off, but his purrs of contentment as he nudged my spoon and licked my fingers made it hard to get too frustrated. While one cat was trying to acquire a milkshake, my other cat was curled up by my side, sleeping. The other cat still has a few lingering cuts on his neck, residual effects of a six-month long mystery that we’re only just getting to the bottom of. I’m not a parent yet, but these kitties are the closest things to kids that I’ve ever had (seriously, give twice weekly green tea compresses to one cat and do daily management on the weepy eye of the other and have them NOT feel like babies. I challenge you). So today I’m going to tell the story of how we acquired our kitties, mostly as a prequel to Thursday’s story, which delves into holistic cat care and vet services, which will be for more practical and much less “crazy cat lady.” I promise. Anyway, here goes;

Last September, my fiance and I adopted two striped orange tabby cats from the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). We went through a wonderful foster mom who was a great, loving home for our boys before we were able to take them in.

The kittens at the foster's house, 5 months old.

The kittens at the foster’s house, 5 months old, getting into mischief.

We decided to get a cat early on; I had grown up with cats, and knew that I would miss having one around. Additionally, at the time, I wasn’t working as much as I am now, and was worried about being lonely while the house was empty. The intention was for us to pick out one cat, preferably from a shelter, which was kid and dog friendly, and had either already been declawed by a previous owner (I don’t believe in declawing cats) or was able to have its nails clipped or filed. About a month after making our criteria, Jim’s sister sent us an email with pictures and descriptions of four five-month old cats that her friend was fostering.

Of the four, I immediately fell in love with a cat named Pirate, so named because of an eye condition that made his one eye “weepy.” Truth be told, I was worried that he wouldn’t be adopted out because of his eye and his age- lots of people want cute kittens that are little 8-to-10 week old fluffballs of perfect love, not 5 month old rambunctious kitties that are more interested in mischief with an eye condition to boot. The entire litter had had ringworm soon after they were born, and they spent their first 3 months going through icky treatments and tests, so by the time they were cleared for adoption, they were no longer seen as kittens in the eyes of most people.

Charlie at 5 months

Charlie (then Pirate) at 5 months

But when we were able to meet with the foster momma and see Pirate, we were told straight off that he had pretty significant separation anxiety, and that we’d have to adopt a second cat if we wanted to take him. Luckily, as we were being told this, another kitten named Nacho curled up in Jim’s lap and started playing with the hem of his shirt. Meanwhile, Pirate was chewing on my hair, perched in my arms. We were sold pretty quickly.

Nacho at 5 months

Nacho at 5 months

It was actually a very unique experience- Jim and I picked the kittens out in late July, but construction at the new place didn’t finish up until Mid-September. For the interim month and a half, we visited our kitties at the foster’s house every other week, bringing them treats and toys. When we were finally able to pick them up to bring home, they were almost seven months old. Pirate was re-named Charlie, Nacho kept his original name, and we spent the first night in our new home listening to the sounds of the new house curled up together.  Or, Jim and I were curled up together. The cats spent the evening running from one side of the flat clear to the other, endlessly, for the entire evening. I got about 3 hours of sleep that night, in 15 minute intervals, and at one point one of the cats jumped onto my face in the middle of the night and his foot landed in my mouth. Not an appreciated wake-up call.

As the months have worn on, Jim and I have become those crazy cat parents that the internet constantly makes fun of. We bought high-end food (which ended up still being poorly chosen, but more on that Thursday) and treats, have piles of boxes and toys for the kittens to play with (and chew. endlessly), and each cat gets vet-approved supplements and vitamins. At night Charlie curls up either on my chest or between my shins, and Nacho sleeps near Jim’s feet underneath the covers. They chase each other around the flat after breakfast every morning. They groom each other, and have torn our curtains to shredded bits. Charlie once found a way to open up the drawer where we keep our files and he chewed up his own medical records, and last week Nacho opened Jim’s dresser, jumped in a drawer, and got himself trapped inside while Jim and I searched the house for him in a panic for twenty minutes. They’re mischievous, needy as hell, and the most loving cats I’ve ever met. We definitely lucked out.

Nacho and Charlie at 11 months, Valentine's Day 2014.

Nacho and Charlie at 11 months, Valentine’s Day 2014.

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