Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cat We Said We Wouldn't Get

Remember my noble resolve not to get another cat until after my sabbatical, when I'd be better able to handle vet bills on a restored salary? That lasted all of twenty-six days.

Today the Nevada Humane Society sent out an urgent appeal via Facebook for people to adopt pets: they're swamped with dogs and cats, and were offering reduced adoption fees: $5 for an adult cat and $30 for a kitten. And they were making dire noises about how animals would have to be euthanized if they didn't find homes. So, sucker that I am, I asked Gary if we could adopt a kitten now; sucker that he is, he agreed.

There were a lot of people there, adopting, which was heartening, because I've never seen so many animals in the building. The appeal had said they had "hundreds" of cats, and they weren't kidding: cat-cages three-deep, housing several cats and kittens each, lined the walls of each room and hallway, and that's outside the normal cat rooms. (There were also quite a few rabbits and other small mammals. We didn't even go into the dog kennels, but I'm sure they were similarly crowded.)

We walked around for a while, checking out the kittens. All of them were adorable, but we wanted a female, so that narrowed it down. (When we got Bali, we thought he was a female, until the fateful surgery, and by then we weren't about to return him.) We also wanted a cat we'd be able to tell easily from the other two; there were a lot of gorgeous all-black kitties, but we already have Bali, and we saw several very pretty kitties who were the spitting image of Figaro.

We also had fairly exacting age requirements: young enough to be accepted easily by the two grown cats, but not so young that early weaning would cause behavior problems. A lot of Bali's weirdnesses can be traced, we think, to his not getting enough time with his mom. I fell in love with a very spunky black-and-white kitten, but she was only four weeks old, and Gary said, "Nope. I don't want to go through that again." And there were other black and white females, but I thought it would be better to have a cat who didn't remind me of Harley.

I thought an orange cat would be nice; I've never had one, and there were lots of cute orange kittens. The problem was that they all seemed to be boys. "Why not ask if they have any females?" Gary said.

So I did, and a friendly staffer checked on the computer, and sure enough, back in one of the cat rooms, there was a four-month-old female who'd just been brought in today (after being spayed at Animal Control next door). The staffer took us to visit, and we fell in love with her, and because she's just at the cusp of when they define cats as adults -- although technically, they're kittens for the first year -- we only had to pay five dollars to adopt her. He told us that orange females are unusual, so that was another plus.

We named her Caprica. (BSG fans out there will recognize "Caprica Kitty" as a pun on "Caprica City.") She has incredibly soft fur and lovely spots; we think maybe there's some Bengal in there. Her purr fills the room. She's litter trained. She's curious and friendly, and has already given me head bumps. We think she must have had previous owners and gotten out or been abandoned; she's clearly been well cared for.

We're keeping her in isolation for a week or two, as we do with all new cats. She needs time to heal from her surgery, and we need to get her tested for FIV/FLV -- which NV Humane Society doesn't do, because it's too expensive, although she's had all her other shots -- and keeping her apart from the other cats will give everyone time to calm down and get used to the idea of being roommates. Right now, Bali's an even needier wreck than usual (he had fits the minute Gary got the carrying case out of the garage, even though it wasn't for him), and Figaro and Caprica are facing off on their respective sides of my study door, trying to suss each other out.

See? Facebook's useful after all! Also a lot of fun; I'm really enjoying it.

So now we're up to our full three-cat complement again. I thought that was the limit for cat ownership in the county, but the NHS staffer said no, the limit's seven. "You shouldn't have told her that," Gary said. Hmmmmmmm . . . .


  1. Better to get the kitten now while you are home and can devote more time to it. By the time you go back to work fulltime the cats will be old hands at getting along with each other. She is so cute.

  2. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Orange kitties, especially girls, are the very, very best. Be prepared for lots of silliness.


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