Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ready or not

I've had people ask me various times over the past 7 months when I'm going to get another cat. The first inquiry was only about a month after Lolly died, and I'm really glad it was asked through email so that I had a chance to temper my response. I keep telling people I'm not ready yet. I was thinking I'd start looking into it in about a year, maybe more.

The universe had other plans.

A week ago Thursday evening I was sitting in my living room goofing around on my laptop when I heard the cries of a cat in distress. I got up, looked out my window, and found a little gray cat in my flower bed. She was staring up at the window, and when she saw me started meowing directly to me. I went outside to get a better look, and when I started talking to her ("Well who are you? Where did you come from?") my neighbor came out too. She said this little cat showed up that morning and no one knew where she came from. As we were talking, a neighborhood cat came stalking up -- he lives farther down the road, but I guess he considers this place part of his territory -- and the little stranger ran right up to him like she was expecting to be greeted. She was very surprised at the hissing, spitting response she got.

"That's it," I said, "you don't know danger when you see it. In you go." And I picked her up and put her in my house. I still have Lolly's old litter box (I meant to throw it out, but never got around to it) and some catbox filler (ditto), but I had no food. My neighbor has a cat, and she gave me some food. She said not to worry about replacing the food. Her cat is FIV positive, so not only she can not ever touch another cat, she has problems finding food he's not allergic to. This was perfectly good food that he couldn't eat, and she was happy someone could use it.

I started looking in the papers and online (Craig's list) to see if anyone was looking for a little gray declawed female. Yes. Declawed. Out there for who knows how long with no weapons up front. She has her back claws, though, so she's not completely unarmed. One of the reasons I thought someone might be missing her is because she's declawed. I also looked around the neighborhood for flyers about her. Nothing.

Saturday morning I took her to the vet's to see if she was microchipped. No luck there. I asked the tech I talked to if he could give me an idea as to her age. He said she was an adult, but very young--probably 1 year, maybe 2. He based that on her teeth. He also said that if she's declawed she's probably been spayed as well. Those two things are generally done together, if they're both going to be done. She's not a purebred, so I was pretty sure they hadn't declawed her and left her intact.

I wanted this info for the ad. I put an ad in the local paper, both print and online editions. The print one read:
FOUND CAT Small gray declawed female.
and then my cell number. They only give three free lines for Found ads, and they center-justify the type so that it's very hard to get much info into those 3 lines. Fourth line costs $7.77. What a racket. I had to keep rearranging the words to get them to fit into the free space, but I made it. The online ad was much more generous, space-wise. I added her approximate age, when and where she was found, and my email address. I held back the info on being spayed, thinking it might be something they could tell me to ID their cat, along with eye color, specific coat coloring, etc.

This cat is a funny shade of gray. Kind of a gunmetal gray. Her undercoat is white. In certain light, she looks like she has brown in her coat. In other light, I can see stripes.

I only got one response to the ad, and that was from someone looking for a cat who was 4-5 years old, with a white throat and white front paws. I decided that if I didn't hear anything by Monday (tomorrow) she's living with me. By last Monday I'd already named her Sophie. That woman called Wednesday morning, but I didn't get the voicemail until late that night. Accidentally left my cell phone on my nightstand. Freudian slip? Really upset me that I might not have her around, and I noticed after I talked to the woman Thursday that I hadn't been referring to the cat as "Sophie" when I spoke about her or even thought about her from the time I got the message to the time I found out she was still unclaimed. She went back to being The Cat for about 12 hours. I'm now fairly certain that no one's going to claim her by tomorrow.

I took her back to the vet on Friday afternoon for a "new pet" exam. Poor kitty. She got poked and prodded and shaved on her belly (to look for the spay scar. And it was there.) blood drawn (for FIV/Feline leukemia/heartworm tests, all negative), and her temperature taken 'cause the litterbox has been...well...abnormal. She's been prescribed wormer (they're not sure worms are causing this, but it can't hurt to be careful. Who knows what she picked up out there) and an antibiotic to combat all the bacteria in her gut (I brought in a stool sample. Thank goodness I went to scoopable litter there with Delilah towards the end and had one of those scoopy-strainy-rake things. Yuk). I also have prescribed food for her for now. It's supposed to be very easy to digest. The vet called it the cat food version of tea and toast. I'm supposed to get a call when they get lab results back, though I think I know now what happened. She got sick briefly yesterday morning. Coughed up a hairball and a large chunk of undigested cooked meat. I have not given her anything but cat food since she's been with me. I think someone "out there" took pity on her and gave her some of their leftover dinner, and she was so hungry she swallowed it whole. Her poor little belly was doing its best to take this apart, and ramped up on production of the bacteria needed to digest things. I guess Saturday, after 2 applications of the antibiotic, the stomach gave up and kicked it out the way it came in.

Whoa. Too much information there, huh?

I'll show you a picture of her once she settles down a bit. Right now she follows me around and is very interested in everything I do. She'll start doing something cute, I'll go get the camera or my cell phone, and when I turn around she's right behind me looking to see what I'm doing. When I point the camera at her she either puts her nose to it or rolls around on the floor. So I get either extreme close-ups or gray furry blurs.

She's a very affectionate, sweet-natured little girl. I don't know why no one's looking for her. Of course, it is the start of move-out season. One of the things I really, really hate about living in a college town is the number of people who adopt animals while they're here and then just leave them behind when they move away. I think that might be what happened. They couldn't find a place that would allow pets, no one could take her, or maybe they didn't try very hard to place her, the no-kill shelters are full, so she just got pushed out the door and wished good luck. Especially cruel, since she's young, doesn't know who not to trust, and is declawed, for pity's sake. I hope karma catches up with whoever did that and bites them in the butt. Hard.

Only thing that bugs me a little bit is that I feel I'm being disloyal to Delilah by adopting another cat so quickly, and liking her so much already. I hope that wherever she is, Lolly understands.


Strings said...

I'm glad to see the 'official post'. I don't think Lolly would be offended...i just think that she would immeadiately recognize the love of her wonderful mommy she had here and feel fortunate that Sophie could now enjoy a life of caring and comfort! i'm waiting eagerly for photos!

Anonymous said...

No, no! No biting in the butt isn't what's called for. Let's say karma is working and bringing her to you. Be thankful. And Lolly? Hey, she probably guided her to you. How about that? And why not.
So, "Hello, Sophy!"

Just Me said...

Congratulations on the new kitty. The timing may not have been what you planned, but it clearly was the right time. Sophie needs a loving companion, and she's clearly happy to be a loving companion for you in return.

You're not being disloyal to Lolly at all, and I like Notdotdot's idea on the subject.

(today's verification: uneduat. My eye reads it as "you need what?")