During my blogging drought, much has happened in our household dynamic. Most notably and awesomely, Sophie is no longer an only child. I mentioned my desire to rescue another cat about six months ago...well, it didn't go exactly as planned. It started okay enough. I fell in love...like head over heels in love...with this little puffball who looked like a "Charlotte" to me:
One of the photos posted on the rescue agency's website.
You see, in my head, I've been hoping to rescue another cat for a long time. A girl can dream, after all. Due to her kidney problems, Sophie would be considered a "less adoptable" cat if we didn't find her...and what a loss that would have been if no one was ever on the receiving end of her affection. I knew that if I ever got the chance to adopt again, I wanted a "less adoptable" cat...an older cat, and injured or ill cat (as long as Sophie's health wouldn't be in jeopardy), or a black cat. The long-hair was sort of a foregone conclusion for me...most people do not know how or want to care for a cat with long hair. They require a bit more maintenance than your average cat. However, none of that occurs to people when they simply set their eyes on a cute, fluffy kitten.
When Nick gave his [resigned] go-ahead, we talked it over with our vet. She strongly urged us to bring in a kitten if we wanted Sophie to bond with her new sibling. (So, an older cat was out of the running.)
We first popped into a a rescue agency in early June, but that was a little early for this year's batch of kittens to be old enough for adoption. Still, we walked around and visited with the cats in cages...those places are heartbreaking. I have such admiration for people who work there and don't end up adopting 100 cats. The surrendered cats especially...they all look so sad...looking for their owners and feeling so abandoned.
I quickly bonded with a beautiful boy named Mareo. He was a long-haired polydactyl with soulful eyes. I had such a strong connection to him that I would have ignored that he wasn't technically a kitten. Unfortunately, Mareo had something else working against him...he was FeLV positive. He could only go into a single cat home or a multicat home if the other cats were also FeLV positive. I followed him closely on the agency's website...scheming who of my cat-less friends I could coerce into adoption. He was finally adopted on September 14th...then surrendered soon after his new owner discovered she had a serious allergy to cats. I was so very happy when I saw he was adopted for good on September 21st...and this time it stuck.
Anyway, back to Charlotte. We met her a week after our first visit to the rescue agency. The foster mom was pretty intimidating at first...which is good. She took in 3 of a 6-kitten, all-black litter when they were 3 weeks old (another volunteer took the other 3). She was a protective mama-bear, making sure her babies would go home with trustworthy people. She warmed up to become something more like you'd imagine Mrs. Clause would be as soon as she made her decision about us. She took us back to one of the little rooms where people can interact with cats.
Either she liked what she saw in me or I had "SUCKER" written on my forehead, because she kept adding cats to the little room before stepping out to give us some time to engage the kittens. If you've never been in a confined space with at least three highly socialized 8 week old kittens, you haven't lived.
After a space of time—I have no concept of the actual amount of time due to my zen, kitten-addled state—the foster mom stepped back into the room and sat in the chair I had vacated when I popped down to the floor to be overrun with kittens. She told us that there were many inquiries into Charlotte and her brother who was in the room ( see were both long-haired cats). She had Charlotte narrowed down to either us or another lady she said. Then she got crafty.
She gestured toward's Charlotte's sister who was also in the room with us (at the time her name was Kira). She said, and I know this is verbatim because it flipped a switch in me, "Nobody wants this one." Since that Saturday was the first time ever they were onsite at the rescue, and we arrived minutes after they opened, it had to do with something on the online listing. I'm 100% sure it was because of one of the photos they posted for Kira on the rescue site. You see, they caught her mid-yawn. When I saw it, I thought it looked like she was smiling, I thought she looked adorable. However, I could see how someone less familiar with cats could mistake it for a hiss.
Aside from ridiculous and untrue superstitions, black cats aren't typically adopted because it's difficult to photograph their expressive faces.
Then she played her fall-card: "If you agree to adopt Kira as well, I'll guarantee that you will get [Charlotte]." Now whether or not there were any other inquiries on Charlotte or that was just a ploy, I'll never know. I trusted her statement on the brother because she didn't try to push him on us. There's also a belief (that has since been proven untrue by animal behaviorists) that it's easier to integrate a male kitten into a multicat household than a female...and that male cats are friendlier in the end. All completely untrue of course. It's just a stigma that has been perpetuated long enough to become an uncontested truth. Male kittens have a better chance for adoption.
Even without the dangling carrot of Charlotte, I knew that we were bringing Kira—who we renamed Emma—home. Nick told me later that he was prepared to walk out of there with 2 kittens all along...but I honestly only had single-cat intentions going in. The rescue agency was neutering them that week, so we could take them home the following weekend.
So, there you have it. The cats now outnumber humans in this house...the kittens are growing like weeds, and Sophie has adapted to them very well. She has even come to their defense when a cat we were cat-sitting was growling at them. Typical big sister...she doesn't have patience for their energy ALL the time, but she won't let anyone hurt them either.