Sunday, November 22, 2015
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.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
My poor, anthropomorphized pet. I sometimes forget that she's at a disadvantage...we're not cats, and we'll never understand her all the way.
We've been a tight unit, the three of us. I would live in a cat colony if I could, so I've always been on board with rescuing another cat...Nick? Not so much—mainly because we didn't want to rock the boat with Sophie.
She's a dog in a cat's body, truly. She's the sweetest and most engaging cat I've ever known. We didn't want her to go all territorial and lose her awesomeness. She is also on a prescription diet from a kidney illness she was diagnosed with early-on in her life as a domesticated cat. The prescription diet will help her keep it in check, but the vet also warned that stress could trigger a relapse.
Then, our condo sold super fast and we couldn't find a house that we loved in Conservancy Place, a community along conservancy land in my hometown...but we did find a lot, so we decided to build. In that time, Sophie was transplanted from her home two different times, subjected to a multicat household, and...she adapted...very well, actually.
Not long after we moved into the new house, it was time for Nick's mom to take her annual leave of winter and head to Florida. We watched her cat, Krystal, while she was away. I was sad to see her go because the cats were in such harmony. Sophie acted differently after Krystal was gone. She became very clingy (almost suffocatingly so). She's never been a cat to suffer from separation anxiety in the past, but after a year living with multiple cats followed shortly by a 2-month play-date with another cat, I think being an only cat started to suck.
So, we're looking for another cat to rescue.
A lot of buildup for that one statement, eh? We've had Sophie eight years (she is eight-and-a-half years old) as of last month, so this has been a years' long thought process.
What are we getting ourselves into?
Saturday, November 1, 2014
(This picture is from June, so don't be thinking we're negligent parents for letting our ward walk around without a proper coat in the steadily-falling, late-autumn temperatures!)
Sophie, Sophie, Sophie. You all know by now that she has Nick and me completely whipped, and we all but worship her. (Okay.
She lived with her grandma Joan, Nick's mom, for a few months (enough time for her to put Joan under her spell too, I think), because we were worried how she would be with other cats in residence—our subterranean loft living arrangement came with three cats already included. I was trying to be unselfish with the situation; I wanted the best for Sophie even though I missed her like crazy. Upon returning home from a week of travel (for work) in 2013, Nick surprised me by reuniting our little family. Sophie was back with us, and I don't think she stopped purring for more than a couple minutes that first night.
Best of all, she has adapted well to life with other cats. She is actually quite chummy with a couple of them, leading Nick to continually paraphrase Shawshank Redemption: "...thick as thieves, them two are!" Now it presents a new problem for us since language continues to be a barrier, meaning that Sophie cannot tell us herself: should we get her a companion when we move? Will she now be lonely only having dopey humans (who leave her alone all day long) available for socializing?
We've been waffling for months. I know people who bring home new cats and it disrupts the peace in the household with the existing animal(s). Lord knows we melt and make mewling sounds when we see kittens, but we need to make sure that if we adopt another cat that it is for Sophie, not us. She's our baby, after all!
Meanwhile, I've got rescued Maine Coons on my radar...my love for the "gentle giants" of the cat world has only grown since knowing and loving our Sophie. Stay tuned for the developing story, I suppose...I'm pretty sure I can make out the writing on the wall though.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
It's been a few years since my last big move. When I moved in with Nick, it was so gradual that I barely noticed that it happened…and the process was accelerated when I became ill and could no longer drive back and forth between abodes. (Nick wanted to take on the task of changing my dressings so that he could still see me every day...he took excellent care of me.)
When we received an offer on our condo that was very close to our minimum acceptable amount, it came with the requirement to be out by the end of the month—pretty stressful when a third of the month was already gone. That, and we both carry a lot of work stress…we rely on a worry-free home to keep us sane.
So anyway, I'm left comparing the two moves even though one was a relocation of 1,200 miles and the other of 10. For what I've saved in distance, I've made up for in the accumulation of stuff. In the last seven years, I've discovered my preferred decorating style and purchased accordingly. It's a lesson though to be careful on what you wish for: I looked at our storage shelves in the basement several months ago and thought, "Man! I need to move! I've got too much stuff!" You see, I moved several times in my 20s…which forced me to live with minimal possessions for reasons of moving-laziness.
We sold our condo both slower than I hoped and faster than I expected. It was so quick that I stopped looking at houses after the one we fell in love with sold. (Why get your heart set on something you probably won't be able to have?) Now we are (or will be soon) homeless. We will be staying with family while we figure out next steps and save for a bigger downpayment. Sophie may or not move with us, I'm not sure. She's been staying with Grandma the last month or so for many reasons related to the craziness of showings and stacks of boxes EVERYWHERE.
There are other cats living where we will be staying. Sophie has been an only cat most of her life—and she's female. The two together scream TERRITORIAL! even though I don't know that for sure. Our cat has issues with anxiety, so we work pretty diligently to keep her all "calm blue ocean" every day (or she actually becomes ill). We visited her tonight at Grandma's house, and she seems to be adjusting well there. I miss my Sophie in day-to-day life, but I question the direction that's best for her instead of me.
SO, I'm really sore and achy, I'm tired, I'm nervous, and I'm ready to be done with boxes for a very long time.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Yep, you guessed it: another melting pot of a post.
Did you know that June 1 is just over 15 weeks away? No? Well, why would you—unless you have a walking marathon to complete that day like I do. I fell into LDW (long-distance walking) last year. This was after I decided to think with my head instead of my heart when it came to high-impact exercise and the structural issues with my spine. The doctors had been suggesting it for years, but I was too proud to admit my body wasn't the well-oiled machine that it used to be. And in true human fashion, I focused on what I couldn't do instead of what I could. That all changed when I discovered long distance walking.
Anyway, Nick and I completed the Walk Wisconsin half-marathon last year. We made it into a local newspaper when we kissed at the finish line on stage:
We made a pact to complete the full marathon this year, and our [self led] 16 week training program commenced on Monday. We can use the walking track at the rec center until the weather is a little nicer (16 laps to a mile), but we need to find an outdoor venue this weekend to complete the scheduled 10-mile walk because I'm pretty sure that I'll go insane during one of those 160 laps.
I suck at romance—seriously do. Nick is the romantic one of our pair. I admitted my failings yesterday as I sat in the salon with foils in my hair. When I approached the chair with my request for highlights (since my hair keeps going back to blonde anyway, might as well go with it), Jean (my hairdresser of the last eight years) looked upset. "You can't do that! Not yet! It's still fun season with your hair!" she cried. I couldn't tell if she was joking, so I just stared. "Do you trust me?" she asked at last. Since I do, she waved her magic wand and gave me pretty, copper-kissed lowlights instead. I'm getting the feeling that my brunette stylist is bored by my blonde.
Anyway, I told her of my unromantic tendencies and she started going on about ideas from Facebook and Pinterest and blah, blah, blah. Finally, she got to the point and suggested a trick with hard-boiled eggs to make them look like hearts. "You could give that to Nick!"
I couldn't stop the snort. Happy Valentine's Day, honey! Here's an egg to show you how much I care! "Or you could just go home and be yourself, I guess. He's probably used to you by now anyway," she finished sarcastically when I finished laughing.
New Coffee Mug
I take a lot of pills. I don't like it, but…
I take Ultram four times daily for chronic pain. This doesn't have a huge effect on me, but it definitely takes the edge off and allows me to function fairly normally. Since all this fell into my lap in August 2006, I am a little afraid of anything that totally takes the pain away because that's such a nice, addicting feeling. I have heavier narcotics and muscle relaxers in my arsenal for when the hurt is way out of my pain tolerance (I refer to them as my "escalation drugs"). The point is that doctors have stopped trying to find a fix, so they try to make me as comfortable as I can be (i.e. medication). I'm hoping to see a doctor in a couple months who will give me another option, but it is what it is for now.
Anyway, I try to make light of it as much as I can. As such, I couldn't resist purchasing this coffee cup when I saw it:
I like laughing, and this makes me laugh: I actually take chill pills—DAILY!
Since all this moving madness started, Nick and I, for the first time ever I think, started watching Home and Garden Television. Apparently we've had the channel all along! Anyway, HGTV has approximately a bajillion shows on real estate…it's a new obsession for us. Property Brothers in particular is very nice to watch.
Bonus Dose of Cuteness
Sophie doesn't know how to be anything but adorable. It stinks when you really want to be angry with her.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
One post-per-week seems to be all that I am capable of producing lately, so I'm going to steal it for myself instead of dedicating it to Sophie even though it's Sunday and all—call me a bad cat-mom, I know I deserve it. I've actually been trying to think of ways to keep this site updated regardless of the time (or lack-thereof) I have available to write. Maybe a weekly summary is the way until life calms down a bit.
So, last week was crazy.
I think those are my two main topics. As for the rest…
There you go: my week in a single exhalation.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
So, Nick and I are in the process of selling our condo to buy a house (thus why I haven't been posting much lately and probably won't for awhile…BUSY!). I am worried that the condo will be on the market for a long time—mainly because I'm already exhausted from following after Nick and Sophie to keep everything just so (and the listing hasn't even been published yet).
Apparently, neither of them are sensitive to even the smallest of messes (like I am). I realize it's an illness, I do, and I tamp it down most of the time. The game is different now: other people will be coming in to scrutinize everything. I've handed over the reins to the perfectionist for the time being.
Nick, noting my toil, said jokingly, "Maybe Sophie and I should live with my mom until the condo sells?"
I rolled my eyes, "Nobody would buy the reason for that—your mom would wonder if we're having relationship issues."
(Nick) "Like she'd believe that you would let me keep the cat."
(Me) "Good point."
Sunday, January 20, 2013
I work from home on those rare occasions when I do not have meetings. I assume I will have less distraction working from home, but I have this gray fluffy thing to contend with.
I worked from home last Friday…and to mitigate the risk of Sophie-Jo (what I call her when the impish side of her personality shines through), Nick folded a chenille blanket over the old (read: well-loved) recliner in our living room.
WORKED LIKE MAGIC…bless the ADD that afflicts all of cat-kind.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Nick's mom took care of Sophie while we were in Chicago. I stupidly left out tubes of tuna-flavored hairball remedy paste on the kitchen counter with a note explaining that Sophie has been getting sick lately (hairball season). I was trying to make the task convenient for Joan and in the process forgot that I have a non-discerning glutton for a cat.
We returned to a note explaining that the tubes were in the refrigerator and to "…guess why." I opened the door and saw the tubes riddled with indentations and holes from Sophie's teeth. I growled and muttered to myself while I covered the damage with tape.
Nick tuned out my tantrum…Sophie wrapped herself around my ankles and begged for food. Vacation was definitely over: life had returned back to normal in one fell swoop.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Sophie was eager to see what Santa Claus left in her stocking this year!
He usually hooks her up with
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