It all started last December with an article in the local newspaper, saying that the animal shelter was overcrowded and were offering half-off on adoption fees. So, since mine beloved spouse had been languishing in the absence of a dog (a German Shepherd Dog, preferably of German working lines, to be precise), I went to the shelter’s website to take a look. Behold, there was a young female who looked great in her beauty shot. We called the shelter. She wasn’t at all workable for us, being super high-energy and not cat-safe. (GSDs have a high prey drive, so it takes a special individual dog – like one that’s been raised with cats and taught proper manners – to not regard them as Fun Things To Chase and Kill). While I was on the site, I noodled around the list of adoptable cats and saw a couple that reached out to my heart. I have a soft spot for tortoiseshells, and my long-time favorite cat was a dilute (gray) tortie.
Then up speaks Daughter Who Abides With Us, saying she has quietly harbored Kitten Lust since the Ragdoll kitty she brought with us died (FIP, Feline Infections Peritonitis, invariably fatal). She went looking on the web for another Ragdoll or similar breed and found one. A family conference ensued, replete with “I had no idea you wanted a kitten so badly” and “I didn’t want to be a burden” sorts of statements. Further research led us to not one but two kittens:
Sarah (Daughter Who Abides With Us) located a Maine Coon mix, a gorgeous red and white girl at a local private shelter. Bright red, unusual in a female, with golden eyes. I felt a certain loyalty to the public shelter, especially since they had a sweet little dilute tortoiseshell tabby (“torbie”) with only one eye. We called the private shelter, passed their application procedure with flying colors, and reserved her. Then we decamped to the public shelter to look at Pirate Girl.
(Note: we already have one one-eyed cat. Gayatri came to us from the same public shelter about a decade ago. From the damage to her eye and her extremely hand-shy behavior, we deduced it was traumatic. We had it surgically removed since that kind of physical injury often results in a highly aggressive cancer.)
Pirate Girl (aka “Cornelia,” now Freya, as in Odin’s wife) was timid at first but began to warm up to us quickly. Given everything she’d been through in her short life – her intake photo with a hugely swollen lesion on her eye, covered in fleas, with a cold and parasites, was truly pathetic – it was no wonder. We brought her home but isolated her in my office to give her time to adjust and get used to being in a house instead of a cage. After a week, she was making love to us, purring like mad, gobbling up the kitten food we provided, and trying to make a break for it whenever we opened the door. So we tried her in the general household, taking it step by step. (First put adult cats in bedrooms, let kitten roam free and smell where they’d been; reverse procedure; put kitten in dog crate with adults loose, observe them for hissing and other bad words; introduce under close supervision.) It turns out that Shakir, our male, about 10 years old, fancies himself a patient, indulgent grandfather to kittens. Before long, he and Freya were romping and curling up together. Gayatri (the Original Pirate Queen), not so much, but as she mostly hang out in Sarah’s room, the hissing was manageable.
Then came time to bring “Hallie” (Red Sonja, guess why) home. Poor girl, she was found
abandoned and turned into a different public shelter at only one month old, and was set to be euthanized the same day. Fortunately, one of their staff called the private shelter and they rescued her.
I bet you’re wondering where the ringworm comes in. Continue reading