OMG GAIS I HAS FOUND A KITTEH ON MAI DOORSTEP!
NO SRSLY! DIS B HOW TEH STORY GHOS. *
* BUT WE IS STOP WIT TEH LOLZ SPEEK KAY? I KOOD KEEP DIS UP ALL DEY, BUT I DUNNOWS BOUT U, C. U MAY KNOT B SEW AWESUM!
Okay, so. Here’s the scene: Tuesday, early evening, about 5-ish. The dogs are starting to work themselves into a frothing frenzy in anticipation of dinner, which is usually served at 5:30. As I’m walking through the living room, massaging my throbbing temples – having just spent the afternoon playing stimulating mind games with the cabin feverish dogs, which left me more mentally exhausted than them, a headache of epic proportions was in the works – I hear a meow coming from…somewhere. Somewhere on the “dog side” of the house, where normally the only animal noises one should hear is barking and such.
(Yes, we have a “dog side” and a “cat side”! The rooms in our house are arranged such that you can divide the house in half by closing the office and living room doors. Or gating them; we usually do a combination of the two. And on the rare occasions when we need/want to leave those doors open, Ozzy has his own dedicated room on the “cat side” – the doorway to which is blocked from the dogs by a large wooden box we made specially for the purpose. Ozzy can clear it; the dogs, not so much. Double protection: score! Anyway, it’s AWESOME! We were so lucky to find this place. The only thing it’s missing is a basement…which can be a BIG THING when you live in Tornado Alley. But I digress.)
At first, I thought that Ozzy had slipped through while the dogs and I were playing games on “his” side of the house. It was difficult to tell where the meowing was coming from: not only were the dogs being rather noisy, but sounds tend to bounce off our concrete floors and mostly-empty walls. After herding the dogs into another room, I started searching the house for a wayward cat, which by this time I was fairly certain was not Ozzy. (Hey, a mom can recognize her kid’s meow/bark/chirp, yes?) Closets, cupboard, corners: no cat. Finally, I had the bright idea (cue: duh moment) to check in on Ozzy; yup, napping on his chair, just as he should be. I chalked the mystery meows up to my headache and/or imaginations.
Later on, after feeding the dogs, I plopped down in front of the tv with a snack. (Ice cream, natch.) After not two minutes, I heard the meowing again; this time, over both the din of the television and the dogs. LOUD and INSISTENT. In that moment, it clicked: there must be an animal outside in trouble! Back into the bedroom with the dogs, who were Not. Happy. to be there. (Bark, bark, BARK. Whimper, whine, sniff-scratch-sniff. BARK!)
By this time, it was obvious that the animal was lurking outside the front door. Not really knowing what to expect – should I put my shoes on? coat? will I need to chase the little guy, wrestle him into a carrier maybe? – I opened the door, and..in he walked. Strutted, more like it. Like he already lived here. As though he’d done so a million times before. Meow, meow, meow. “Feed me, mommy!” Freaking. Adorable.
Our first photo of kitteh, taken on the night of his arrival. Kitteh – who looks to be a gray British Shorthair – stretches out on the recliner in Shane’s hobby room. Back in the lap of luxury!
And so feed him I did. He was a little unnerved by all the crazy dog noises coming from the other end of the hallway, but not enough to want back out or – gasp! – ignore the food I offered him. Kitteh was even bold enough to follow me around the house while I served him.
Think about that for a moment: you’re a tiny, eight-pound cat. On your own in “the wild” for who knows how long. Sleeping in abandoned buildings, catching your own food. It’s cold and snowy outside. You’re surrounded by coyotes and foxes, who would love to nom on your belly. You used to have a human family to protect you from all this, but one day they put you out. Stopped answering the door. Disappeared. You don’t know what went wrong! So in between hunting and napping and fending for your own self, you go to other doors, on other houses, hoping that one will open to you. Let me in! The days go by, the snow falls, the water freezes. You grow thinner and colder and hungrier. Maybe lonelier, too. Still no family.
But one night, after begging for hours, a door does open for you! Inside is a nice, warm house. Strange, but warm. And there’s a human, too! You smell and hear a bunch of nasty dogs, and – wait! – is that another male cat’s scent you detect? But still, anything is better than spending another winter night outdoors. So in you walk, bravely. Boldly. Hopefully.
You really have to admire the little guy’s spunk. How do you think you would fare, if thrust into a similar situation?
It’s pretty obvious that kitteh was – at one time – someone’s “pet.” He’s house trained and litter trained, friendly and trusting with people, and even relatively good with – if cautious of – other cats and dogs. In the almost five days that we’ve had him, he hasn’t yet scratched the furniture or peed anywhere but his box. He’s a bit of a loud mouth and is constantly demanding food. He enjoys being petted, but would rather you give him some kibble, dammit! (This is a hard one; though not emaciated, kitteh is most definitely underweight, and so it’s hard to know how much he should be eating. I don’t want his little tummy to ache, but I don’t want him to get fat and lazy like the other animals around here.) We moved a guest bed into the “cat side” of the house, so Shane could stay with him at night. During days, he takes his laptop to that side of the house to work.
“OH YAY, I HAS MY OWN BED, BUT WAT ‘BOUT TEH BOCABURGRRRS?”
Kitteh went straight to the vet on Wednesday morning, where it was determined that he does not have a microchip inside of his person. He does, however, have a buttload of parasites. Literally! (Oh, how I crack myself up. I also recycle jokes, a fact no doubt not lost on my FB friends.) Kitteh also has one cracked tooth which will need to be extracted, as well as two little kitten balls that look like fuzzy, plush pom poms. I could make a flying spaghetti monster on his bum, y’all! Otherwise, he’s good and healthy, if a little underweight. (At 7.8 pounds, he could stand to gain another couple of lbs.)
As a result of said parasites, he and Ozzy have to be stay separated for a week or so. (And Shane gets to clean double the litter boxes, oh joy!) We’ve alternated letting Ozzy and Kitteh have the run of the “cat side” of the house, keeping the other segregated in a smaller room while the other is out and about. This kind of sucks for Ozzy, but not too much; he’s a layabout anyhow. The two seem a little wary of one another, what with the occasional hiss through gates and under doors, but I think each just wants to be left alone.
The dogs are another story; individually they’re mostly okay, but in a pack, they all want their kitteh nomz! Everyone, that is, except for Jayne – she’s a cat stalker. I’m hoping that one good (but non injurious) swipe across the face will take care of her cat fetish. Ozzy is declawed – this was well before I was in the picture, and before Shane knew better – so he never had the chance to do Jayne like that. Perhaps new kitteh is our last best chance at a dog-cat peace treaty in the Garbato-Brady household?
Jayne (top) and O-Ren (middle) waiting, watching, quivering and barking at Lemmy (bottom) through the baby-gated office door. We’ve tripled-bagged this area: there’s a baby gate, draped in a blanket (which the dogs can’t see through, obvs), coupled with the door. Little Lemmy can balance on the gate, can you believe it?!
New Kitteh, by the way, does have a name: Lemmy. (Shane’s pick, after the singer in Motörhead. And yes, Ozzy is so named after Ozzy Osbourne.) Which implies that we’ve decided to keep him…but if you were to ask either Shane or I, we’d say that we’re still deciding. Waffling, is more like it. Which I predict we’ll do for one, two, six months, until New Kitteh is as good as family. We really hadn’t planned on adopting another cat after Ozzy – see: the previous paragraph – but again, maybe New Kitteh will get on better with the dogs than Old Kitteh?
Our search for Lemmy’s old family has hit a dead end. No microchip, no lost cat listings – not in the local pennysaver, nor on any of the community billboards in nearby stores. We’re fairly certain that he belonged to our neighbors across the way. (Yes, the same ones whose son drove his car into our pond last summer!) Rumor has it that they moved in December due to a foreclosure. We know for certain that they had a dog, a goofy yellow lab; and Shane and I both remember a gray cat hanging out on their lawn, though this could just be our imaginations, filling in the blanks. But still, it’s a good possibility. Most likely they left the cat behind when they moved (probably to a rental that didn’t allow cats). Which means that poor little Lemmy has spent two months – two of the worst months, Missouri winter-wise – alone outdoors.
In other words, he’s one sorry sack. And if there’s anything I have a soft spot for… (See: Kaylee, Jayne and one-eyed Ralphie.)
That, and I’m reluctant to burden already-overburdened rescues with yet another cat. So Lemmy is as good as ours, I think.
Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Now for moar kitteh pictures!
ALL OF UR FOOD, U WILL GIVES EET 2 ME!
NO, MOAR. I NO U B HOLDEN OUT ON ME. NOT FUNNEH.
NOW UR JUS PISSIN ME OFF, LAYDEE!
PURRRHAPS MAI SEXAY KITTEH STRUT WILL CONVEINCE U?
DATS WAT I THOT. WAT DID I TELL U? RESISTENCE, IT B FUTILE.
WAIT. WAT B DAT NOIZ? U STASHIN NOTHER KITTEH OVER DER?
DUN WORRAY KITTEH! I’S WILL COME 2 RESQ U!
(“LIBERATE U OF UR FOOD” B MOAR LYKE IT. TEEHEEHEE!)
WAT U LOOKIN AT HOOMAN? STORY B OVER.
U GO SEW I’S CAN HAVE MAI ZZZZZZ’S, MKAY.