Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Now We Are Six

Mr. What's-His-Name came home with us from the Animal Rescue League this evening. He's had an eventful day, neutered in the morning and adopted in the evening.

But I am more shell-shocked than he is. He's purring and resting next to my husband in his quarantine room (husband's office), which we hastily set up as he cried for liberty from his carrier. I fished out the kitten-sized litter box from the back of a kitchen cabinet; we moved some furniture and covered some with towels; we brought in food, water, and toys; and tucked the lace curtains up high, safe from little claws. It was lucky that the pile of cables under my husband's desk was still blocked by a big piece of cardboard. We'd left it that way for Harris.

I'm reeling, I am. My husband met me at the shelter this evening; he hadn't gone with me yesterday. We spent a long time with the little guy, who lay quietly in our laps, purring. We explored our decision from every angle and we were both more than a little reluctant and scared. And I thought we had convinced ourselves that it was too risky to bring another kitten home to Wendy, who is just now getting back into her routine after adjusting to Harry. While I believe kittens should be in pairs, so they have playmates and lifelong close companions, Harry has a nice friend in Possum, even if Possum's idea of playing is to roll from side to side on his back after a toy instead of chasing it. And what would Possum think, having another protégé thrust upon him? We had no idea.

This kitten is also not the ideal baby I had imagined to complete our quartet someday. That one had big round "bug eyes" like Possum's, and long, fluffy silver or peach fur. This guy has little lion eyes, a clever face like a little bear, and a wild-looking (if surprisingly silky) dark coat. 

I reported to my husband on the talk I'd had with our vet this afternoon. She thought it was risky to upset Wendy and the new status quo, too, and said it would be hard to predict whether there'd be bad dynamics or behavior problems. It would all depend on the four individual personalities. It would be a gamble.

So, as the clock ticked toward closing time at the shelter, I thought we were walking away. I'd put the kitten back in his cage just as the volunteer photographer came over. She took his picture to post online, exclaiming about how cute he was. And we got our coats and prepared to leave him behind. 

Only we couldn't. We could not leave without him.

Life is short. Let there be cats! And cake! 

I don't take risks easily. I'm awful. I need to do some deep-breathing exercises after this post. I will worry about everything in the next few days, as the kitten lives in his quarantine room. I will worry about how to give all four cats the attention and time they want and deserve. I'll also worry about everyone's health and habits, and Wendy, and our furniture, and the cost of premium cat food, and traveling, and vet bills when they are all geriatric, and many more things.

I will try to remember that we have had four cats, in various permutations, for years. And all was well. (It helps to ruminate on families who have four — or more — children! Boggles the mind.) And four cats is truly enough; I've removed the Petfinder site from my bookmarks; my shelter-haunting days are done. I no longer imagine myself fostering cats or kittens, either, because I am too susceptible.

I don't think I'll worry about Possum. He's already been hanging out by the office door, tail high in the air, assessing his new accomplice. I think Harry will be okay with the new kid, too. Wendy is another story, but maybe Possum can bring her around again as he did with Harry.

It's going to be interesting. And if things don't work out, for some reason, the shelter encourages us to return him within 30 days for a refund. So there's a safety net, just in case all hell breaks lose. Ha.


  1. I'm having fun imagining what your family Christmas photo could look like now....the 2 little boys wrestling with one another, tumbling into Wendy who's responding with scowling hiss all while Possum is off to one side looking on benevolently.

  2. PB: He's absolutely gorgeous! I hope all works out with all concerned. Wendy seems to be generally very cautious, but not to really dislike other cats, so perhaps all will be well after awhile. FWIW, I have two now who took two years and two house changes to even be in the same room together.They'll never be friends, but at least now there's a grudging toleration. What a fun Christmas you'll have with all those babies!

  3. I would not have been able to resist him either! He is beautiful, in a wild cat kind of way. I hope the introductions go well. I know you have Wendy in your hearts and minds to be extra gentle with her at this time. I think Harry will have a great time w/another little one. Possum, he will accept this one with just as much dignity as he did little Harry. Enjoy them all.


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