Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Lion!

According to his adoption papers, Lion is one year old today. 

Here, he's reflecting on his successful first year: he survived being born outdoors in a chilly Maine autumn, landed in the perfect foster home, and used every diplomatic maneuver in the book to get himself adopted by four nice cats and two people who try to do their best for them.

How delighted we are with him! Despite dire warnings from the folks at our cat hospital, Cat #5 is causing no fights or troublesome behavior from our other four. He's just a joy — but he's also developing an interesting, chatty adult personality that reminds me of our beloved, loudmouthed, computer-loving Persian Snalbert. This makes me happy indeed.

I want to thank Lion's foster mother, Connie, of Tales from the Foster Kittens, for relentlessly posting cute photos of him on my Facebook page until we surrendered and drove up to Maine in January to take him as a "foster kitten." The plan was that our mutual friend, Robin of Kitten Associates, would drive him from Boston to her shelter in Connecticut after a day or two with us. Things turned out differently.

One of Lion's first photos, taken by Connie.

Lion is a major reason why I'm fond of Facebook; I'd never have known he existed without it. When people ask how we came to have five cats, I say I'm connected to a dangerous network of cat rescuers online. And what amazing, kind, courageous, funny, wise people they are. They are the best.

Through Harris's shelter mom, Robin, I became Facebook friends with Kelly, who adopted Harris's handsome brother Buttons. We share stories about our cats and much more. When Kelly was in the market for a kitten, Robin showed Kelly (and me) photos of her friend Connie's latest fosters, Lion and his siblings. So I owe Robin and Kelly my thanks, too. Kelly adopted Lion's beautiful sister (named "Penelope Possum" after You Know Who). Hearing about her sweet, friendly ways made it harder to resist meeting Lion.

Photo: Tales from the Foster Kittens.

The photo is above is the first one that won my heart. Connie originally named him "the Cowardly Lion," because he was wild and skittish, but I could see everything I needed to know about him from his expectant expression here. Connie works miracles with skittish kittens and we have proof. 

 Photo: Tales from the Foster Kittens.

We weren't in the market for a fifth cat but some things are meant to be. I remember showing the photo above to my husband when we were in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. He asked me when I thought we'd have time to drive to Maine to see him. I'd caught him at either a very weak or very wise moment; I didn't know which. Then he changed his mind, and Lion was relegated to the most important item on my Christmas List (and Santa failed me).  

I had to keep that Thanksgiving conversation fresh in my mind for the first two months we had Lion because my husband kept insisting we couldn't keep him. I referred to Lion as "The Doubtful Guest." Now it's a mutual adoration society between those two. 

When Lion arrived, we realized that he didn't resemble his fluffy-wuffy baby photos. Robin and Kelly wondered if Connie had pulled a bait-and-switch with a shorthair. His coat, which had been thinned and shaved to remove burrs, grew back a few months ago. He is fluffier than ever and soft as silk.

Harris is still not 100% won over by Lion and declares this by stealing Lion's stuff. Here, he has just stolen Lion' collar from my desk and is gnawing it into submission in the next room. Harris planned to be the baby of the house but it didn't work out. You can see how annoyed he is.

Finally, I'm grateful to all of my readers who urged us to keep Lion and wrote thoughtful comments and emails. Robin, Kelly, Connie, and my readers listened patiently as my husband and I hemmed and hawed, hawed and hemmed. Why no one slapped me upside the head to knock some sense in there I'll never know. Now, I can't imagine why we were ambivalent at all. From Lion, I hope I've learned to listen to my heart. Otherwise, I can't be trusted to make a wise decision even when the answer is as clear as the pink nose on a furry white face. 

Happy birthday, Lion! We wish you many, many, many more.

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