I’m Going to Talk About My Cat

There wasn’t much mentioned about it at the end of 2010 because I had most of my last posts scheduled a month in advance, but my wife and I got a kitten in December.  She was 5 months old when we got her, which means by the time you’re reading this she’s very close to a year.  It’s a fun, cute story about how we ended up getting her, so I’m writing it here for posterity.

Above: The central character and her fish.

My wife kept wanting to go look at cats, because we had agreed to get one now that we live in an apartment that allows them.  We went to a place in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood called Paws: Cat City.  It’s moved, now (actually it moved only a week or two after these events), but the place was/is a great place to find a cat.  There’s a couple rooms with a bunch of rescued cats of all ages just chillaxing and playing, and you get to go in and pick one out.

Well, technically you’re supposed to fill out paperwork and talk with one of the volunteers first (they’re not a pound that’s trying to get rid of the cats as quickly as possible to avoid euthanasia–they have some very specific rules you have to agree to before you can take anything home, such as an agreement to not de-claw and being able to reasonably prove that you have the means to care for the animal).  Well, it was a Saturday, and we showed up about 15-30 minutes before they closed.  Since, under those circumstances, we couldn’t adopt that night anyway, they let us just go in and meet the cats.  After a bit, we both fell in love with a mostly-white, blue-eyed, 4.5-month old kitten that the shelter named Dori.  We left with warm fuzzies in our insides, excited to go get her the next day.

The next day was a Sunday, so we had church, and then we were also on to watch kids during a teaching series that afternoon, and THEN we had to rush to Best Buy to purchase a vacuum we wanted because the sale was ending, and we finally got to Cat City again by 4:00, an hour before they were to close.

I immediately noticed something was wrong . . . Dori’s paperwork was gone from the bulletin board.  So was the paperwork for several other cats from 24 hours prior, mostly those of the kittens.  There was just as much paper work there as before, actually more, but it was for mostly new cats, brought in that day.  I asked about Dori and they looked, “Hmm, yeah a couple came in this morning and were getting ready to take one cat, but then saw her and decided they wanted her, too.  They were the first ones out today.”

My heart broken, I bitterly filled out the paperwork with Dona and scowled at the volunteers as they explained to us that our work schedule was not “conducive” for caring for a young kitten.  “You shouldn’t leave a kitten alone for very long–the rule of thumb is one hour alone per month of age, so a three-month-old cat shouldn’t be left alone for more than three hours, unless you have another cat to be with it.”  I’ll point out, too, that these people mentioned that other shelters wouldn’t care so much, but they’re very picky about to whom they give cats.

Well, a second cat was absolutely out of the question, so we were stuck with an older cat.  I angrily shuffled into the rooms with the cats and looked at all the fat, lazy felines lying around on pillows and cat trees that couldn’t care less that I was there.  Well then I can’t care less about them.  To compound the problem, only minutes after walking into the cat room, there was a couple that was there before us that decided to adopt the 6-month old black kitten that my wife really liked from the night before.  Now, I’m not much for owning a black (or all-white, or all-grey) cat anyway . . . they just look boring . . . but that was the only backup I could think of.  And now HE was gone.

After about ten minutes of getting angry at all the older cats (for being lazy AND some of the slightly better ones that were “bonded” with another cat, so you couldn’t adopt one without adopting the other one to which it was bonded), I walked into the separate kitten room against my better judgment.  A little 3 1/2-month old grey kitten I stooped down to pet climbed up my leg, leapt onto my shoulder, and then took hold there, even when I stood up.  That guy was awesome.  But 3 1/2 months?  They’d never let me do it, and I couldn’t lie about what kind of time we had to spare to spend with a cat.  I looked at some of the other kittens, all of them about 4 months, a few I recognized from the night before.

At this point I was figuring my wife could come home on lunch breaks, if it was that important, to be with the cat just to save us from getting a 3-year-old “Ms. Fatty-kins.”  I proposed this and Dona accepted.  Then I looked over to a plastic chair and saw a slightly older kitten, a grey tabby with white and yellowish highlights, relaxing by herself.  The name on her collar was “Tribeca.”  I petted her and picked her up, and she immediately laid her head over my arm and relaxed.  After about a minute I put her down to look at the other kittens some more, and Dona picked up Tribeca and she did the same thing.

This is the one we want.

Right about that time I heard the workers there tell another customer that they would be closing in 20 minutes and would not be doing any more adoptions that night.  “We can put an adult cat on hold, sure, but its against our policy to put a kitten on hold.”

Dona was playing with Tribeca and didn’t hear any of that.  A few minutes later she gave me the look that said, “I want this one!” and I told her what I had heard.  We were sunk–losing two cats in one weekend.  I stepped out into the office area to look at their hours.  They would be closed on Monday, and would open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Tuesday.  There was NO way Dona or I would be able to make it back until the next Saturday, and if ONE kitten we liked was gone that quick, this one would certainly not last past lunch time on Tuesday. I double checked, “so you guys won’t put a kitten on hold?”

“No, sorry.  We’ll put an adult cat on hold, but the younger ones go too quickly to justify it.  Will we see you on Tuesday?”

“No.  With your hours we can’t come back in until Saturday.”

The lady nodded in a mildly sympathetic fashion, as if to say, “Yeah, that’s unfortunate.”

I was furious.  I demanded contact information for a different shelter, trying not to be a jerk but let it be shown that I’m very upset about their policies.  She politely handed me the information and we walked out, taking the long way around the building to our car out back so that we wouldn’t have to walk past the window of the room with the kittens in it.

Dona didn’t completely understand why we couldn’t get her.  I think she was expecting some kind of logic when in reality it was a series of arbitrary rules.  Now, I have known my wife for nearly 9 years.  We were very good friends, not just acquaintances, in the years prior to us dating and getting married.  I know her better than probably anybody (though my mother-in-law would probably object to that).  I’ve seen her in a wide range of emotions, and Dona is not one that puts on shows.  I will never–NEVER–forget the look of complete heartbreak and despair in her eyes when it became clearer and clearer with each step that we were not taking Tribeca home–not tonight, not ever.  She was not furiously letting go like I was trying to.

“But I don’t understand.  Why can’t we get her?”  Her voice was almost shaking.

“It’s their rules!  I don’t know why they won’t let us put her on hold, but that’s what they said.  It’s stupid.”

“Did you push?  Did you insist?”

“What? No!  They have their policies, and they’re ridiculous.  We’re not coming back here; I’m not dealing with this again.”

“But I really liked Tribeca.”

“I did too, but we can’t get her.”

“Can we push?”

“I don’t want to deal with them right now.”

“Can we please push?”  That was the key moment–the moment when looking at my wife’s face I knew that I was either going to forever regret walking the last 50 feet to our car, or I was going back in there.

I made a straight cut across a back lot and came around the corner and walked in just minutes before they locked up for the evening.

“Oh, hi!  Is there something else we can do for you?”

I thankfully remembered to not open it up on them, but to stay calm before I spoke.  “Yeah, look–we came in and the cat we wanted was already gone.  Well now we’ve fallen in love with Tribeca and due to work we can’t make it back in until Saturday, and since she’s a kitten we can’t put her on hold.  We’ve already discussed how we can work out our schedules to come home for lunch to spend time with her during the day.  Is there any way we can work something out?”

The woman who was obviously in charge looked at the other two women, clearly touched.  One of the other ladies, with much the same expression, asked, “Have we put away the paperwork for today?”

She checked, “No.”  She looked back at me with a smile, “Okay, we’ll stay late for you.”

Dona walked in right at that moment and I gave her a knowing look.  We breathed a collective sigh of relief.  The lady who had handed me the information on the other shelters came near me to get the cat’s paperwork from the bulletin board and whispered with a big smile, “I’m glad you came back.”

We did the rest of the paperwork, paid the fee, they demonstrated how to clip her claws, commented on how well behaved she was, and got everything ready for us.  We were very happy.  Funny how one’s mood can change so quickly.  That was a pretty fun walk to the car (and rather triumphant, too, in a husbandly sense.)

So obviously the name “Tribeca” had to go.  We already had a name picked out for the previous cat, so we gave it to her.  “Aurora.”  But “Rory” for short.  The name is simply the name of the street that Dona and I first lived together on.  Or off of, rather.  Just something that was significant to the both of us and also worked as a name.  (So no, it is NOT a Gilmore Girls reference; I’ve never even seen that show).

I’d like to avoid the sappy happy-ending epilogue about how “she’s been such a blessing to our lives” and how “we couldn’t imagine life without her.”  That stuff is true, but c’mon, that’s cheesy and predictable.

So in the months since, we’ve enjoyed a cat trying to take over our pillows at night (usually Dona’s), waking us up in the morning by playing with her tail in the curtains or batting at the power cable for the alarm clock.  We’ve lost a significant amount of toilet paper, kept boxes and plastic bags and newspapers and wadded-up pieces of paper on the floor of our living room for way longer than we ever should, and wasted dozens of gallons of water by setting the sink faucet on a trickle to keep her entertained as we take showers.  She loves it when our neighbors stop to say hi to her as they walk by our first-floor-apartment windows, loves to go for rides on spinning chairs or on a rug or in a laundry basket dragged across the floor, and gets excited when we leave a blanket hanging over a couch or pillow so she can have a fort.  She has managed to learn to open sliding doors and the cabinets under the sinks.  She loves sitting in front of my computer monitor (which, ironically enough, she didn’t do at all as I wrote this).  She enjoys chasing that thing you just threw down the hallway but doesn’t know what to do when she catches up to it.  She meows endlessly at closed doors as if she deserves to go in there.  She’s not a lap cat (yet), but she’ll lay near us when we’re reading or something and reach out a paw to touch us before she falls asleep.

I never minded cats to begin with, but I’m 100% sold on this one.

I could include some pictures, but honestly wouldn’t some videos be better?  When I became unemployed again in March, my time at home early on consisted of being endlessly amused by Rory.  Add to that a new camcorder and a wife at work who loves getting photos of the cat from home to help her get through the day, and I’ve got a sad little collection going.  So go ahead and think whatever you want to think of me, but enjoy the videos.

—————–
Since, at the end of everything, I have nothing but good things to say about Paws, I feel like I should provide some of their information.  So here’s their website:

http://www.paws.org/

Just be sure to get there in plenty of time before they close.

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One response to “I’m Going to Talk About My Cat

  1. Loved this story! Good job documenting it all :o) Rory is adorable!

    Oh, and I think you should watch Gilmore Girls. Rory is the best! :o)

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