A few weeks before Abbey died we visited Jeff and Felice, Rose’s sister and brother-in-law. Felice works for a vet and is active in helping stray and feral cats in the area. Her and Jeff have also adopted several “unadoptable” cats with physical problems.
The day we came for a visit she had two very young kittens that she was bottle feeding in her home for a local rescue organization. One kitten was a male that was all black. The other was a black female with calico markings over one eye. They both needed homes and would be ready for adoption in a few weeks.
Of course, with Abbey being sick, we were not ready to adopt another cat at that time. We did not want to bring any trauma into the house during the small amount of time Abbey had left.
It happened that Abbey died when the kittens were old enough to be adopted and the next day happened to be Saturday, the only day that is convenient for visiting Felice. Rose really liked the kitten and wanted to get him, and I agreed, but I was hesitant about it because I didn’t want to cheapen the memory of Abbey by replacing her so quickly. In the end I realized it is the circle of life and there is nothing wrong with giving a home to a kitten who needs one.
So on Saturday, we were off to pick up our new kitten. We visited for a while before taking him home and watched him interacting with the other cats in the house. He seemed to get along with at least one or two of the other cats as well as the other kitten that he was raised with. We felt a little bad taking him away from the only home he knew but we also knew that his stay there was only temporary. He needed a permanent home and we were confidant that he would be happy with us.
When we brought him home we expected some bad behavior from Chris and Tigger. They are cats after all and cats can be very jealous creatures. Tigger, as expected, did a fair amount of hissing when he saw the new arrival and quickly left the room in disgust. Chris, however, was just curious. When we opened the carrier door, Chris greeted the new kitten by sticking his head inside and blocking the only way out.
This went on for several minutes and the nervous kitten just huddled in the carrier and didn’t want to come out. When he did come out he did a little exploring, which Tigger was not happy about. Chris just followed him around and seemed happy to have the distraction. Eventually our kitten discovered the under side of the bed and decided that was a good place to stay for a while.
Felice and Jeff named him either Chow Chow or Chow Man. We heard him called by both names and we are not sure which one was his given name. It didn’t really matter because we didn’t like either one and decided to change it. The reason they gave him the name was because he loved meal time. This proved true when I tried to lure him out from under the bed with a little plate of wet kitten food. In his case, food easily trumps shyness.
After he ate he went back under the bed and that became his home away from home for a few days. Eventually he gave up his shelter. Tigger, for his part, gave the kitten hell for a week or two but then got over himself.
Part of the reason we wanted to get another cat goes back to about the time we first got Chris. He had so much energy and always wanted to play but none of our cats wanted to play with him. We thought we needed another cat with his energy level, if one even existed, to help keep him entertained so he would stop bothering us. At that time we had five cats, our limit, so one more was out of the question. There was also the possibility that another hyperactive cat could mean twice the trouble.
Since we moved into our latest home we discussed getting another cat from time to time. I thought if we did get one, it should be around Chris’s age so they would grow old at the same time. Our plan is to retire to a boat, motor home, or both, and old cats might work but a middle-aged, adventurous cat could be a problem in such a confined space. My plan, if we decided to get a cat, was to check shelters for a three-year old cat with ADHD. That opportunity never came up before we met the kitten that needed a home.
Our next dilemma was finding a good name for the newest member of our family. To be continued…