Monday, August 04, 2008

Tell It To The Foot

Sorry, loyal readers, I know it's been a while. What can I say? My new job's a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it's sure nice talking to you. Actually, I don't have a new job, and the kids just have mild cases of sunburn from days at camp with teenage counselors who can show them all kinds of nifty ways to make friendship bracelets, but can't seem to remember that one application of sunscreen doesn't really make it all the way from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Although it is nice talking to you, and the title of the song plagiarized above is actually pretty appropriate for recent events at our house.

If you would have told me, back in March, when we were driving up the Jersey Turnpike with a little kitten named Olive sitting next to Gwen in a carrying case, that just about four months later we would be making the same trip - another kitten sitting next to Gwen in another carrying case - I guess I would have been willing to bet just about anything that you'd be wrong.

And yet, that's exactly where we found ourselves last Saturday, making the long drive home from our breeder, the benevolent source of allergy-free Siberian Forest Cats. Yes, it's true, Olive did indeed prove to be a gateway drug, and while we haven't exactly changed the narcotic, we did up the dosage. Doubled, to be exact.

Unlike the months-long wait for Olive, this one came up pretty quick. Whether or not our little four-legged friend wanted some feline companionship had been a topic of discussion around here for the last month or so, and I have to admit there was something a little sad about mobilizing as a family and leaving our little fifth Beatle behind, the whole lonely place to herself, for a few hours or the better part of a day.

So a couple of weeks ago we e-mailed our breeder, asking about getting on the list for another kitten. Turns out they had one new arrival who was not spoken for - same parents as Olive, subsequent litter. They were thinking of keeping this one, but after receiving another kitten from Russia, they had reluctantly decided to let her go, and would we want it?

Took us about a day to resolve to move ahead and welcome a new family member. This expedited process was great from the standpoint of efficiency, but unfortunately it only gave us a very short window of time during which to use the line, "I swear, if you don't stop [whatever objectionable thing you happen to be doing] RIGHT NOW we will NOT get this cat!" as a disciplinary technique with the girls, which was sort of like buying a gun very short on bullets. We did our best to get our money's worth, before delivering to Olive some prized companionship.

And as she sat up there on her perch by the window wondering how in the world to thank us, chasing this little fur-ball all over the house and hissing warnings and admonitions - when she wasn't full-on attacking - must have seemed like a pretty good idea, because that's what we've been dealing with since we made our formal introductions a couple of days after the new one, an absolutely amazing and adorable creature we're calling Orly, arrived.

To be fair, it's getting better. The cats have staked out their respective territory and seem to be adjusting to life together. Orly was never really too engrossed in Olive and what she was doing, except for when her life was in peril. Olive has been watching, and moving, and wondering what exactly was going on and where this new arrival came from for most of the week, but seems to be coming to peace with her new state of affairs. We've taken to screaming, "WE DID THIS FOR YOU!!!" when swatting our first-born feline off her much smaller prey, and the message appears to be sinking in.

As I was driving home from work Thursday night with a big mondo order of take-out Chipotle for the family, I noticed an incoming Google Talk message from Gwen and looked down at my BlackBerry to find this:

"the cats were laying together on madison's bed - touching tails and paws - no hissing"

Which was followed immediately by a smiley-face emoticon, probably the nicest and most meaningful one I've ever seen. Additional details most definitely to follow. Until then, it's been sure nice talking to you.


Blogger Vanessa Shannon said... cute. My son is so allergic to cats which hurts because I ADORE kitty's. He is however taking allergy injections so maybe 4 years from now we can get a little doobie to join our family. I am quite certain we could not afford your brand of hypo-allergenic cat so I will just have to enjoy your pictures and stories! Thanks for sharing.

11:30 AM  
Blogger GrannyDiane said...

It is always better to have a companion for your feline, I learned over the years. Double the trouble, double the food bill, double the litter boxes and litter, but, oh, so worth it!! Mine have given me so much joy and entertainment over the years.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think they have some innate knowledge that they're related? I'll be interested to read about how their relationship blossoms. We added a cat several years ago (mostly because she showed up at our house and wouldn't go away), and she and the elder kitty have had a very uneasy truce---which frequently still involves some of that gutteral, in-the-throat, "I'm going to kick your_____" growling on the part of the older cat. I hope it's keeping her young and spry, but maybe it's just stressing her out.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I threw an adorable kitten (now 15) in with a 7-year-old that I adopted when she was 5. My older cat camped out under the bed for about 3 days without coming out for anything, as far as I could see. The next day I came home and they had made friends with each other.

So I understand the smiley-face emoticon very well. Although Cleo tried to smother little Sophie in a paper bag one day, but that's another story...

2:47 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Some friends of mine have two cats, and let me say that the times they fight are very similar to what you've described, but are always followed by a long period of peace.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Lydia said...

I haven't been by your blog for awhile and, having caught up - especially on THIS post - I must say it's been sure nice reading you! It's impossible for me to describe how much my cats have meant to me, ever since the age of 5, but what you've written here conjures up all the love, sheer delight, worries, and contentment attached to being owned by cats.

You absolutely MUST not miss these two YouTube videos. Feather and Shiva Lullaby highly recommend them to you. The first is the original, explained further in their "more comments" and the second is a terrific "translation" that even the original videographers recommend at their YouTube site. (sorry I've not learned how to create links in comment boxes...)



4:11 PM  

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