Back on the 14th of June, we took Shelly to the vet to have her kidney levels checked out and to see about a small lump on her side that was concerning me. She’s fine – the lump was nothing and her kidney levels are better than the vet expected them to be. Go Shelly!
One of the veterinary technicians is a veterinary liaison officer with one of the local cat rescues, so there are often “little wees” hanging around the office waiting for a forever home. In fact, the clinic encourages folks in the area to come up and “have coffee” or spend your lunch hour playing with them, because it helps to socialize them. They also participate in a foster-to-adopt program, which helps the kittens adapt to a home environment (the interaction with other pets and/or children is vital if the kitten is to be adopted) and helps potential adopters see if the kitten fits into their life and gets along with any existing pets.
So while we were there waiting (it was a busy day, and Shelly’s blood draw seemed to take forever) another gentlemen who had been waiting for his cat to get back passed us a kitten on his way out the door. She was a teeny, tiny thing – sound asleep, I didn’t think she’d even registered that she’d been handed off. She just made herself comfy in my lap and went back to sleep. She stayed for about fifteen minutes before getting up and walking to Husband’s lap. Where she remained until we left. When I came out of the exam room after Shelly’s checkup, I was greeted with this:
They know us pretty well there – they know that Alex works from home, and they are aware of everything he went through during Chewie’s last year of life to care for him. They teased us that we should take Alice home with us. “We have a foster-to-adopt program!” they sang. “It’s perfect! You have a rabbit, and her name is Alice. See?”
When we got ready to leave, Alex put Alice down on the counter. This finally woke her up. She walked the counter from him to me, me to him, staring at us with her big eyes. I folded up a copy of the foster-to-adopt agreement and put it in my bag, but we didn’t leave with a kitten. We discussed it Friday evening, and realizing that there was nothing to lose, really, by bringing her home for the weekend, we resolved to go and get her the next day.
The next morning, we called the clinic only to find that Alice had went home with another family. They were adamant that they couldn’t take her permanently, but it was a home for the weekend and the chance to hang out with three adult cats. Well, that was that. I really didn’t believe that they wouldn’t keep her or find her a home; Shelly had to have a follow up on Tuesday morning and Alex didn’t see Alice, so we assumed she was still with the fosters. So it wasn’t meant to be. It made me a little sad. She was so tiny and she had seemed to like us so much…but oh well.
Fast forward to last Tuesday night. I don’t remember what the conversation was – I honestly don’t even know how we got on the subject of kittens. I remember going to the AWL’s website and looking at Cinder, Smoke, Ash, and Brittany again. Alex was pushing me. He’ll deny it, but I was feeling a lot of pressure from him to get a kitten, specifically Cinder (she’s the one he liked best). Two things were stopping me, though: First, I don’t know what the AWL’s policy is if you bring a pet home and it doesn’t get along/fit in. I do know that he had gotten a female lop from them a couple of years ago, and when Baby tried to kill said lop, he was stuck trying to find the poor, sweet thing a home (which he did). And second…Alice seemed to really like us, where Cinder seemed to just be happy to be out of the cage. I said “We’ll sleep on it.” The next morning (June 19th) I called the clinic and asked about Alice. She was back at the vet. They told me to come get her.
We opened the carrier and Alice made herself right at home. Baby was mildly annoyed at first. By the end of the evening, though, she was mostly ignoring her.
Shelly was another story. She’d only ever been introduced to one kitten in her life – a tiny little stray I found in the middle of the road. She hissed and spat and swatted at it, and ran. For the four hours the kitten was in my home as we waited for a foster to pick her up (she wasn’t even weaned!) Shelly hid behind the refrigerator. I had hoped that the anti-anxiety medications would prevent this. But no, Shelly hissed and ran and was generally terrified. Thankfully that wore off. Shelly is now just angry and sullen. There has been no violence, really. But the kitten now tries to play with Shelle-Belle, and doesn’t understand why she’s just not interested. So far, Shelly hasn’t “come around” to the idea of having a kitten share our home. We’re still hopeful though. Mostly because Shelly hasn’t really tried to hurt the kitten, and she’s had opportunities.
In the week we’ve had her, Baby has defended her from Shelly (she had no intention of hurting her, but Baby didn’t know that) and tried to play with her kitten-style (a huge mistake, because now Alice thinks Baby is the “friendly cat” and wants to play with her constantly).
She’s a little bit of a spaz. She’s easily overstimulated when Alex, Shelly, and I are both up and moving about. She literally doesn’t know what to do with herself and so she runs between the two of us (or the three of us, or the four of us) swatting and biting and jumping. She’ll calm down as she gets older. She will also learn what is and is not appropriate behavior around Shelly and Baby – but only if we (and they) correct her consistently and it will take time.
So now we have this kitten.
I’m a little bit in love with her.