THE CAST OF CATS:
Black Kitty: very small, black with grey undertones, medium coat, male, green eyes; 14 weeks old; traumatic childhood; from the city animal shelter.
White Kitty: small to medium, white, part Siamese, short coat, female, blue eyes; 9 weeks old; childhood unknown, has brother; from another shelter by way of a local pet store.
Inverting Charles Dickens:
“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times...”
The Worst of Times:
I passed on this kitty once in the company of a generous, animal-loving uber driver who took me to various places in my search, after not having a pet for five years. I looked at other kitties, giving up one sweet young cat to a very nice couple wanting a female, rarer among available shelter animals. I went back for him the next day with my friend Ben and his younger daughter. The staff told me more than they had before I returned, about how and where he was found, how he lived with not one, but two different foster moms, and how they had just today given him a tranquilizers, a practice I didn't want to continue. A compassionate staff member who had taken care of him before soon had him purring on her chest, after he growled when she retrieved him from under a bench, telling me we might be a good match. My ears skimmed over the part when she said he would not be the kind of cat who would greet me at the door. I was thinking eventually, maybe. After two weeks of spending time with him, bringing his bowl closer to me before he ate there, I decided I was not patient enough for this little guy. At the end, I put my hand out, gently, slowly, trying to touch him. He took off running immediately. Someone who kept for him for several more weeks may have convinced him not to bolt. I thought, just bring him back--it's not working out, why wait any longer? My friend Ben came over to "help" me put him in the carrier, and (2) to ease my emotional guilt and sadness with the return of the little critter. The cat turned into a spitfire. We stayed relatively calm while the kitten broke out of first one, then another carrier like a tiny, ill-tempered super-beast, with much hissing, growling and even a bit of proverbial black fur-flying. Standing close to them, but not looking directly at the interaction, I heard Ben, more of dog person than a cat fancier, say, "BITE? You're biting me?" Oh, shit, I see blood dripping, and Ben asks, "Do you have a Band-Aid? No. We used paper towels to wrap up his thumb, and tape to seal both the bound injury and the cardboard cat carrier against further feline assault.
At the shelter, Ben announces his injury, but that he doesn't want to report it. Oh, yes, you have to, they insist, because this kitty cat is going into quarantine for 90 days, after which he is likely to become a barn cat, with their no kill policy. Too distracted to read the documents, and too pissed off to say goodbye to the still-enclosed cat, Ben told me that in signing the papers I was giving away all rights to keep up with the cat's future. I hoped I hadn't blown my friendship, losing all rights to keep up with Ben's future. The shelter person told Ben, no, he couldn't get a tetanus shot from one of their vets, so it was the emergency room for him. Waiting for hours at the St. Vincent Urgent Care, he ended up going downtown for prompter service. He was banged up, with scratches and a deep wound from the cat's tooth that had been jammed far into his thumb, down to the bone, he told me. Ben henceforth called the cat "Lucifer," fully supporting my choice to return him.
The Best of Times:
I went on a hunt online right away for a replacement kitty. I asked the shelter if they forgave me since I might reappear, seeking another cat. They said, no probem don't worry, and one even noted that the black kitten likely had a nice vacation at my place. Hey, he had his own room, no noise, with no children or other animals. He seemed to enjoy my place as long as I left him completely alone, untouched. He had jumped at any hint of a caress. I wanted an affectionate cat. I saw a picture of a white kitten from another shelter that was brought into the pet store in town. I called and asked a couple of questions and was told "Arthur" was very affectionate. I took an Uber to the pet store and saw two almost identical kittens in a large room with toys and a litter box. Someone working there said I would have to adopt the two together, since they were buddies. I only wanted one kitten, Disappointed, I continued sitting in the room, preparing to leave, but somehow my phone was not working right so I couldn't seem to contact Uber for my ride back. A women in charge came in, saying, I could choose one kitten if I wanted, that the other person had made a mistake telling me otherwise. She told me they could adapt easily, and also that they were part Siamese. I asked someone else who wondered in which one she would say was more people-oriented. She said she wasn't sure, but would pick the girl kitty.
Then the serendipitous part happened. The girl kitty named "Snowy," shortly renamed "Sunny" by me, came over, and soon jumped up to sit on my lap, purring, while her brother, oblivious, slept soundly in his cat bin. That was it! She was mine--except for one little detail. I needed to put down a cat deposit after I talked to the landlords for their official permission, something I hadn't done before, assuming since one tenant already had a cat before that I didn't need to ask. Plus I wasn't sure the other one, you-know-who and I would work out. The woman from the shelter said they could hold her for me overnight. She thought the white female cat and I had bonded well. One day later and BOOM, I took her home and she was my angel cat, not in the sense of being all behaving, but in being among the cuddliest, and possibly the smartest cat I've had yet. Welcome home, Sunny. She sleeps with me. I enjoy that. A kitty companion.