Andy and I had been talking about getting a second kitty for some time now. We had agreed that we wanted one, but thought we might want to wait until we moved to a new place: that way we could trick our Lady Wilhelmina the Queenly (also known as Willie)
that the new place and the new cat went together. She wouldn't have to go through the indignities of getting used to a kitten in her current demesne.
Unfortunately, once we'd made up our minds, it kept getting harder and harder to wait. I haven't had my own kitty in many, many years and I really longed for a little bundle of furry joy. I kept resisting, trying to keep to our original schedule; however, moving is a year away. I really couldn't resist any longer when my grandmother died and I said to Andy that two of my grief responses were to go comfort-shopping for books and to snuggle a kitten. I already had a Barnes and Noble bag containing Witches Abroad
by Terry Pratchett and Interworld
by Neil Gaiman. So Andy said, "Well, why don't we? Let's do it." on the kitten.
I felt that we should get a kitten from the Humane Society, especially since our local establishment is a kill shelter. Still, in the interest of checking out any retail catteries, we called around to a couple of stores before we headed out to the shelter. We discovered that there seems to be an over-abundance of puppies right now and a dearth of kittens. We also discovered that the Humane Shelter takes their cats out to PetSmart and puts them on display for adoption.
While we were at PetSmart, we checked to see if blueinsideout
was working. She didn't seem to be, sadly, and we didn't linger long when we realized they only had adult cats on display. (Although, if we were looking for an adult cat, there was an absolutely majestic long-haired grey cat there. She was ever alert and a queen surveying her realm: her name was Madonna.)
We drove all the way across town to the shelter and entered the cat room hopefully. As I walked through the door, I saw a flash of orange leap upward in the confines of its cage, twisting in the air to play with some toy. I immediately zeroed in on the orange and white tiger-stripe cat (who bore the unfortunate arbitrary moniker of "Mello Yello"). He was fabulous, meowing at me and immediately reaching through the bars to bat at and play with my hands.
Andy was crouching down next to a voluble little tortoiseshell, dark and comely. He was also quite keen to play with us. And then we were called across the room to another kitten, similarly marked, who wanted to cavort among us new humans. She was the first one we got out ("Weezy"), but we discovered that she was entirely too stand-offish once she was free of her confines. (Stand-offish isn't quite right... maybe just too uninterested in humans once she was free).
As we were trying to play with "Weezy," a cat I think of as "Mama Cats" just came up behind us and started demanding loving. She was an adult cat, a rich and darkly patterned cat (part tortoise-shell, part stripes...?). She was completely awesome. She rolled over and played with my hand, climbed all over me, rubbed her face against mine, and pressed her nose to my lips. She played with my hair, snuffling my ear, and was altogether too fabulous for words. If we'd been looking for an adult cat, she would have been mine in a heartbeat. I feel really bad about not taking her home, still.
My attention kept coming back to "Mello Yello" and I pushed Andy into looking at him more closely. He had a few reservations about him being male and about how his attitude might change when he's neutered. Yet, when Andy took him out and held him, he was completely sold. The orange tiger-cat just turned into completely boneless love in his arms, snuggled, purring, and content. Same when we transferred him to my arms. And, when we put him down again, he immediately pepped back up and began entertaining himself with an errant piece of paper and his own tail.
We had to take him home. We filled out the application (good to see they're so careful and detailed), paid our fee ($75, since he was over six months and technically not a kitten), and brought him home. After reading through the paperwork, I see that he was a stray discovered in a parking lot of a motel. They guesstimated his birthdate as February 14th of 2007. He was brought in seven days ago-- I'm shocked that he lasted that long, kitty fantastico as he is.
So he's got an appointment for shots and neuter-scheduling with the vet on Friday. He loves everyone he meets. He's curious and active and mellow.
Willie, our dear Queen, is most upset by all this. We are heartened by the fact that they didn't try to attack each other, but she's still warning him off and she's so pissed at us that she's not letting us pet her much. Right now, she's sitting on the far side of the room and carefully watching the couch, where I sit and the kitten sleeps on the back. Poor Willie. I hope she finds it in her heart to come around soon.
We're not entirely sure this cat is going to respond well to names. I initially wanted to call him Jack... because Jack is an awesome name, plus I love the concept of the Jack from de Lint's novels, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Jack the Pumpkin King. (We have orange and black kitties now-- Halloween colors, as my dear brother pointed out. I'm in love.) However, Jack doesn't seem to fit him. As cliche as it is, Tiger seems to fit this kitten much better. So his full name is Tiger Jack! the Explorer
. Hopefully one of these names will end up sticking.
Tiger Jack likes attacking everything that dangles; including, so far, my necklace, Willie's fishing line cat toy
, and the strings on my pajama pants: