I am, admittedly, a HUGE cat freak. Well, I’m huge anyway (1/4 Italian) but that’s besides the point. What I mean is, I love my cats. My husband and I weren’t fortunate enough to have human children, and cats are probably the neediest, closest comparison to real children that I could handle. I told a friend the other day that we wanted human kids, but cats were all we could handle. I think I got that down just right. Truth bomb, coming up.
I usually save all of my cat-related stuff and stories for my cat blog, Life With Cats, but this blog has been neglected as of late. Not because I’ve been terribly busy (I have been) but because I don’t think about it as much as I did when the blog was new. And, for my (two?) readers to get a better sense of who I am and what makes me tick, there’s no better way then to introduce the part of my life that makes me a better caregiver: cat guardianship.
I’ve been “cat mom” to seven wonderful creatures over the past 22 years, two of which we still have today. Sassy is our now sixteen year old Ragdoll cat. In kitty years, that puts her at approximately 78-80 years old. She’s slowing down and starting to show her age, but she looks overall like a much younger cat. We’ve had her since she was approximately 10 weeks old, so she’s a “lifer.” Pixel, our boy and resident tabby, is just about 10 1/2 years old. He’s still playful and lazy at the same time. If you knew Pixel, you could see how he could pull off this veritable oxymoron with great ease. Pixel has recently accomplished a significant weight loss, from a hefty 23 pounds down to an almost finished goal of 18 pounds. He has much more energy than he used to have, but is still one of the laziest cats I’ve ever had. Needless to say, we love them both immensely.
Last week, while shopping at PetSmart for some new toys for my boy, I stopped at the PetSmart Charities adoption center to do my usual kitten/cat ogling. I had lost interest in adopting another cat since the devastating loss of my Persian tortoiseshell, Tika, back in 2010. But I do enjoy stopping at the shelter or places like PetSmart to “ooh and aah” and talk to the kitties. But that day, something was different, and it was something I hadn’t felt since the day we found Tika at the shelter in 1998. That was the day we first met Mercy (then named “Stitch,”) a one-eyed grey tabby kitten. It wasn’t so much the fact that she was a kitten, but that she was profoundly disabled that we were drawn to her. Disabled or special needs kittens and cats are much less likely to be adopted than normally-abled cats, and that cute little face just drew us in like flies to butter (is that a Southern saying? Where did that come from?!)
From that instant, we knew we were meant to be Mercy’s guardians. We were told that she was rescued from a large TNR (trap, neuter, release) feral colony in the next town over, and that she had an infection in her eye that necessitated its removal. She was approximately 11 weeks old, but looked so tiny that I thought the age estimate was probably wrong. Of the three kittens that were rescued, she was the last to become ready for adoption, and not a moment too soon.
So, last Saturday, June 25th, Mercy became an official member of the family. She has been adapting rather well and has shed the cage from where she saw the world, or at least the inside of PetSmart. It has been a long time since we’ve had charge of a 12 week old kitten, and I’m not as young as I used to be. I’ve forgotten how much work goes into maintaining two different schedules for two sets of cats. I would imagine that this is but a microcosm of what bringing a baby home would be like. Except I don’t have to get up at all hours of the night to feed and change a kitten. Could you imagine? No thanks. Not at the tender age of 47 (that would be MY age, in real human years.)
Welcome to your new forever home, little Mercy monster. I’m so blessed to be called your “mama.”