Purr-fect addition to the family
Regular readers of this column know that my husband and I lost our 17-year-old orange tabby cat, BJ, in March. Many people advised us to take in another kitty so we could keep sharing the love we had for BJ. Well, we still had three cats and one of them is particularly ghoulish — hence his name, Ghoulie. We didn’t have any immediate plans to adopt a new kitty.
Even as I searched for orange tabbies on Pet Finder, I couldn’t find the “right” cat. I’ve never been picky about cats, but I wanted a cat like BJ. BJ loved to cuddle, purred all the time and slept next to me every night. Our other cats, while loving in their own way, are not nearly as gregarious as BJ was. I’ve really been missing those cuddles.
Late last week, I stopped by Good Shepherd Humane Society to catch up with the manager, Cole. He showed me all the kittens that have recently arrived at the shelter, including two precious orange kitties. Then we moved on to the Bates Cat House, where adult cats play, eat and sleep in harmony.
I spotted a gorgeous orange tabby sleeping near my feet. His name was Aramis, a reference to the Three Musketeers. When I picked him up, he stretched out and snuggled into my arms. He purred like a freight train. Before I knew what I was saying, the words flew out of my mouth.
“OK, I’m going to say I really like this cat. Can you make sure no one else adopts him so I can talk to Gideon?”
Cole agreed and snapped some pictures to convince Gideon. I said I’d probably be back to get Aramis the next day. As I had suspected, Gideon didn’t need much convincing. I told him I found a kitty I loved and he asked if I wanted him to bring Aramis home with him that very day. Of course I said yes. Two hours later, we were a family of six again — just how I like it.
Aramis is great with other cats, but Ghoulie has been making that difficult. The first night Aramis lived with us, Ghoulie bullied him down the stairs and under our bed. Aramis stayed there until I crawled next to him and invited him out. The next day, the story was the same. Ghoulie hissed and chased and surely thought he got his way when Aramis returned to his favorite hiding place.
Now it’s been about three days, and Ghoulie has kind of started to come around. I say “kind of” because he hasn’t exactly embraced Aramis with all the cuddles and licks you see among bonded cats. He has stopped hissing and following Aramis everywhere, though.
I don’t know how Aramis has handled Ghoulie’s attitude so gracefully. Imagine moving into a new home and then being followed to the toilet and watched as you do your business. It does not sound very welcoming, but Aramis has maintained his sweet demeanor through it all.
I’m writing this column for two reasons: to introduce you all to our sweet new kitty, of course, and to reach out to those of you who have a good home that could house many cats. With kitten season underway, Good Shepherd is looking for foster homes for mama cats and kittens. Cole explained that it’s not ideal for kittens to grow up in shelters. If they can find a foster home for the mama cat and her brood, everyone is much better off.
Gideon and I will take in our first foster cats of the year later this week, and I encourage all you fellow cat lovers to do the same. Good Shepherd will pay for food and litter if you need it.
You’ll give those kittens their best shot at a good life just by giving them a home for a little while.
We chose to keep them in our downstairs bathroom so the kitties can have a room to themselves without any — ahem, ghoulish — interruptions. If you choose to foster a mama cat and her kittens, please let me know. Send pictures. Keep me updated. There is nothing I love more than talking about cats. And who knows? Maybe one of those cats will turn out a lot like Aramis — the puzzle piece you never knew was missing!