Sunday, May 05, 2013


Goofing around like a couple of old pals.
It's hard to believe that it was a little over a whole month ago that I met Eli and that in his quiet and subtle way, he charmed his way into my heart. Eli settled in awkwardly, ever-skittish around me and then trying his hardest to get 16-year-old Sammy to play -- except that Eli's take on playing involved barreling around the apartment at top speed and pouncing on Sammy whenever Sammy was sleeping. I realized that there was no animosity intended and that Eli was just trying his hardest to make a new friend. Sammy wasn't exactly thrilled with having a strange 13-14 lb cat landing on him in the middle of the night. That along with the chasing soon led to Sammy's spending much of his time curled up in a kitty condo to avoid the new guy.

I Am Fridge Cat!!!
Before adopting Eli, I had planned to bring home two cats. I realized that as much as I'd hoped to give Eli a chance to settle in and to bond with me before adopting another, that it wasn't fair to either Sammy or Eli to prolong what was obviously becoming a more and more lopsided relationship. I kept my eye on the SPCA's website, looking through photos, reading through numerous profiles and then emailed them to ask about a half-dozen cats whose stories had reeled me in. Then there was this orange-cream coloured guy called "Geddy Lee" whose goofy photos left my heart pitter-pattering a little. He was listed as being just a little over a year old and I had hoped to (ideally) spring a cat just a little older than Eli -- someone with whom he could play, but also someone with whom Sammy could relax. It had not been my intention to bring home a youngster. I posted about my dilemma on Facebook saying I felt guilty about adopting a young guy who'd only been there for a week -- one whose only "crime" had been that his previous people were moving and decided to move someplace that wouldn't allow them to bring him along. "They all need homes, Mylène," a good friend reminded me. "Do whatever you feel is right for you, Eli and Sammy."

Sweet Minou, exhausted after playing.
I didn't hear back from the SPCA for a few days and then got a call saying that their internet was down and that I should telephone them for more information. I spent that morning looking at recent photos they had posted of Geddy Lee, including one where he was stretched out in what looked like a canine play-bow, eyes scrunched shut. The SPCA updates its site immediately when someone is adopted and since their 'net was down, I realized that play-bow kitty could very well be gone. I called them and they confirmed that he was still there. I bumped my lunch to the end of that afternoon and headed off to the shelter before it closed.

Just a few days after Minou's arrival.
"Hey, it's the woman who adopted Eli!," one of the volunteers called out as soon as I walked in. I told them that I'd come to meet a few cats, starting with Geddy Lee and they directed me to a room with a cage-lined wall. A woman and two little girls were in it playing with a cat. "Play therapy," the woman told me with a smile. They exited and the little guy was brought out for me and we played for a solid 20 minutes until someone else wandered in to look at some of the other cats, many of whom I recognized from the website. She ended up dismissing one after another upon reading their ages aloud and I suggested to her that age meant nothing. As I spoke to her, sitting cross-legged on the floor, Geddy Lee came over and climbed into my lap to curl up on me. Yep, I was a goner. Geddy Lee came home with me and was promptly renamed "Minou" -- the French-Canadian word for "Kitty".

Does this even need words?
I've been fostering, adopting and re-homing for most of my adult life, but Eli and Minou were the first new arrivals I'd had in 7-8 years. In the past, all introductions were either done instinctively or while dealing with "quarantine" issues. The websites always recommend slow, gradual introductions and for a really good reason, since you don't want to freak everybody out from the start. I had a good feeling about friendly Minou, though. Sammy, I've known for thirteen years -- he's always been incredible around newcomers, as long as he doesn't feel threatened by them (i.e. as he invariably did with in-your-face Eli). Minou met Sammy within hours and they promptly shrugged each other off, lounging casually. Then Minou met Eli and after a few days of serious chasing and play-wrestling, their friendship was cemented.
Minou is small and sweet and bold. I'm down six houseplants, a vase and a picture frame thanks to his redecorating, but we're hammering it out and I'm confident that one day he'll understand what "down" means -- whether or not he chooses to respond to it! Most importantly, though, Minou has fit right in and has become part of my family. He's rounded us out perfectly. He's a playmate for Eli, a presence for Sammy (who's now comfortably back to his old self, no longer the object of Eli's longing for activity) and has reminded me of the incredible sense of awe and responsibility that comes from having another being trust you completely. Along with my other two furry family members, he makes my heart swell. I've had so many teary moments over the last several weeks, grateful to have had the opportunity to meet these two new individuals and to welcome them into our home, mine and Sammy's. I look forward to the coming years that we get to spend together, learning to know each other better while looking out for each other.

Bird watching!
As always, I ask that if you have the room in your own hearts and homes that you consider going to your local shelter to adopt. If you can't commit to an adoption, please foster someone. Fostering saves lives. It really does. If you don't have the space, consider volunteering. Many people love to give up their time to walk the dogs at their shelters, but few think of the cats who spend weeks, months or more in cages with little interaction with others. Contact your local shelter and go for an hour or two to comfort guys like Eli (who spent six months at my shelter, terrified of everybody and in need of love and reassurance) or Minou (who is so full of spirit and energy that I can't imagine how he could have lasted any longer in a cage). It doesn't take much to make such a huge difference in the lives of those who didn't ask to be bred into an existence where they would end up unwanted and abandoned. Please do what you can. Save a life.

1 comment:

veganelder said...

Thank you for giving these special beings a home. Here's hoping they bring you many smiles. :-)