In all my time as a cat lover, I’ve only owned a handful of cats personally. If it were up to me, I’d happily allow myself to become a crazy cat guy, but it’s not my decision.

 Peppermint

Instead, which cats I could own was always in the hands of my parents and now Bubba, a very jealous kitty with an icy heart toward anyone but me. As a result, when a cat follows me home and mews for my attention, I have to physically throw myself inside, lest I adopt the cat straight away.

A few years ago, that choice didn’t land in my lap but instead in my wife’s. She was working at a motel as a desk assistant one weekend while her boss was out of town, leaving her mostly in charge of things. I, however, was up in Seattle for a game convention. One night I’m walking around the streets near Pike Place and my wife calls to tell me that she has a dilemma involving two stray cats. Being capable of rational thought from not having direct eye contact with them, I told her that they weren’t our problem and that we couldn’t do anything but call the local animal shelter. I was worried about money and the fact that we already had one new puppy and one cat that refused to play nice with anything, plus a strict two-pets-only apartment policy.

Naturally, when I returned home I was introduced to our two strays, a tan half-Siamese my wife had named Butterscotch and a white cat with extra toes and a crooked tail that she had named Peppermint. I instantly looked at these cats and determined that Butterscotch and Peppermint were trite, unimaginative names and if they had to stay with us, they would be named Snazzlefrazz and Sir Waldo McThumbly the 3rd, respectively.

ButterscotchNow, Snazzle and Waldo (or Butterscotch and Peppermint if my wife is asking) were the usual sob story associated with stray cats. She told me that they were hanging around the motel parking lot and were pestering customers, so eventually the parents of the motel owner told my wife that she had to do something about them. Not being a heartless individual, my wife decided to take them in until we could take them to a shelter.

The problem with this is that our nearby animal shelter, one that I was actually volunteering at, had a very strict No Strays policy. I understood why, but it made our situation very inconvenient. As a rule, the shelter would only take in pets that had stayed with their owner for at least a few months (my memory makes me hazy at best), but taking them to animal control wouldn’t work either. On one hand, we couldn’t simply adopt these cats. On the other, we weren’t about to put them in any danger of either getting split up or placed into a shelter where they would just be put to sleep. Reluctantly (though not that reluctantly), my wife and I agreed that the cats would stay until they found a new home.

Just bringing in two new cats is always an experience all in itself. Bubba was never one for jumping up on things and was pretty lackadaisical in general, but these new cats were cats in the classic sense, meaning full of curious thoughts and ready for absolutely any adventure they could find. Unlike Bubba, they were capable of leaping onto anything, and all of a sudden we were forced to take stock of everything that would need to be kitty-proofed.

To make things more complicated, these two strays would also need to take a trip to the vet. My wife had already given them flea treatments and baths as they were the epitome of strays, but the vet still had to give them a clean bill of health and up-to-date shots. Remember, all of this is to avoid something more costly, somehow. I forget the details.

Adding further difficulty is Bubba. Linus the puppy is entirely happy to either play with the new cats or leave them alone entirely, but Bubba, she will have nothing to do with these new boys. Normally I wouldn’t find an issue with this since Bubba can’t actually hurt them, being declawed years ago (not my choice), but they certainly had claws intact for damage, Waldo especially since he was packing an extra thumb on each paw.

What was truly amazing though was to witness just how stupidly intelligent Waldo turned out to be. I witnessed him on multiple occasions attempting to assimilate with Bubba by placing himself on his back in a very clear submission pose, slowly pushing himself closer to her little by little and meowing what I swear was the phrase “I love you” over and over, all while Bubba would growl and hiss. I was never sure exactly what was going on, but Waldo’s valiant effort proved fruitless and Bubba would end up being the cause of such a headache with these cats.

Because of her inability to play nice, we couldn’t let the three cats interact for fear that Bubba would force them to fight back, and either she would get some nasty scratches, or the strays would receive some severe bites. The solution was to constantly section off the apartment so that during the day, the strays had the bedroom and bathroom to themselves and then at night they were quarantined to the bathroom, which was indeed frustrating for them as young, active cats.

This went on for about a month, during which time I became more and more attached to them. I’d take naps in the bedroom and have both Waldo and Snazzle sleeping on my back or across my chest. Essentially, they’d come just short of smothering me, so you could tell that these were cats were very grateful to have found homes, even temporarily.

My wife was in charge of finding a permanent home for them but was again finding troubles doing so. None of our relatives could take them in and I’d already used up my one “shirk responsibility and let my parents deal with it” instance with Sprackle. She tried to post on Craigslist regarding the cats, offering them to anyone wanting to adopt, but she kept having her posting taken down as it was a violation to list pets for free (a policy that does a lot of good in most situations I might add). Again and again she tried and again and again it would be taken down.

After a month of shoehorning Waldo and Snazzle into our life, a pair of willing adopters finally responded to our Craigslist ad before it was taken down. It seemed almost too wonderful as they were willing to adopt both Waldo and Snazzle to live up on a farm in Oregon City. Farmlife! That’s the ultimate cat dream! It took a month of being sectioned off and neglected and abandoned and such, but they had found the Promised Land!

I suppose if I were to find an ultimate point to this story, it’s that fostering a kitty or two may seem like an impossible task, but you’d be surprised what you’re actually able to do. Given the chance to do some good in a cat’s life, absolutely go for it. Because sometimes the world at large isn’t going to help. It’s up to you!

BIO: Chris Pranger is a writer and editor for www.SimplyCatBreeds.org where he helps provide a resource for cat lovers everywhere to learn more about their favourite felines.


 

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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