Saturday Stories: A Tail of Two Kitties

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About 6 years ago, we decided we were ready for a pet. The Good Guy and I had had a cat when we were first married and decided that we’d like to have another. I put out the word among friends that we were thinking about getting a cat and before I could say, “Boo,” a friend called me about a so-called desperate situation.
On a very rainy night (in Washington, that may have been at 4 in the afternoon, as it gets dark WAY too early there in the winter), I got a call saying that if I didn’t go get this really great cat, it was going to the pound. It was declawed (which, at the time I thought was a must) and didn’t shed and was great with kids. Later, I found out that the only one of those things that was really true was the declawed part. Anyway, I packed all four of my kids up in the car and headed out into the dark for the 25 minute drive it would take to rescue this kitty. Needless to say, the boys were extremely excited to be getting a pet.
When we arrived at this friend of a friend’s apartment, we found “Jasper” and his then owners, a young couple with their toddler daughter. This couple had gotten “Jasper” from a shelter. He had been dumped on the side of the road with his brother. They had had him declawed and their little girl had learned to walk by chasing the cat. (Can you say, “Run, Kristen, this isn’t going to be a good family cat?!) No, I was caught. The boys were already invested, the owners were moving to a place that didn’t allow pets and he was such a cute cat.
We took him home and on the way decided that “Jasper” was too hard to remember, but Casper (as in the Friendly Ghost) wasn’t, so he became Casper.
The first thing he did was run under the bed in my room and there he pretty much stayed. The boys were devestated that this wonderful pet didn’t want anything to do with their rambunctious love. What we learned was, that declawed cats are often psychologically damaged and this guy was as neurotic as they came. He ceventually came out and sat on me and licked and licked and licked; himself, my hand, anything that got near his mouth. When the boys tried to get near him, though, he took off for the safety of under the bed. After about a month of this, the complaints started coming in from all of the boys. I convinced the Good Guy that we needed to go to the Humane Society and find another, friendlier cat. We went one bright Saturday morning and sat in the “cat room” and found a delightful young black cat called “Minuit.” (that’s midnight in French). We adopted him and brought him home and changed his name to Malcolm. He was very affectionate. I noticed after a day, though, that he had something really gross coming out of his bum…tapeworms. I rushed him to the vet. He had a shot and in the process of losing the tapeworm, lost all of his affection for humans. He became Casper’s pet. Now, the funny thing about that was that Casper didn’t want anything to do with this new guy.
Malcolm would plop down on Casper and go to sleep. Casper, of course, would lick him like a mother cat. It was all a young (barely a year old) cat could want. Can I say that at this point my sons decided that cats were a rip-off?
The Good Guy said that it probably would have been better if we had never gotten either one. I was already hooked on both. I compromised by saying I’d find a better home for Casper. And I did. I found a single guy that worked from home that was something of a recluse. It was a match made in Heaven. Casper went to live with him and came out of his funny cat shell. He no longer had any noise to scare him. After a week, I heard that he acted as if he owned his new home…and I said good for him!
Meanwhile, back at our house, Malcolm became a people cat without another cat to occupy his time. He started sitting in my lap occasionally and sleeping on the bed instead of under it. He started coming out a bit when the boys were home. He generally hasn’t ever warmed up to the whirlwind activity of the boys.
After Princess Pat was born, Malcolm seemed to take it that she was an appendage of me. He accepted her without blinking an eye. She hugs him and tackles him and pets him the wrong way and he never does anything but occasionally bat at her with his claws tucked in. He has to be the most mellow cat I have ever seen. He lives mostly in my room, but he ventures out to the family room with the family everyday. He lets the boys pet him and has generally been a great cat. He is 7 years old now, and I hope he has many more years left with us.

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