Today’s guest post comes from Cathy:
Ah, rescue cats. Sometimes it’s not so clear who’s saving whom…
When our female cat named Bob passed away (several years ago now), it didn’t seem necessary to “replace” her, given that we still had two good-natured and friendly male cats for company. Didn’t seem necessary, that is, until my husband spotted Zoë as the feature “rescue cat” at the local pet store.
He called me from the store. “I want to adopt this cat,” he said.
“So it’s black calico female?” I replied.
“When did you see her?” he asked, confused.
Well, I hadn’t seen her. I just figured that to have won his heart so quickly, she must have somehow reminded him of our dearly departed Bob.
Indeed, the resemblance was striking, and Bob and Zoë also shared the same graceful, gentle way of moving.
But, Zoë was her own cat. Having been rescued from a house with a serious cat overcrowding problem, she was accustomed to other felines being around, and didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to the two resident cats (nor they to her).
She was, however, very protective of her food, tending to grab it from the dish and take into the corner to eat—even though our two gentlemen cat had no intention of trying to steal it from her. That behavior has reduced over time, only coming out again when she gets hold of a particularly tasty treat.
Zoë is not exactly cuddly, but she does seem fascinated by us—actually, those big round eyes of her make seems fascinated by everything. She likes to be where we are, close but not too close: on her own chair at breakfast bar, on the window sill nearest to where we’re working, or even on our lap—as long as there is blanket barrier between her and us.
In the next couple years, we lost one, then the other of our sweet male cats. We decided that a suitable distraction for our grief would be to go cat “shopping” from the rescue organization where we’d acquired Zoë.
In their “catalog”, one blue-eyed tabby/Siamese cross really stood out from the pack as a particularly handsome fellow. Unfortunately, when we went to see him, he was clearly terrified of us, trembling and withdrawn. However, his foster mother said he’d been like that with her at first as well, but had come along as a very friendly cat.
While we pondered him, we visited with the latest feature rescue cat at the store. She was a tiny auburn tortie, and she seemed liked the cuddliest cat ever, nestling in our arms purring when we picked her up.
I wanted her. My husband wanted him. We compromised by getting both.
We dubbed her Mocha, because I liked the word, and him McSteamy, because we felt he resembled actor Eric Dane from Grey’s Anatomy.
Even though the cats were strangers to each other, we were advised to put them together in one room, initially separate from Zoë. That proved good advice, as the two formed a bond greater than any between any other two cats we’ve ever had. They still love to nestle and sleep together, an always cute but funny portrait given their very different sizes.
Unfortunately, they weren’t immediately quite as fond of us, both tending to hide under furniture as soon as we entered the room. Mocha’s friendliness at the pet store was apparently just a ploy to get adopted. McSteamy was actually the more receptive one, and seemed to be gradually losing his fear, until that day when, while exploring the rest of the house, a loud noise gave him such a fright that he ran up two flights of stairs, onto a bed, then right through a screened window on the second floor, and down into our backyard. He didn’t stop running until he was in the berm behind the house, hanging out with the gophers. We could see him, but we couldn’t really catch him.
The cat rescue organization was very helpful in dealing with this crisis. They lent us a trap, told us to put as close to the window he’d escaped from as possible, and to wait. I was skeptical, but darned if McSteamy didn’t make his way into that trap that same day—albeit many hours later.
Once back in the house and released, McSteamy decided we were the best people ever. And he has never really stopped thinking that. His fear of us was gone for good. (And he’s shown little interest in ever going outside again.)
Frankly, I shudder to think what kind of experience he’d had before ending up at the shelter where the cat rescue organization found him, because now this is one of the friendliest, most relaxed cats I’ve ever encountered. He really doesn’t seem afraid of anything anymore.
Mocha was much slower to come around, and still spent many weeks hiding behind furniture. But come around she did, eventually blooming into that excessively cuddly cat from the store. And she has the loudest purr of any cat I’ve ever encountered. Unlike McSteamy, she remains a bit of a nervous cat, but has come a very long way. In fact, it’s Zoë and not her who is more likely to go hide when strangers visit.
Though we still have fond memories of our original cat trio, the new set were very helpful in our grieving process.
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