Monday, July 01, 2013

Heart's Ease

We are and have been a cat family for thirty years.  We learned when our first cat died at the ripe old age (for a cat) of 15, that a cat-less household is lacking.  Basil was a purebred British Shorthair and the cat who saw us through our expansion from the birth of our first child to our last. When he died, we knew we wouldn't get another British Shorthair, but we still had small children who needed a stable, calm-demeanored, sweet-tempered cat.  So we went the purebred route again, this time with an American Shorthair and got Liz as a kitten.  When we went (to Kalamazoo) to pick her up, the breeder introduced us to Autumn, a mom-cat who was going to be retired from breeding.  Two weeks later we went back for her and became a two-cat household.

This was a mistake.

They never adjusted to each other.  Eight years of internecine warfare.  I found myself noting how few species of cats live in groups.  I would observe that cats are not pack animals. No one sees herds of cats roaming the prairies and plains alongside the buffalo and caribou, right?  Lizzie was a much happier cat after Autumn died and she was the one-and-only, so much so that I swore I would never again have multiple cats.

When Lizzie died in April, I started scouting British Shorthair breeders again, thinking it was time to go back to the breed of my most favorite cat.  I stalked websites.  I watched for news of new litters or retired cats. I had three cats picked out and was planning that roadtrip to make a final decision. I never, not for a single moment, contemplated a rescued or shelter cat.

Let me digress here and note that my good friend over at Katzundyarner Bits is a multiple cat owner (look at the list on her sidebar). She also works with the local Trap/Neuter/Release program (Hyde Park Cats). Said local TNR program also fosters out cats - rescued cats and cats from shelters.  I have known of her work with this group for a long time.  Somehow, every time I thought I had made a decision on the next pure-bred, I found that I hadn't.  Instead I was spending increasing time at Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet.  After all, I didn't have little kids that might terrorize or be terrorized by a shelter cat.  Maybe it was time to broaden my horizon.  Eventually I started stalking the Hyde Park Cats blog.  Astra, a sweet looking female calico showed up. Aha! The perfect cat for us, I thought. Okay, so there were also this pair of cute black kittens, a sister and her adopted brother. But there were two of them and the listing said they had to be adopted together. And they weren't calicos. Or even tabbies.  HPC seemed to think I should inquire after a couple choices, though, so I included them in my email. Guess which we chose?

Meet Zoe (formerly Hennessy, but I'm married to a history major and he had just finished a book on Byzantium and really wanted to name a female cat after the 11th century Empress) and Remy.  They joined Chez Wool-Gathering in May. 

They've grown.

Turns out a bonded pair is a whole different kindle of kittens than the two divas we had before.

1 comment:

Diane H said...

Hooray for kindles of kittens and clowders of cats!