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Adjusting

February 14, 2011

The new cat is a joy.

She loved her new room, and explored it thoroughly under the eye of my younger son, who has been glowing with pure bliss since Saturday, when we took the kitten home.  She found and appropriately used the catbox. She ate, delicately, and purred, loudly, and stretched and rolled and snuggled with us whenever we were around.  She slept in bed with my younger son last night, and he proudly came to wake me up this morning, announcing “I hardly slept at ALL, Mom, she was right in the middle of the bed!” all hollow-eyed and practically translucent, like the besotted mother of a brand-new baby who’s been up all night.

And perhaps I’m still sun-addled from Honduras, or perhaps it’s something else, but suddenly I have a different feeling about everything than I did before I left. (And trust me–everything–in the form of financial aid forms, doctor’s appointments, antibiotics, taxes, bills, assignments, impending relatives, would-be renters, fallen-over birdfeeders, and so forth–has been wildly in my face since my plane touched down and my beloved consoling-windows friend picked me up at the airport.)

While I was away, I decided not to list the house this year, and when I got back, there was a message in my inbox from a professor wanting to rent a room a few nights a week next year. (He came by. He’s English. He promised to teach my kids to play cricket.) I also decided I was definitely going to get some chickens, because you couldn’t swing a toucan without hitting a couple of chickens in Honduras. And then there was the cat, this little kitten from the shelter who clawed her cage to stay inside when my consoling-windows friend first spotted her and hauled her out, but who sat cheerfully in my older son’s lap the whole way home. Her eyes are a bit rheumy, and she’s sneezing, but she’s game. She’s friendly, but exhausted. The people she’s seen since she was found (just a little over a week ago) have spayed her, poked her, put her in a cage, pestered her. Frankly, her first day, she could have been with anyone–she hid when she could, interacted when she had to, ate very little, slept with one eye open.

And now, two days later, she’s ours.

Look, make fun of me if you want. I’m a sap, I know. I’ve got all this work to do–both kinds of work, the hard kind where you have to be smart, and the boring kind where you have to be stupid but punctual–and I’m sick, kind of, with some sort of sore throat gone mad. And the financial aid forms force me to confront the cruel reality of my present situation, which is not really the kind of financial situation one wishes oneself were in. (Plus I’ve had to call my ex-husband a dozen times today to make sure he, and I, are getting things right.) But the truth is, this little cat (and oh, I don’t want to make a big deal–I know bad things can happen, kittens adopted from the pound can die, cats can get hit by cars, all can go horribly wrong in the blink of an eye) has suddenly changed everything. We’re not the dregs of my old marriage, around here. We’re something new, an entity that adopts cats. We’ve got things ahead of us. We’re full of potential, my unwanted house and my two kids and I.

And thank you for your help, those of you that sent me tips for how to cope with a kitten–the whole last week feels too good to be true, quite honestly. I’m overcome with a feeling of contentment I haven’t known for ages and ages.

I’ve been bluffing. But–possibly–all shall be well?

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 10:01 pm

    Oh, lovely! You’re all a family. So happy that you sound so happy…

  2. February 14, 2011 10:10 pm

    Anytime I get a new cat (er … which I have only done a few times, as I am not a pet hoarder despite how that made me sound just now), I always panic over the cat hating me or being too shy or whatever, only to eventually wind up with a cat lounging in my lap all day and purring (I happen to have one in my lap right now). It can be such fun to watch them get friendlier and more at ease.

    I’m glad she’s fitting in well and happy that she found such a good home.

  3. February 14, 2011 10:20 pm

    Yay! Hurrah for you and for your family!

  4. February 14, 2011 10:26 pm

    What an awesome, positive post! Can you send some of that positive mojo over this way? There is nothing like a new family member and it sounds like Cassie is just what the doctor ordered…that and a relaxing week in paradise!

  5. February 14, 2011 11:28 pm

    Congratulations to all of you. It is a well deserved and long awaited bit of joy and expectation. So happy for you!

    (True fact: my cat, adopted as a kitten, changed my life. She got me through a deep depression and helped me learn how to say the word “love”out loud like a normal human being. Full story and kitten pics: http://alreadyclouds.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/day-07-someone-who-has-made-your-life-worth-living-for/)

  6. February 15, 2011 4:48 am

    Its great to read such a happy post from you. Any chance of more kitten photos – my sappy tolerance is high!

  7. jdens permalink
    February 15, 2011 7:38 am

    Delighted for you, and really enjoyed the description of your sleep-deprived son’s bliss. Our neighbour’s cat spends half his time at our house, covering the guest bed with gray hair (where we live it is not considered inhumane to let cats be in-and-outdoor cats), and we adore him so much, even though he is not and as far as I can tell never will be a lap cat, that we continue to delay getting a cat of our own, for fear it would upset him. Nuzzles and head-butts to Cassie.

  8. SarahB permalink
    February 15, 2011 8:13 am

    Oh, wonderful!

    We were living in a city we didn’t want to be in when we brought home our second kitty (the one who jumped at the sound of the dishwasher and the a/c or heat turning on mentioned in last comments), and he filled a hole in my heart I didn’t know was there. We poured love and affection to that cat, and it just made that last half a year there a whole different time. He needed us, and we needed him. When we moved he bonded more with our other cat…they are both such joys. Kitties are special.

    I better go hug mine before I head off to work. I wish you the best with yours.

  9. irretrievablybroken permalink*
    February 15, 2011 8:43 am

    I grew up in small towns/the country, and our cats were always indoor/outdoor. There are plenty of cats roaming around here, too, and we all know whom they belong to (“There’s Smokey!”) when they come over to our yard to say hello. Why’s it inhumane to have a cat go outside? I mean, dogs go outside, etc., right?

    • jdens permalink
      February 15, 2011 11:04 am

      There are many who think that because of the dangers outside (cars, diseases, predators, fights with other cats, mean-spirited neighbours, etc.) that it is cruel not to keep them inside. And I think it’s true that they live longer if kept indoors. However, when I see Ted outside rolling around in the grass–obviously as happy as any creature has a right to be, I can’t help but think what a shame it would be if he had to be cooped up all the time. If I lived in a more dangerous area, I’m sure I’d choose to keep them in, but I’m happy that in our neighborhood, they’re free and safe to roam.

      The difference with dogs, of course, is that they’re much more easily contained within a fence or on a leash.

    • February 15, 2011 5:53 pm

      It does significantly shorten their lifespan if a cat is outdoors primarily. I think the “inhumane” part also comes in when owners declaw the cat and then keep it outside. Without the claws the cat can’t defend itself.

      If a cat is young enough you can actually leash train. I’m sure google could tell you how, but we did it with one of ours and she loves going out and sniffing, eating grass. I get some great looks when people pass by. It’s not the same as with dogs of course… you don’t exactly “walk” the cat, but it works well for us.

  10. February 15, 2011 11:27 am

    “We’re something new, an entity that adopts cats.”

    Have I mentioned that I love, love your writing?

    Congratulations on the new evolution. Sometimes the littlest (truly, in this case) things have the biggest impact. A kitten can move mountains, really.

  11. nancy permalink
    February 15, 2011 11:32 am

    I think our adopted kitten helped my girls not realize/miss so much that their father moved out, which in hindsight was a brilliant move on my part.

  12. February 16, 2011 8:14 am

    You sound very happy and positive about things; it’s lovely! I hope your little kitty spends many glorious years with you and your boys!

    lots of love

    Ali x

  13. February 16, 2011 4:08 pm

    All SHALL be well. *nods confidently*

  14. February 17, 2011 9:48 am

    congratulations on your new family member! the narrative about your younger son was too cute! enjoy your cat for many many many years!!

  15. February 17, 2011 8:21 pm

    Cats are the best. Truly we are so much happier now that we have our Mishka. It is amazing also that moment when they go from being freaked out and under the bed to being utterly and absolutely yours. You write about that beautifully…

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