Five days ago, we went from a two-cat (Nala, the 8- year old boss female, and Pookie, the 5-year old male) family to a three-cat family. My husband (the Crankee Yankee) was visiting a friend in MA, and called me from his cell phone. His voice sounded a little strange as he told me that he had ‘gotten himself in a situation.’
In the time it took his words to penetrate my decidedly foggy brain, I thought, ‘situation?’ What kind of situation? Did the car break down? Did he get robbed? Did he have an accident? Were terrorists holding him for ransom? What?!?
He said, “there’s a cat.”
In the next breath, he explained that this black and white cat came up to him, was extremely friendly, loved being held, and in fact was at that moment sitting comfortably on his shoulders in the car. The cat had an injury to its neck, it was thin and obviously hungry–and the weather that night was due to fall below zero.
I said, “Bring him home and pick me up–I’m calling the vet right now.”
Our wonderful vet, a man who adores all animals, especially cats (and he can’t resist kissing them on their heads), told me that he would be waiting. When my husband arrived, I got into the car, and the cat happily jumped into my lap. He purred all the way to the vet’s office.
Our vet checked him all over, and said that, for a street cat, he was actually in pretty good shape–no ear mites, no fleas, no fever, had been neutered, and even his teeth were in decent shape. He estimated that the cat was about 5 years old. He gave him a rabies shot, tested him for disease, shaved the injured spots on his neck and applied ointment, squirted an antibiotic down his throat, clipped his nails and said, “I believe this cat chose YOU.” No kidding.
By that time, the Crankee Yankee and I were both in love with him (the cat; we already love the vet), and named him Pepper. We took him home and set him up downstairs with Nala’s carrier, fitted out with a thick, clean blanket and a couple of catnip toys. We gave him a dish of wet food, a bowl of kibble, a bowl of water, and his own litterpan, and Pepper knew just what to do.
We have been slowly integrating him with Nala and Pookie–‘supervised visits’ for now. He and Pookie had a brief screaming match over territory, but Nala just gave him the ‘don’t mess with me, sonny’ look. As the days have been going by, they are gradually getting used to each other, and we are getting used to having three cats.
Pepper adores the carrier, and treats it as his own personal Airstream (he is getting his own carrier soon–even thin he is a big boy). When he tires of roaming the upstairs with us, he either sits on the padded shelf the Crankee Yankee built for him this morning on the basement stairs, or he naps in the carrier with ‘his’ radio on around the corner. I’ll tell you, this cat is one happy boy now.
He is very love-y, too, and adores being cuddled. Nala and Pookie like cuddling to a point; after that, they have better things to do and take off. But Pepper is a natural-born lover. He likes traveling from lap to lap, and then likes to drape his 14-lb. body over our shoulders (actually pretty comfortable and cheaper than a massage!).
The Crankee Yankee and I consider Pepper our Christmas present this year. We are both suckers for animals, and we have a regular crew of neighborhood cats (most of whom belong to neighbors), racoons, skunks, chipmunks, squirrel and birds who enjoy the food we put out. We have three bird/squirrel feeders, and have an area under our porch with an automatic feeder AND a ‘bed’ (an insulated box with the Crankee Yankee’s old thermal vest and two thick fleeces in it)–‘just in case.’
I never in my life thought I would have two cats at the same time, nevermind three, but somehow it’s all working out. The Crankee Yankee tells me I tend to over-think these things, and he’s right. Cats have their own management style, and we are all taking it a day at a time–but we love it.
Merry Christmas to us all!