Perhaps it’s wrong of me, but whenever I’ve had an old, sick cat, I’ve found myself thinking ahead to what sort of cat I want to get next. It’s not that I wanted to get rid of Doogie, or Calvin before him, but I suppose it was just facing the reality of the inevitable. Pets get old, then they die. Eventually, we get a new pet. Circle of life.
For several months, I’ve been wanting an orange tabby. Our first cat, Calvin, was a brown tabby. When he passed away, I couldn’t do another tabby. It was too painful to even look at the tabbies up for adoption at Petsmart. The rescue led us to the black cats instead, and that’s how our amazing Ninja Cat joined our family. He’s been perfect for us.
But nearly 3 years after losing Calvin, I’m ready for another tabby. They’re such amazing cats, and an orange one would just be different enough not to be a painful reminder.
We had a plan to get a new cat after Thanksgiving. Ninja was lonely without his buddy Doogie to hang out with. We didn’t want to get a new cat before Thanksgiving because we were leaving for Texas for nearly a week, and we did not want to introduce a new cat, then leave town. ”Bye, guys! Hope you get along and don’t tear the house apart!” Yeah…
Exactly one week before Thanksgiving, my MOPS group got together at someone’s house for a play group. Within moments of arriving, I noticed a little orange tabby kitten at the storm door. Rather, my son noticed. He was standing at the door with the hostess’s dog by his side, and this little kitten pawing at the glass door in front of him. (Alex is so my child. He didn’t pay much attention to the other kids, but the animals? He was all about the animals.) The hostess had never seen this cat before, but he hung out like he belonged. For the next 2 hours, he alternated between hanging out at the front storm door and the back sliding-glass door. He sat there meowing and pawing at the door to try to get in. He even climbed the bricks of the house to grab at the door handle!
Of course, being the sucker for animals that I am, I melted all over the place and wanted to take him home with me. But seeing as we were leaving town in 5 days, we didn’t know if this cat belonged to a neighbor, etc., I simply left after the play date. But the hostess and I stayed in touch about him. She is also a sucker for animals, and the temperature dropped that day quite dramatically. She let him sleep in her shed and fed him. And she kept reporting back to me about his friendly and mellow temperament.
I sort of felt like God was saying, “Here. I know the desires of your heart, and you really want an orange tabby. Here’s one who needs a home.”
Convincing my husband of this was a whole other matter. Pretty sure he’s a robot underneath his skin because while I was being all emotional and begging with tears in my eyes to keep this little kitten (“But God brought him to me!”), he was completely rational and logical and saying that we know nothing about this cat. He was pushing to go to a rescue that knows a bit about their cats, while I begged to keep this little guy who clearly needed a home.
The hostess of the play group offered to keep this cat until we returned from Texas. (She was so in cahoots with me!) She also suggested that I bring Steven and Alex over with me to meet this cat. (Steven kept arguing that we don’t even know if this cat would be good with Alex, who is loud and unpredictable.) It took a lot of pleading, but Steven agreed to meet the cat.
We went over there, and as soon as I picked up this little orange kitten, he snuggled into me and purred loudly. He didn’t protest when Alex clumsily petted him. And when Alex had a screaming, flailing fit right next to him, this cat didn’t even flinch. That clinched it. Steven saw how awesome this kitten was, and he said yes to it.
Clearly, the cat was in cahoots with me, too.
I made a vet appointment for the Monday after Thanksgiving. As long as he passed a feline leukemia test, I was allowed to keep him. I think Steven might have secretly been hoping that the cat would move on while we were in Texas, but he stuck around at my friend’s house, so he was ready to be picked up on Monday morning. The vet declared him in good health, he got his shots, and now he’s home with us. He didn’t know how to use a litter box, so after 2 accidents, we locked him in the laundry room with food, water, a bed, and a litter box. He figured it out in one night. He’s a smart little thing!
He’s also amazing with the toddler. He lets Alex hug him, kiss him, pet him, play with him. He’ll even stay put if I place him in Alex’s lap. Alex is in heaven with a cat who doesn’t run away!
Ninja is not quite as happy. He’s walking around the house growling and hissing and hiding under the bed. Poor baby doesn’t know what to make of this friendly little kitten who doesn’t act at all intimidated by this tough act Ninja keeps trying to put on. We figure he’ll come around in a few days, though. None of our cats have ever taken kindly to a new cat in the house, but they always make friends eventually.
Because I feel like God himself gave me this little cat, we named him Theodore, which means Gift of God. We’re calling him Theo for short. He’s made himself right at home.