Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not again!

We rang the bell and after a moment the grage door rolled up. A couple of people looked at us with puzzled expressions.

"We're here to see Tim," I tell them.

A third, older man comes down a set of side stairs. "We're here to see Tim?" I offer, since no one else ventured any information.

"Oh," he said. "No one told me you'd be coming."

"I emailed," I said.

"Well come on in. How'd you hear about us? Catlink or Pet Finder?"

"Pet Finder," Orion says.

The smell slaps us in the face the moment the door opens. They say meth houses smell like cat piss. Well this place smells like a meth house, and more. Its eye-watering, nose-covering bad and I'm grateful I'm sick. I'm sure it helps deaden the smell and when I cough A. I have a handerkerchief already handy and B. I can explain I'm sick and not have the caretaker give me a hairy eyeball for making a physical comment about the state of the house.

It's full of cats. Last month they had 200, and fortunately many of them were adopted out. He searches for Tim, and finds him. Big Bengal cross, and boy is he shy. The caretaker explains that most of the cats at the facility are or were feral. Tim's a hard case. He's been there two years and he's still incredibly shy.

Why are we here, do you ask? Because Orion pointed out that both he and Andrea lost pets this summer, and Andrea got to adopt one. It seems only fair ...

Yeah, I'm a soft touch.

Unfortunately Orion can't get near Tim. Apparently only the caretaker, and strangely me, can touch him. Tim allows me to pet him, but he makes himself flat. It's not a very convincing flatness, because he's so big. He's a sweetie, and so good natured considering that he's terrified.

Orion wanders. And wanders. And wanders. There are so many cats hiding in bookshelves, tucked in cages, curled up on scratchposts, nibbling on food, playing, chasing, scurrying underfoot that it's overwhelming. There's a poodle in the mix. Someone found him on the side of the road and brought him to the cat shelter. Why, they don't know, but there was no room at the nearest humane society so he's there among the cats, confused and scared and lonely and wondering what the heck he was doing with all these cats. The cats wondered too.

We play with lots of cats. I fall in love with a calico with fur as soft as a rabbit's and twice as glossy. She literally shines wherever she goes. Orion plays with a cute black and white kitten, but I say no. A. Black and white and all black kitties are reliably obnoxious about being vocal and B. he obviously has or has had ringworm.

It sounds like a house of horrors, and in many ways it is, but not for the cats. They're warm. They're safe from predators. They have plenty of food and clean water. They get medical treatment, including for the ringworm that so many feral cats have. And they're altered so that they don't have to suffer through pregnancy or hormonal rages that put them at risk for injury. The FLV positive cats have their own room and don't spread the disease to other cats. It's a very good thing, though it sure doesn't smell that way.

We land beside a cage, overwhelmed, when a small white kitten about four months old reaches through the bars and snags my shirt. "Mew!" He has such a soft yet insistent voice. He's not pure white either. He's unusual. If you can imagine a pure white siamese but with ginger instead of dark coloring, that's him. He has ginger tabby stripes on his tail and ginger ears. It's a red-eared hound! Only, er, not. He looks up at me with big blue eyes.

"Now he has serious personality," the caretaker tells us. "Want to pick him up?"

We had picked up a lot of cats, including a black kitty that likes to ride shoulders like Lucky and fiesty ones and cuddly purr muffins, but this one, yes, he has personality. He likes to be petted but only X amount of pressure, and his body leans away from the stroke to adjust so that you're petting him only just so much. He loves to be carried. He has a tender, ready purr and he's trusting, but not too trusting. Any noise, bump, sudden movement and he hides, but then he comes right back out as if to say 'If you're still out here I guess it must be okay. But next time it might not be so don't forget to hide too!'

We filled out the papers and took little Mojo home. He's our first white cat and he'll be all indoors. White cats are particularly vulnerable to predators, and also are prone to ear cancer.

Here's our Mojo all happy at home. He looks a lot younger in the pic than he actually is: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I mean it this time. No more animals. I'm putting my foot down! All you strays out there, you better not show up at our back doorstep because you're out of luck.

Unless you're really, really cute.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Awwwwwwww...... :-)

He's sure a pretty thing, and if he has a personality to match, I'd call it a lucky find!

(I hear you about the strays winding up on your doorstep. Our property seems to be a popular neighborhood dumping site for unwanted kittens, which is how we got Tora and pretty much every other cat that has been in this household except Aka, who was born here.)

Carole said...

Blue eyes? Ginger ears and around the nose? Looks like you've got yourself a Turkish Van or at least a mix of one! We had one for a dozen years (Vincent) and loved him so much! LOADS of personality but they can become vocal once they become confident of their surroundings.

Vince left us about six years ago but sometimes, here at the house and out of the blue, I'll hear the meow that was distinctly his.

Congrats Orion and Mojo on finding each other!

Kami said...

It would be neat if he had some Turkish Van in him, although one source I looked up mentioned that Turkish Vans are generally longish in the hair department.

It says they like to swim. Heh.

I'm trying to resist turning into the local cat lady, I really am! See me trying? This is my trying face, the one with the orange nose and ears.