Yesterday, before picking Andy up from the airport, I needed to get some canned food for Gail. Just after moving here I decided to follow some advice I found in the cathealth community. They said cats should be fed both canned and dry regularly, something which has been confirmed by every pet store, shelter employee, and vet I've talked with since. We ran out on the 28th, and I had no desire to enter a pet store after the 29th. However, by not having canned food I felt I was neglecting Gail, so I finally decided to go.
The pet store I went to, Clark's, is one of the many in the area which have pet areas. Theirs is called "Kitty City" and is, as indicated by the name, only cats. It is really cool; cageless, and with tons of kitty toys and rafters wide enough for them to walk on. All kitties who reside in Kitty City have already been fixed and tested for the various nasty diseases. I decided to go in and get some fuzz therapy. I was very firm with myself; I was not there to get a cat. Heck, I still cry half the time I even think of Thena. I need more time.
Life happened. It occurred in the form of Honey, one of three gray tabbies (her sister is Cutie and her brother is Lovie). When she came over to sniff me I picked her up and put her in my lap, and she immediately curled up. She left a few times for food and such, but always returned to lap sit. Another kitty, Fern, got onto my lap at one point, and when Honey returned she half-sat on Fern and half-sat on my lap until Fern left. Fern's brother, BTW, is named "Jules". You may direct your groans to the Albuquerque PACA * AAR.
Anyway, the final time Honey got on my lap she stayed there for a while, and then fell asleep. It was all over at that point. A woman (Monica) came in and started chatting, asking if I was Heather. It appeared Heather had applied for Honey, and I said I'd let her go to her since she'd have a good home. Monica, who turned out to be Honey's foster mother, recommended I put in an application anyway, since Heather's might be rejected. She was very persuasive, at least after asking me a bunch of questions about Thena and Gail and my views on declawing and such. Then a guy poked his head into the room and said "7 o'clock, we're closing".
I'd gone in at five. I'd meant to visit the kitties, grab Gail's food, go home and check Southwest's site to see how Andy's flight was doing, and then go retrieve him, after cleaning the apartment a bit. I already knew it'd been delayed to 20:00, so at least I wasn't late. I filled out the application in the parking lot, answering more of Monica's questions. She really cares about her foster kitties. I'm lucky Monica was there, because I was able to ask her which I-40 to take. Incidentally, Andy's plane was delayed even more, so I was there about half a crossword puzzle early.
Every Saturday many of the ABQ pet stores hold an adopt-a-thon, and Clark's is no exception. I figured they'd be much like those in NC, wherein if you like an animal you put down a $15.00 deposit and an application and they schedule an adoption date. During the intervening days they check up on you. I brought Andy along to meet Honey and to see the Kitty City, because it is just so cool. Two of the PACA volunteers remembered me. One (Myrtice) had brought in a kitten named Trent the day before and we'd chatted. Trent and ten other kittens had all tested positive on an FlV saliva test, which had in turn devastated the workers. They opted for using a blood test, and Trent was the first of the eleven to be cleared.
The other was Monica. At first Honey was too busy up in a kitty bucket with Caesar, an older black cat, but eventually she came down to see what all the fuss was about. She hopped into my lap and obviously recognized me, and she also seemed quite happy to cuddle up with Andy. Incidentally, so did another kitten, Dixon, who could have been her brother for how much they looked alike, but he was about a month older. I'm wondering if we can plead hard enough if we can get them to bend the 2-pet policy here -- Andy fell for Dixon, and that'd sort of even up the 3:1 ratio we currently have going.
After a while, Monica said that since Heather had never showed up that we should begin the adoption process. I protested, noting that the adopt-a-thon went until 16:00, but Monica said she'd rung Heather earlier that morning and told her about it, and that since she hadn't bothered showing up yet, she saw no reason to wait. We began filling out the paperwork, and then we found out we needed to pay by check.
A new feature had been added to Kitty City literally overnight -- memorial panels to peoples' beloved kitties. Thena will be the first kitty memorialized who didn't belong to one of the volunteers. We decided to use my CU account and Andy went home to retrieve the checkbook and Thena's carrier. He came back later, and we discovered that there were no checks left, so he went home again. While he was getting the checkbook for our local CU, Heather apparently showed up. Another volunteer told her Honey was spoken for and she left, not even coming back to look at Cutie or Lovie or Dixon or Trent. Her loss, I guess. When I apologized Monica and Myrtice said "Don't." I get the impression that neither was very impressed with Heather.
By the time Andy got back Honey had hopped up onto the high ledge and kicked Caesar out of the bucket. The pet store gives a 10% discount on the day you adopt a cat, and I had seen a great scratching post for Gail. It's all sisal, about 3 ft high, and has a really huge base so it's not likely to tip. Andy also reminded me to get the food, and we made a snap decision that Honey's color is going to be purple. We celebrated this by getting her a purple poofy ball, and I also got two really pretty pastel chenille balls, one for each. By the time we got back Monica had hauled out a ladder and was retrieving Honey.
I don't know if I'd mentioned it in a previous entry, but a week and a half ago I'd ordered a second Littermaid. I'd noticed that Thena wasn't jumping as much as she used to, and hesitating more before jumping on my lap for dinner, so I decided to get one for each level just in case she might start having problems with stairs. It arrived on the 30th, and I stashed it in a corner and ignored it. I'd also gotten a second fountain, one for downstairs and one for the spare room, and they'd both been set up in the first three days we were in ABQ.
We put Honey into to spare room, with one fountain, the old Littermaid, and lots of places to explore and hide. We also showed the kitties to each other and they sniffed at each other. Andy took Gail downstairs while I made sure Honey was all right and ceremonially removed the paper collar with her name on it. I ordered her a new collar, harness, and leash from Lupine -- Thena's are being retired. Andy and I also began discussing names; I was partial to Holly or Heidi. He quickly got me to drop Holly by mentioning that he'd forever associate her with Red Dwarf. He wasn't so sure about Heidi, but he also wasn't enthusiastic about any of the other names I tossed out.
He took his turn with the nameless kitten while I foozled the squeak out of Gail. She was understandably upset, but welcomed the attention. She also likes her new scratching post, which makes me very happy. I put together the new Littermaid and Gail baptized it even before I'd finished putting the litter in. She can't be that upset; I swear she does that just to pull my leg.
Gail got into the room one more time, and this time she hissed -- possibly the first time I've ever seen her do that. Then she hid under the bed and wouldn't come out. Unnamed kitten, for her part, seemed fine with Gail. I suspect being fostered with a trillion other dogs and cats and then living in a free-form environment with cats at Clark's has something to do with it. We put the kitten in the guest bathroom and Andy went down to get Heartguard, which Gail always eats enthusiastically. When it became obvious she wasn't coming out he went back downstairs. I coaxed her into eating the Heartguard while under the bed, then pulled the bed away from the wall and retrieved her. She didn't hiss or growl or struggle.
My computer (skein) was having problems, so I went upstairs to register the kitten. I saw Gail on our bed, so I went in and began cuddling her. An hour or two later Andy came up and "awed" at us. The only time she hadn't been snuggling was when she was actively asking for scritches. I think as long as Andy and I make sure she gets at least as much attention as before she'll eventually come around. Plus, I think once she discovers that the kitten, unlike Thena, doesn't get worn out, that they'll become fast friends.
Andy and I took some pictures of nameless kitten, which Andy pulled off the camera. In doing so we also saw the last picture we'd ever taken of Thena. She was lounging, sprawled out so as almost to completely cover, the horizontal scratching box we got for Gail. Possibly the frequent infusions of catnip contributed to her interest. I'll link to the picture as soon as we get it into the gallery. Andy alerted me as to his decision on Heidi's name by quoting the new gallery URL to me.
Heidi is very cute, and she's a lap kitty. She resembles Thena somewhat. She is not a replacement for Thena, though. In fact, adopting her has only reminded us even more poignantly that Thena is actually gone. We get her ashes back on Tuesday, and I imagine that will drive it home as well. I hope that turnberryknkn's words on the phone when he called the day after Thena's death hold true: that Thena will be whispering in the ear of any cat we ever take in. Maybe it was her who told Honey "Psssst. Fall asleep in her lap and you'll have a home in no time flat."