|Mama kitty was a pretty tortoiseshell and probably not much older than a kitten herself|
Years ago I had cats but I've been a dog person for over 20 years and was not looking to add a cat to the family. I called a couple of rescue groups who told me they had no room. One even told me if the kitten was older than three months he (a quick internet search provided enough information for me to determine junior actually was a "he") was probably not adoptable. Really? How sad. I was involved in miniature schnauzer rescue for many years and never encountered a shortage of homes for young adoptable dogs.
A week or so went by. The top of my hot tub had become one big cat bed. I spoke with the town Animal Control Officer (my town doesn't impound cats) and started putting the word out to my friends and co-workers that I had a couple of cats up for grabs if anyone was interested.
|Junior appeared too old to be nursing but it was probably his only food source.|
|Napping on my hot tub|
A few people feigned interest but at the end of the day the cats were still here. On the morning I stepped outside and came face to face with the biggest tom cat I had ever seen I immediately called my vet and scheduled an appointment to get mama kitty spayed. I had visions of a plethora of unwanted cats lounging all over my garden. Throughout the neighborhood I would no longer be known just as that crazy garden woman but as that crazy cat woman with the garden.
When I dropped mama off at the vet I let the vet assistants know she was a stray and asked if they knew of anyone who might want a nice cat. Needless to say I wasn't hopeful. So imagine my surprise when they called me the next day to tell me one of their long time clients who had just lost her 19 year old cat was currently involved in a "meet and greet" with mama in one of the examining rooms.
Everyone at the vet's office was so impressed by mama's affectionate nature. They asked if I would allow the woman to take her home for the weekend to see how it worked out? Mind? Tell her about the handsome, affectionate son too! The following Monday I went to pay the bill for a cat that was no longer mine. To console myself as I forked over $400 I thought about the hundreds, maybe thousands of unwanted cats I had prevented from entering the world...and all the things I could have done with and extra $400.
One down, one to go. Hmmmm...what to do about Junior?
Even a non cat person would have to admit this was one good looking cat. Not only did he have looks on his side but he had a personality to match. Once his mother was out of the picture he immediately warmed up to me. When it came time for his trip to the vet, I offered up the same deal and crossed my fingers. Much to my dismay, when I went to settle the bill, after plunking down another three hundred bucks I was handed
|Let me at 'em!|
Nick, as expected, was not warming up to him. Terriers generally look upon cats as sources of entertainment to be barked at and chased. And in Nick's defense, he had spent eleven years blissfully ignorant of life with a cat. Fortunately the cat was athletic and had no problem zipping up and shimmying down trees.
|"Let me in!"|
|"Let me in!"|
As the days grew shorter and colder I had to come up with a strategy to winter over a cat. Unlike my tropical plants, being stashed dormant in the basement just wasn't going to cut it.
Although he was comfortable sleeping just about anywhere outside, I knew his makeshift bed in the garage wouldn't suffice for nights in the dead of winter. My first challenge though was to get Nick to allow him into the house. After giving the situation some thought, I hatched a plan to desensitize the dog in hopes that he would stop barking, snarling and hurling himself at the door. Maybe then the cat would lose some of his fear. I started by opening the door a crack and letting them get nose to nose. After a month or two my plan appeared to be working so I finally just held my breath, opened the door and let the cat in. Much to my surprise, the plan worked!
|"Now you listen to me, you good for nothing fleabag..."|
Since I'm still not interested and giving a cat the run of my house-especially when I'm sleeping or not home, I transformed what was previously a basment room "man cave" into a luxurious "kitty room" complete with litter box, kitty gym and full complement of kitty toys.
|A well appointed kitty room would not be complete without a kitty gym.|
|Lounging in the sun on a winter day.|
|Since he didn't appear to be going anywhere soon, I figured he needed a name. Introducing The Twerpster (aka The Twerpinator)|
|Can't find the Twerpster? Check my bed.|
During the winter before he arrived mice sprung traps located in my house and grill 21 times and I still had to listen to the pitter patter of their little rodent feet in my ceilings every night. Voles killed two specimen Japanese maples and disfigured many other shrubs in my garden. Sections of my bluestone walkways were sinking due to the tunneling of chipmunks, and rabbits were launching nightly raids that left shrubs, trees and perennials decimated. To say I'd had it with rodents would be an understatement.
I no longer have any of these problems. Mice have not lived in my ceiling in over a year. For the first time in years I have Heucheras instead of nubs. Echinaceas and Rudbekias are actually blooming without having to be constantly sprayed. Chipmunks and voles are virtually non existent. Yes, he also kills birds and no, I'm not OK with that. From the get go I maintained a position that if I could find a home for him that was better than mine, I'd let him go but despite my best effort that home never materialized. So for the forseeable future I appear to be owned by a cat.