This post was completely lost on Blogetary 1.0, so this is a reconstruction or retelling of how Teddy came to live with me for Blogetary 2.0. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a better read this time round.
This is the story of how Santa Bastet came by and brought Theodore Forrest Beauregard Olivier, Emperor of Catmas, Noble Defender of the Household (Teddy for short) to live with me.
We were putting the January paper to bed the week leading up to Christmas and it was busy, but I was coming to the realization that I felt as if I was finally ready to put feelers out for a new kitty to come live with me. I wasn’t going to be in any hurry, just slowly look around and be open to the possibility. I confided that at work, but didn’t think any of it, just went about my busy day.
We got the paper to bed, barely. It’s December 23 and though it’s only a five minute walk home, I’m exhausted. I’m settling in for an evening of Christmas movies when Pam, from work calls me up and tells me she is at NKLA (part of Best Friends) and has seen an orange kitty there I might like. But they won’t let her adopt it without me being there. Can she and Pierre come pick me up?
Um, sure? I nodded then realized she couldn’t see me and said “Sure!” with more confidence.
I kind of sat and stared for a while, but eventually got myself moving again so I could be downstairs when she drove up. Almost forgot to bring my cat carrier. It was about 7:30 in the evening. She’d driven all the way from West LA and we were driving back again. She assured me we didn’t have to do this this evening, but she happened to be at the shelter and saw an orange kitty who was about 4 years old and wanted me to take a look at it. And there happened to be another orange kitty there who was older if I liked as well.
I breathed again and realized I could just roll with this. This was Christmas after all. Magical things happen at Christmas.
With traffic it took a while to get back over to the shelter, and then we had to wait to sign in and then wait to be escorted back to the kitties, so that it was about 8:30 by the time eyeballs were on cats. I didn’t think any of it, but they closed at 9 p.m., so it put a little bit of a hurry in our step.
There were all sorts of kitties back in the kitty room. Some were big, some small. Some older and some very young. Some playful and some napping. Pam introduced me to Kennedy (the shelter name for the cat) and I don’t think either Kennedy or I “felt it” for each other. She was a pretty orange kitty with a white tuxedo. I hope she found a good home, but she and I weren’t for each other. But I decided to look around at the other kitties while I was there, just as a way to take things in. Like I said, there were all sorts of cats. There was a young girl running around excited because her family was taking home a pair of white kittens. I found myself a little taken with a gray tabby who was about six months old. He almost came home with me, but he had Pye’s feral look in his eyes and I knew what kind of work he would be for any home he went to. I wasn’t sure I wasn’t up to it again, at least not yet. So, I kept him in the back of my mind in case I didn’t see anyone else who caught my eye, but kept looking.
In the meantime, my friend Pam had become taken with a kind, but very large, black and white cat who went by the name of Adam. And the only reason she didn’t take him right there and then, I think, is that he had Feline Leukemia, so that gave her some pause (as opposed to paws… heh). She was having fun playing with him.
I wandered back to the front. It was getting late, almost at closing time, but they’d said there was that other orange cat. Now, they’d called him an orange long-haired cat, but as I’ve been the owner two very orange-y cats, he looked more beige-y sand colored to me, and long hair? It was normal, if a bit thicker. And he had a patch shaved off his back and his tummy, but they didn’t know why. He’d come from the city shelter that way. They’d guessed at his age as 7 years old and put his birthday down as December 8, but I think that was just his intake date. (These days — June 2016 — he strikes me as as more of a June baby and less of a December baby. Who knows?) They called him Poppy.
Anyway, I wasn’t really sure I was interested, but I thought what was the harm of getting a closer look at him, and maybe I’d like him, or one of the other kitties who was there. The NKLA shelter is on Pontius, which is at least an hour or more bus ride from where I live, so I wasn’t sure when I’d get back there. Pam was still deciding about Adam, taking Pierre back to meet him I think. Since I was there, I thought I would check him out. And, after a lot of waiting … (it was after closing now — there was a LOT of waiting that evening, and I wasn’t sure what for as there were a lot of minders just sitting at computers. Maybe they weren’t allowed to do the cat or dog handling, but if that was the case it would have been good if it had been explained. If I’d let customers wait that long without an explanation when I worked in retail I would have been written up and/or fired. Nice people, all of them, but it was a lot waiting)…. anyway, after more they finally took me in to see “Poppy,” where he’d been hanging out in a small community room place with other cats.
Cat’s don’t always want you to pet them, even when they seem to exude “pet me vibes.” I was aware of that as I approached this big, beige-colored cat. Poppy seemed like an odd name on my tongue. He had a pretty face, like a flower — I got that. But he didn’t seem like a Poppy for me.
He was laying there, kind of looking depressed. I reached over to let him take a whiff of my hand, said “Hi!” and he got up right away, chirping and rubbing his face against my hand. It was almost instant. And I instantly started crying. Just crying. I wanted to pick him and hold him, but didn’t want to seem forward, so settled with just lots of petting. And when I could find someone again (after more waiting and finding Pam and Pierre and letting them know) said, “I want this one.”
And then it was reading and signing paperwork and going through the care and feeding of cats (they were very conscientious). “Poppy” had been checked over by a vet, given shots, been micro-chipped, and had the sniffles. They wanted to make sure I understood everything. I noticed in the paperwork that someone had labeled him “stout” at 12 1/2 pounds. I figured we were meant for each other since we’re both middle-aged and stout.
Pam paid for the adoption as a lovely Christmas gift. (I call her Teddy’s godmother.) And then we were finally, at about 10 p.m., on our way back to the car to go home! (Until someone came out and reminded us we needed medicine for the sniffles, so there was more waiting while we waited for someone to get the medication.)
And that’s how I ended up waiving goodbye to Pam and Pierre at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve Eve as they drove off after dropping me at home with a cat in tow. And suddenly as I stood there on the sidewalk I realized I had no litter, litter box, food, catnip or toys to speak of. I’d given most of it away after Pye died, and tossed the rest. I rushed up the stairs as fast I as could lugging the cat carrier. I’d forgotten how hard that could be.
I set the carrier down, opened the door, got some water (looked again for something akin to tuna and found nothing) and then rushed over to the computer to see what I could do about ordering something in the way of cat things from Yummy before they closed at midnight. I could always get other things later, but we needed the essentials that night.
I ended up with a roasting pan for a litter box. (6/12/16 — Every time Teddy used it he gave me a dirty look if I was around. I apologized for it every time for it until we got a proper litter box.) Otherwise, I was able to get the food and the litter and treats enough to tide us over until later.
And that’s how Santa Bastet brought Teddy to stay.
June 12, 2016 Addendum: I forgot to say he’s earned his keep in defending my honor against a HUGE brown spider that found it’s way into my bathroom a few days after he arrived. I had seen the spider earlier and decided to ignore it until I could deal with it later. Teddy saw it, started batting it across the bathroom floor, playing with it, it scooted behind the makeshift litter box, he found it, and “killt it dead – d-e-d – dead.”
It was a good fight, but it was ugly. Spider didn’t know what had hit her/him/it.
Yes, I know, spiders are good. Normally, I’m all about leaving them be, but this was a big outdoor brown recluse-looking thing that had made it’s way inside somehow. Scary. I am so glad Teddy defended my honor. Very happy I didn’t have to be the one to trap it or scoot it out the window somehow or wash it down the drain.
And that’s how Theodore Forrest Beauregard Olivier, Emperor of Catmas, Noble Defender of the Household (Teddy for short) came to stay.
June 13, 2016 — P.S. — Pam and Pierre went back to NKLA to a few days later and brought Adam, now Felix, home for Boxing Day to live with them and their two dogs. So, happy endings all around.