Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Take Two, They're Small.

My S.O. and I have talked about getting a cat or dog for a long time. At first it was vague discussions about what we'd want, where we'd look, and how we'd fit them into our lifestyles -- cat or dog? One or two? How would we divvy up walking and litter-scooping? Things gradually became more and more concrete, until we finally decided, "Okay. After graduation, maybe we can get one for our anniversary."

We've still got a month to go before our soft deadline, but this past weekend seemed like as good a time as any to visit a local shelter, talk to the staff, and get a better idea of what we were prepared for.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know how that trip went.

We stopped by the Humane Rescue Alliance shelter Saturday afternoon, "just to look." I figured we'd end up seeing who was available, filling out paperwork, and waiting while they decided whether or not we'd be suitable pet parents. At least, that was the plan.

In reality, I fell hard for this big, sweet 11 month old orange tabby. My S.O. was smitten with this tiny, super friendly three year old other orange tabby. When we asked about filing an application, the staff asked us if we'd be ready to take them home that day.

I looked at my S.O. for confirmation. Welp, I figured, I guess we are now.

So, meet Kiko Lapushka and Pyewacket Poose:

[caption id="attachment_3457" align="aligncenter" width="513"] Kiko's default state. (Don't worry -- the oily spot's just flea preventative.)[/caption]

Kiko is from Circumstances. She's about the size of a four or five month old kitten, though she's full grown. When she was found/surrendered, she'd recently had kittens -- no kittens were found, though. She also had a large, necrotic wound on her hind leg that needed some pretty serious surgery, so she's got a lot of healing to do. In spite of all she's been through, she's otherwise healthy, extremely friendly, and very curious about her surroundings. She's missing a lot of fur where she had to be shaved for her operations, but she rocks an asymmetric haircut like nobody else.


[caption id="attachment_3469" align="aligncenter" width="513"] Those pink toebeans though.[/caption]

Pye is a Special Boy. He's a huge, oafy baby, and probably solidly three times Kiko's size. He chirped at me to get my attention, and reached through the bars to us for extra petting. He runs up to headbutt and talk to you if you so much as look at him. Everything is toys, though he's particularly enthralled by a blue mouse and this "Games for Cats" app on my phone. (He gets frustrated trying to catch the animated mice through the screen, so he shoves his paws under my phone to reach beneath it. I keep trying to tell him it doesn't work like that, but teenagers never listen to anyone.) He kept me up until 7:30 AM because he napped all day and wanted to play all night.

Introducing two strange cats to each other is tricky at the best of times, and Kiko has some considerable health challenges right now. We're concerned about the added stress she might experience from handling an introduction to a strange cat right now -- though they were at the same shelter, they were in different areas and therefore don't know each other's scents. We're also concerned that leaving them completely separate until she's fully healed might give them a chance to become a little too used to being alone in their respective areas. So far, we've been letting Kiko explore a little bit on her own time, and observing both cats' body language when they catch glimpses or smells of each other.

She couldn't care less about him after an initial sniff or two, and he rolls over on his back and tries to play the second he sees her. Go figure.

So, for now, she's staying in the bathroom for most of the day to continue resting up, and we give them little bits of brief interaction (mostly sniffing and allogrooming so far) a couple of times a day. There haven't been any growls, hisses, raised hackles, puffy tails, or pinned-back ears -- our main concern now is less hostility than it is that Pye is a rambunctious fifteen pound kitten who doesn't know his own strength and has paws like oven mitts.

The staff at the shelter were very courteous, friendly, and professional, and really made the entire adoption process a breeze. I'm still heartbroken that I couldn't give every animal there a home (visiting an animal shelter is rough), but I'm ecstatically happy that we were able to bring home these two lovable goofballs.

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