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Comfort from an unexpected quarter

my buddy

No, this is not Damien. He’s still AWOL. I’ve been putting off one particular chore — visiting the pound in person — because I expected to be slapped in the face with a yowling slice of pussycat hell. Kitty Auschwitz. Okay, mostly I was bracing to fall in love with every cat in sight and be inconsolable when I couldn’t take them all home.

Instead, it was strangely comforting.

I signed in — name, address and phone number — and they pointed me to the Cat Room. It’s a small room with about 20 cages. Yesterday, there were five cats and one kitten. I was by myself in there. Yeah. It was smoochie time.

For a second, I thought I spotted Damien, but it was a little stripey female with a bit of brown on her coat and a rough, cigarette-y meow. Probably meowed herself hoarse, poor thing. She’d only been there a few days and she had a clear mark where a collar had been. It took me a while to locate the kitten. He was across from the others and coal black. I found him via his progressively angry mew, as in, “hey lady! Kitten being cute over here!”

I’m a hard-core cat watcher. I do my best not to anthropomorphize them or overestimate their intelligence, but I’d love to know exactly what goes on in those little hairy brain pans. There’s no doubt in my mind those cats knew the score. They were auditioning for me, and giving it their best shot (except the kitten, who doesn’t have to try). Not screaming and flailing, but displaying behaviors ten thousand generations of their kind employ to dissolve cat-loving slop-bags such as this writer into puddles of goo.

I know my guess is right, because they behaved very differently today. They recognized me. They were grateful for the ear skritches, but each one waited quietly and patiently for his or her turn.

Oh, yes. I went back today. The manager is a likeable, upbeat guy and very grateful when visitors spend time with the cats. Keeps them sociable and adoptable. And he’s moving them out, too; four got adopted Saturday. The Damien-like little girl was adopted while I was there. The kitten got snapped up later. New cats appeared in their places, of course. There are always more.

Okay. Yes. It’s sad that I have to leave them there. But I know I made those nice moggies feel better and, on balance, that made me happier than it made me sad.

I can’t go every day. They’re only open while I’m at work, it’s fifteen minutes each way and I only theoretically get a half-hour lunch. But I’m going back.

And next time, I’m bringing string.

UPDATE: okay, this is just weird. I was chatting with my neighbors in back, and one of them asked if that was my cat in the flyer, and when I said yes, she said, “but he’s been here all along. I know for sure I saw him Sunday, standing right there.”

From what I understand, there’s a litter of new kittens (or maybe just a gang of young cats) about, and another of my neighbors is feeding them. If he’s warm, fed and amongst friends…yeah, I guess I could see that. He always liked being around other cats, and Charlotte hates him with a flamey hate (and deservedly. He’s always trying to suckle her or steal her food).

If he’s fallen in with a mama cat who will let him nurse, he’s a very dirty boy. A very dirty boy I might not see again for a while.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:45 pm

The guy in the picture has been there since February, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. He’s gorgeous. The best of the lot. I’ve waited years for the Cat Goddess to bring one like this to my door.

He’s a great big deep-chested goofy ginger tom, maybe three years old. He’s got eyes the same color as his fur and all his original equipment (which is, no doubt, how he ended up in the pound).

I’ve never known a ginger cat that wasn’t a sweetheart.

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:48 pm

That guy in your pic looks like a ‘Morris’.
That is nice of you weasel to go and try and brighten their/your days with some nice skritches, kind words, and pets. They like that.

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:50 pm

The best of the lot. I’ve waited years for the Cat Goddess to bring one like this to my door.

Maybe he has been waiting for that special someone. Do it. You know you want to. He looks like a thinking sort.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:52 pm

Like Morris, but manlier. It’s the balls; I’m sure of it.

I thought it would make me feel horrible going there, but I was surprised. I haven’t felt emboldened enough to take anyone out of the cage (except the kitten, of course). Even friendly cats can get a little crazy if they’ve been locked up a long time. I’ve opened the cage just enough to give proper head-rubs, though.

There’s at least one old retired guy who tries to make it down there every day. I bumped into him yesterday. We chatted for a while.

I wish there was a chair in there. There were a couple of shy girls that looked like they could use some lap time.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2008, 2:53 pm

Oh, there’s not a chance, PnB. Getting a cat into the UK is a process that takes at least seven months.

That’s why I’m so anxious to find Damien. If he turns up after his next rabies booster is due in August, he’ll have to stay behind.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: May 20, 2008, 3:57 pm

I’ve always had dogs. One of my current ones is a Norwegian Elkhound, the first and so far only pedigreed dog I’ve ever had (she came from a divorcing family, moving into “no dog” apartments). No objection to purebreeds per se, but I figure every one in a litter will get a home, while the ones in shelters don’t have that certainty. So all the rest have been shelter dogs.

And like you, the thing about visiting the shelter to select one is always my guilt that I’m just going to be bringing one home. Now not all shelter dogs are suitable for adoption, some are damaged goods, not safe around children or other dogs or maybe even around humans. But most of them just need a comfortable loving home to achieve ful doggy potential, and I always feel bad not being able to provide one for them all.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2008, 4:39 pm

I know. I keep trying to sell the city on the slogan “Have Your Pet Spayed or I’ll Come To Your House and Beat the Snot Out of You,” but they don’t think it’s slick enough. Stupid public service announcements.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: May 20, 2008, 4:52 pm

Probably meowed herself hoarse, poor thing.

Either that or she never got around to quitting smoking.

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 20, 2008, 5:27 pm

I would ask your neighbor that the next time she sees or feeds him, to capture him. Then I would put him under lock and key until you move. Can’t be worrying yourself silly up til August. Little bugger.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: May 20, 2008, 5:55 pm

What’s the matter, porknbean, jealous? I know I am. For the first time in my life I am jealous of a damned cat.

Comment from Lokki
Time: May 20, 2008, 7:10 pm

The Cat That Walked By Himself

Comment from Jessica
Time: May 20, 2008, 7:13 pm

Mom and I make regular visits to the Potter League to pet all the cats. I load up on Zyrtec and spend the afternoon. And you are absolutely right – they do perform for you when you visit! It kills me to leave them there, but as a spinster librarian, there’s a limit on how many cats I should have.

Foxy, my ginger boy, is the sweetest, most lovable cat I have ever had. Every morning he snuggles up with me and I read to him. Yes, yes I do. I anthropomorphize my cats plenty!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2008, 7:15 pm

Jess! I thought of you! They have a guy there now who is the spitting image of Pablo (and my old Andrew)!

The orange dude would make about three Foxies, though 😉

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 20, 2008, 7:38 pm

okay, this is just weird.

Weird, maybe; but heartening, no?

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: May 20, 2008, 8:17 pm

Bull, Jessica. As a spinster librarian, there is absolutely no limit whatsoever how many cats you may have. The more, the greater the level of spinsterish librarianhood. For me, one cat is too many, but for you there is no upper limit.

Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: May 20, 2008, 8:45 pm

I intend to name my next set of pets Ohno and Nono in honor of all of the craptastic parents I’ve ever seen in Walmart/Target/whatever.

Comment from quasi
Time: May 20, 2008, 10:05 pm

I really hope you find your cat. And I really hope you let one of those shelter kitties work its wiles on you. We all need forever homes. I hope this cheers you: I’d like to tell you that my hilariously funny book, The World Is Your Litter Box, is in bookstores now and is also available on Amazon. The book is cleverly disguised as a cute cat book so humans will buy it, but is, in fact, a how-to manual FOR cats. Check it out on my website, http://www.theworldisyourlitterbox.com.

Comment from Ceiling Cat
Time: May 20, 2008, 11:03 pm

I is in yor hood watchin ovah yor kitteh.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2008, 7:40 am

I’ve always loved The Cat That Walked By Himself, Lokki (now with working link!). Damien reminded me of it often, because he has a disproportionately long wavy tail with a black tip on it.

“And he went back through the Wet Wild Woods, waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2008, 7:43 am

Yeah. I might’ve knowed somebody registered ceilingcat.com already.

Comment from Lokki
Time: May 21, 2008, 3:18 pm

Thank you for fixing the link,Weasel…. More Akismet v. Lokki blues. With the ability to fix postings for 15 minutes we lose the ability to verify that links are working.

The Cat That Walked By Himself has always been a favorite of mine too. I like a lot of Kipling’s stuff, but that sort of ‘low-brow’ poetry and writing is out of fashion now.
I mean it’s not a haiku or anything.

My Cat is missing
I want him to come home now
I miss his meows

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2008, 4:00 pm

You can right-click links and choose “open in new window” (or whatever your browser calls it). I have to do that always; since I’m Queen Shit of the Pixies, all comments are editable by me always.

Which gives me the willies. I mean, when I accidentally click “edit” on somebody else’s words.

Comment from kishnevi
Time: May 21, 2008, 4:40 pm

The noble friend has departed.
The moon lingers in the sky.
Yet still tears trickle into my wine cup.
I can only hope that the sound
Of my lonely flute will recall
My friend to the accustomed place.

Which, if it wasn’t a real Chinese poem, should have been.

Comment from Lokki
Time: May 21, 2008, 6:56 pm


That’s beautiful….

Who is the author?

Comment from Buffoon
Time: May 22, 2008, 12:07 am

Another guy led astray by sinister she devil charms…

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