During the weeks since Wilbert left, I spent quite a bit of time online looking at various shelters - there are several in the area that have websites with photos and sometimes little bios of their available cats. Sort of like Match.com for pets :-). I knew I didn't want a kitten, but didn't want an old cat either; one shelter had a beautiful, part Maine coon cat up for adoption, but she was 8 years old and I just had serious reservations about bringing home a "senior" cat. Before we went in on Saturday, I had pretty much decided on a cute 2-year old black and white cat named Nelly. When we met with the adoption counselor I explained that my one criteria was that I needed a cat that would be okay being the only pet, and she agreed Nelly would be a great fit. However, when we were let into the cat room at the shelter Nelly made it quite clear she had no intentions of going anywhere with us.
The adoption counselor suggested we spend some time with another cat while waiting for Nelly to come out from deep underneath the cages where she was hiding. She opened a cage door and out jumped Calypso -- the 8 year old part Maine coon. I spent the next HOUR holding her while she clung to me and purred, rubbing her head on my neck, while my nieces entertained the kittens. She was so sweet and cuddly, and let the girls pat her while I held her. During this hour I had many thoughts to myself, YOU SUCKER being the most prevalent one, but as the minutes ticked along it became more and more of a done deal. (Not the least of which because Nelly never budged from her hiding spot.) The clincher, as they say, was this: there was another couple in the cat room, and the husband said to me, "You know, they say that the person doesn't choose the cat, the cat chooses you"...and that's how I wound up the proud (if a wee bit reluctant) parent of Calypso:
On the way home, we talked about whether we should change her name. The girls insisted she get to keep her name, and I agreed even though it means I'm going to be spending lord only knows how many years singing John Denver's "Calypso" song ("Aye Calypso I sing to your spirit, the men who have served you so long and so well"). It is a bit of a mouthful, though, and I've found myself calling her Caly ("callie"). She doesn't seem to mind what she's called as long as you keep scratching her chin.
It's been just one day, but she seems to have adjusted quite well to her new surroundings. She has an incredibly sweet and affectionate disposition, clearly well trained, and a little bit playful. She's using the litter box and is eating, though I'm a little worried she's not eating enough - the shelter said she'd lost weight during the month she was there, but that that was not unusual. She was only at the shelter a month, and they seem to have done a fairly thorough exam and found nothing wrong with her, but tomorrow I'll call and make a vet appointment to get her checked out just in case. She's a small cat, much smaller than Wilbert, so it may simply be she just doesn't eat a whole lot compared to him. Her file said that her previous owners gave her up because she didn't get along with their other pets; it sounds more like they got a couple of new cats and a dog and she couldn't cope. After having Wilbert for two years and knowing how hard it was to give him back to his family, I can't IMAGINE having a cat for 8 years and giving her up to a shelter...it's hard not to be judgemental, even though it appears they did the right thing. She seems pretty content - when she's not sleeping in her bed or under my bed, she's purring and cuddly. There's no one to steal her toys or block her from the food dish or the litter box, and I am perfectly happy to have her cuddle up and purr in my ear.
I do worry about the vet bills with an older cat...I am crossing my fingers she is as healthy as she seems. I also must confess that I worry too about getting attached to something that might not be around for a long time, although she's so sweet there's no way I couldn't get attached to her. As an indoor-only cat she could very well live to be 18 or 20, which means we could have a decade or more together, and the very real truth is nothing's sticking around forever, and better a few short years with a wonderful kitty than no kitty at all.
So thank you, Universe, for sending me what appears to be a great match for a job, and a great match for a kitty. Can I maybe just say, though, that things kind of like to happen in three's, and I don't like to seem greedy, but...well, if you happened to have any great guys you could send my way, it would be deeply appreciated?