New Kitten in Our ‘Hood

November 30, 2015

By Max

I can’t really remember the last time Cats Working welcomed a kitten, because I was the kitten! Adele says she remembers it as if it were yesterday — because it still gives her nightmares.

About a week ago, Karen brought us home a “bundle of joy” she named Roc. He already seems vaguely aware of his handle because it makes him perk up and momentarily lose that “stupid kitten” look he usually wears. But that doesn’t mean he actually shows up when he’s called.

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Karen’s been trying to catch Roc doing cute stuff (which he does a LOT), but filming a kitten is like trying to eat a bubble. You’ll just have to take our word that Roc did something really cute right before the shutter clicked on these…

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As payback for his lack of cooperation, I’ll share his most embarrassing baby-butt pic. It’s sure to haunt him on social media the rest of his nine lives…

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Don’t ask me why his neutering required a full shave. Maybe naked kitten booty is the fashion these days at the Richmond Animal League.

It didn’t take Roc long to appropriate my favorite stuff, like my kitty perch…

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Check out that fierce right-paw claw action. It explains why I didn’t put up a fight when he next swiped my yellow Chewy…

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His first night here, he pilfered a whole slice of turkey pepperoni from the coffee table he could barely reach. When Karen tried to pull it away to keep him from choking on it, he bit her finger and her chin hard enough to draw blood.

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Adele and I have our work cut out teaching him the ropes. #1 = Don’t damage the human who pops open our Fancy Feast cans.

Speaking of Adele, she doesn’t hiss at Roc much. She even let him share a perch…

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And watch her while she worked on one of her paintings on Karen’s iPad Mini.

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Then they chilled together on the couch — TOUCHING…

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Roc wasted no time getting on my good side, too…

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But then he twisted my tail trying on my bed for size, leaving me short in the comfort department…

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Annoying as a little brother can be, I have to admit he’s what I’ve always wanted. And who can stay mad at this face?…

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How We Got Roc

November 24, 2015

By Adele and Karen

Cole died one day before Karen left us for 3 weeks to travel, leaving her sister to housesit with me and Max. We didn’t need “babysitting,” but Karen had hoped Cole would be alive and he needed intensive care, and it was too late for Plan B.

So we mourned Cole and the disruption of our normal routine without Karen. I’ve lost brothers before, so I was pretty, “C’est la vie, now I get the bed to myself,” while Max brooded like a Goth kid in his man cave.

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Upon returning, it took Karen exactly a week to reject our new upstairs-downstairs cat arrangement. Max needed a friend — and it was never going to be me.

Now I’ll let Karen pick up the story…

Cole was the buffer between Adele and Max, but it took years. I needed a different approach, and pleasing Adele was Job One.

After Fred died, I adopted 3-year-old Cole. It took Adele 5 years to tolerate him.

After Yul died, I adopt 4-month-old Max. Four years later, Adele and he live on separate floors.

So I had to go even younger — staying male — because Adele’s only had brothers, even in her birth litter.

Last week, I found a 3-month-old orange/white kitten named Champagne on the Richmond Animal League website, off-site being fostered.

Here’s some background on no-kill RAL. In 1996, Yul was my first adoption, then Adele in 2000, Cole in 2009, and Max in 2011.

The process has become increasingly convoluted. The application is 4 pages, requires 2 personal references minimum, and vet verification that current pets get care.

RAL is open only 4 hours a day (closed Mondays) and most animals are being fostered off-site, so meeting them can be tricky.

Except for the limited accessibility, this is all OK if it keeps irresponsible dipshits from taking animals. But all these hoops are pretty annoying when you’re a regular.

Now, back to the story…

Champagne was great, but I spotted 4 black kittens even smaller — 3 females and a male named Ham. I’m a sucker for black cats, so I asked for Ham.

RAL identifies cats by their microchips. The kitten they handed me had a white triangle on its chest and had been reaching for everyone passing the cage with a purposeful gleam in its eyes. It was as if my Yul had sent me his replacement. Ham was the cat for me.

They said, “OK, make an appointment to come back and go through your application.”

WTF!!?? I’d given them my app the previous day, along with vet documents on Adele’s and Max’s shots, which they’d refused because they prefer to phone (yeah, weekends when vets are closed).

I put the kitten back and could see its hurt and confusion, as if it were asking, “Why? How did I screw this up?”

Fortunately, they had an opening an hour later, so I had to go kill time and think of a name. To honor Yul, I picked Roc, after human Yul Brynner’s son Rock. I dropped the K for style and social media brevity, and because my cats aren’t named after inanimate objects.

Then back to RAL with my cat carrier. (Did I mention I’d redone Max’s man cave into a nursery?)

After more paperwork, I got a kitten. Eager to escape the bureaucrats and all the pleading little faces I couldn’t take home, I put the kitten in the carrier and left.

At home, the first thing the kitten did was throw itself against my leg, kneading and purring. After it took a long drink, had a nosh, and began exploring, I picked it up for a cuddle. To my horror, he had NO WHITE TRIANGLE. They’d given me the WRONG KITTEN!

Thinking it was female, I put it back in the carrier and dashed back to RAL. It kneaded a blankie while staring fixedly at me the whole ride.

But RAL had misread the chip the FIRST time and had me meet the wrong kitten. Ham the male was all-black. So I did have the right cat, but essentially adopted him sight-unseen.

I was so crushed not to get a cat with Yul’s looks, yet so relieved not to reject the sweet all-black kitten, yet worried that I knew squat about him, on top of still choking up over Cole, I almost had a melt-down. The people who witnessed this climactic scene must have thought I was bonkers.

The one thing I do know about Ham is that he comes from a litter with a strong streak of Yul-ness, so he’s taking the name Roc.

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Max will fill you in on how Roc’s adjusting to his new life and siblings and how his personality is unfolding.


Cats Working Gains a Roc

November 23, 2015

By Karen

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Adele and Max welcomed their new brother Roc (the kitten formerly known as Ham) into the family, courtesy of the same joint that once saved them, the Richmond Animal League.

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Adoption was a 2-day ordeal involving some highly frustrating bureaucracy and a bizarre case of mistaken identity that almost sent me over the edge. Stay tuned. Details to follow…

 


Cats Working Loses Cole

November 17, 2015

By Karen

Apologies for taking so long to report that we have suffered another death in the family. In the months leading up to it, none of us have had the heart to post as we’ve been helpless witnesses to Cole’s brave battle with kidney failure, which took his life at only 9 years old.

Cole’s condition was diagnosed nearly two years ago, but he didn’t miss a beat in all that time. He cheerfully compensated by drinking copious amounts of water until that wasn’t enough. His traitorous kidneys began to get the best of him in late summer and he his usual joie de vivre began to slip.

I then gave Cole subcutaneous fluid at home. He was a model patient, sitting quietly and purring as a needle dripped saline solution into him. He even took his meds twice a day with no fuss.

While his appetite held up, it appeared he still had many good months ahead of him.

In late October I was preparing for a trip to Barcelona and an extended transatlantic crossing that would take me out of the picture for nearly 3 weeks. Optimistically, I stocked up on everything Cole needed during my absence and enlisted my sister to housesit and take care of him.

But the weekend before my departure, Cole’s appetite flagged and it became apparent that my shy boy wouldn’t do well in the hands of a relative stranger while I was gone. When kidney failure gets to this point, no rebounds are left. So Cole and I reached the understanding that his end should come while I could help him through it. I was the only human he ever trusted, and he counted on me.

Cole died peacefully at noon on Monday, October 26. Adele, Max, and I keenly feel the void his gentle little soul has left in our hearts.

Cole was probably a feral kitten, extremely wary, and he went unadopted for 3 years in a shelter. His big break came when I chose him to join our family, and he assigned himself the mission of learning how to be the best pet ever. He was always sensitive and eager to please, even gaining confidence to be a tentative lap cat. Cole was Max’s champion in Max’s skirmishes with Adele, and he never took having a home for granted.

I’ll always regret that I didn’t have the power to give my sweet Cole all his nine lives. My only consolation is that I know he has Fred and Yul guiding him on the other side, and he couldn’t be in wiser paws than theirs.

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