Friday, July 17, 2020

Three-Person Family

So, two cats is probably approximately one more than I can handle, but two things pushed me over the edge. One was feeling guilty about how much time Hammett spent by himself when I was out of town, especially his final two years, when I was traveling to New Mexico for school. I will never again leave a cat all by itself. The second was the hope that two cats will be playmates for each other, filling in when I’m not available and maybe tiring each other out enough that there will be slightly less energy for shredding furniture.

I went over to the SPCA to fetch Duckworth and Howie today. “Howie” is an homage to my teacher of the same name. “Duckworth” appeals to me because it has an imposing ring, but also a comical one, and lends itself to the pleasing nicknames Duck or Duckie. It was a lovely day, sunny and warm. I met with an SPCA worker in the parking lot of the adoption center to go over details.

Suddenly she said, “Oh, you can see them—they’re right there.” They were in a room on the perimeter of the building, along with a third kitten. I went over to the window and one or the other of them starting meowing and reaching out a paw toward me. His brother joined him, reaching out so far I feared he would topple off the wooden platform. It was as if they were saying, “Oh, my god, there’s my mother!” I was so glad that happened, because otherwise I wouldn’t have seen them until I got them home, took them into the bathroom, and opened their carrying cases. It reassured me tremendously: I picked out the right cats.

I had sent an email earlier in the day asking where they had spent their first three months, and with whom. I learned that they had come from Animal Care & Control, which was not necessarily good news. It suggested that they had been scooped up off the street, or might even be feral. So another great thing was when the worker at the SPCA, while explaining all the stuff she was going to give me, pointed out the notes about them their foster parent had written. They were in foster care! That was great news. Hammett was in foster care, and was immediately relaxed and affectionate, for which I thank his foster parent. He did not mind being cradled on his back like a baby; I think that was also thanks to his foster parent.

I took Howie and Duckworth home in a cab, one meowing and one making a little squeaking noise. I put them in the bathroom and expected that they might cower in there for a while, but at least one of them immediately wanted to leave the room and explore (but was not permitted). I put Hammett’s bed in there, and I also cut the top half off one of of their cardboard carrying cases and lined it with a folded towel.

I went in to visit them several times, letting them be in charge of how much contact we had. On the second visit, one of them strolled over and casually stood on my foot while grooming himself. I nearly cried with joy: how sweet! I was sitting on the toilet, leaning forward, and after a bit, one of them climbed up my back and then his brother joined him. One of them licked my neck while the other dug through my coiffure. I think this is a match.

They immediately used their litter box to pee and poop. One of them hopped into the sink and tried to drink from the faucet, so I brought in a bowl of water and they both started drinking from it.

Cutest moment: When I leaned over the tub to do something or other and a little black face appeared on either side of my legs, as they tried to see what I was looking at.

They are basically identical, and they weigh the same, although one feels a little rounder than the other. Duckworth has a single white whisker, and Howie has some unobtrusive brown marks on his head. The latter is the main way to tell them apart. Their eyes are very alike.

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