The Family Grows

The Family Grows

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You might remember that last year, we lost both of our ancient cats and less than three months apart. If you don’t, I blogged about it here and here.

The OSPCA had an adoptathon in July where they farm out rescue animals to pet stores and reduce adoption fees in hopes of greater exposure. I think it works.

On a trip into the local pet store for crickets (my son has a Leopard Gecko), a scrawny long-haired grey tabby got my youngest daughter’s attention. He’d spent at least one winter as a stray and his weight showed it. His coat also showed it. A rough time in the wilds, I think, as they’d had no luck trying to comb the knots out of his back half and eventually. But, with the unlikely name of Cyrus, he was affectionate, attentive, and interactive, and my daughter fell in love with him. So much that she convinced me to bring her sister back to the store with us so she’d have someone else to help argue with their mom. When we left the store the first time, she looked at me and said, “He will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine.” (No, I don’t think she’s ever seen Wayne’s World.)

Cyrus in the pet store.
Cyrus in the pet store.

Let’s be clear: I’m the softie of the parenting team. Yes, I can enforce rules; yes, I can determine sanctions for inappropriate activity or behaviour; yes, I do the disappointed dad routine very effectively. But they all know that I’m the one to convince first.

And it had been a year, almost, since I said goodbye to Leo. More than that since Xena. I was ready for a new little furball. And, scraggly looking little rat he might have been, he was still pretty cute.

I took a few days for the girls to convince my wife. We didn’t get to bring him home for a week after that as the shelter had elected to treat the feline equivalent of kennel cough (basically a cat cold) with antibiotics and, according to their rules, once they start, they have to finish to know he’s had the full course.

We visited him in the shelter a couple of days before we could take him home. He was perky, interested, interactive, and vocal. There was no doubt.

When he came home, he rode in a small borrowed carrier between my daughters in the back seat. They didn’t quite fight about which direction he should be facing.

And he adapted immediately, following us around for a couple of minutes before being satisfied that the house was far larger than the cage he’d been in and letting himself be a lap cat for as long as anyone wanted to hold still.

All was well.

Until the next morning when he crapped on the couch before everyone got up.

Really. Okay. We clean, we decide his stress level is high, and we deodorize. No problem, as long as it’s a one shot deal.

It isn’t because he does it again the next morning.

There are concerns. I decide that it’s barely possible that he can still smell Leo and Xena and he’s attempting to mark his territory against unseen intruders, or maybe his stress level is still high from the various moves, or maybe it’s something we can’t even began to figure out, but it can’t go on. We must take steps.

So we clean, we deodorize, we cover the couch in aluminum foil, we spray everything nearby with stuff designed to discourage them from doing anything to the furniture, and we get a plug in device that fills the air with synthetic cat pheromones.

A day goes by. Two. Three. Five. The foil comes off, but we leave the plug in plugged in.

All seems well, and we haven’t had an issue since.

Oh, he’s got other issue though. While he’s affectionate and loveable and his fur is growing in so he’s not quite so scraggly looking, he’s very definitely nuts.

He has some separation issues. He gets anxious if everyone leaves the house at the same time and is right there to scold you when you get home. It’s not so bad if everyone’s asleep because he can go check to make sure you’re there. And he does. If you’re the only one awake, he’s with you. And while he has favourite spots already, he’s only in them if someone’s nearby. This cat does not like to be alone.

Part dog, doing the whole turn around thing before he can lay down but when he stopped to knead first, it’s with all four feet and a twitchy tail.

Part pig, as evidenced by the way he eats. I understand, since he was a stray, he’s still being in survival mode, but he’ll try to lick plates as you’re loading the dishwasher. A couple of mornings ago he jumped up on the counter as I was spooning some canned food out for him. No patience, our Cyrus. And he’ll try for anything that hits the floor, including tortilla chips.

He’s vocal, especially when you’ve just arrived home or you’re trying to feed him, but doesn’t really purr all that much.

The girls decided he should get to keep his shelter-given name of Cyrus. My wife, therefore, calls him Billy or Billy Ray. My son has decided that he should be named Bubbles. I prefer to think of him as my house wookie.

Perhaps Cybacca.

Be well, everyone.

Cyrus at home.
Cyrus at home.
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