Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kitteh! That's good enough for me!

OH dear, I do owe you for the nightmares you surely had after reading yesterday's post. 

Okay.  I'm sorry.  No more scary stuff.  Big words, yes.  Spider faces, no.
I promise.

So today, I'll give you a dose of one of my other only-too-obvious obsessions:  My kitty.

I give you Kjærlig Applesauce Fritz.
That is her name.
It is a name that my husband and I gave her.  But the vet knows her as Charlie, because we were realistic enough to know that it was mean to insist on the other spelling.   Even I had to look up the keystroke to get the æ letter in there.

So anyway, here's her story.  My folks adopted a sweet little orange kitty from a breeder in Nebraska and developed such a great relationship with that breeder that when they announced that they had some retiring queens, we all kind of went back as a family to see what we could do to help out.  They had one queen who was retiring for real, and one who couldn't be bred because of how she had a heart problem that was revealed at her 3 year appointment (an appointment that all of their kitties undergo prior to breeding, so as to make sure that these kinds of genetic problems don't get passed on). 

So our options were a spectacular, all black longhair, about 8 years old I think; and a special needs 3 year old with orange toes.  We went with the orange toes.  I'm a sucker for toes.

There was a cat show in the area that the breeder was kind enough to bring the candidates to so that I could look them over.  No deals were made at the time, of course, it was just an introductory situation.  Besides, both kitties were champions in their own right and always did well for the breeders at cat shows.  The main squeeze, my beloved husband (who at the time had not yet levelled up to beloved husband), was not able to come with me to meet the kitties.  It was just me. 

I walked in there and found a little cage on a table next to another cage full of rowdy, bumbling kittens.  The adult sized maine coon next to them (they were all maine coons btw) was lounging in the half-light of her fairly private, pretty roomy enclosure.  Introductions were made and I knelt down to see what I could see.  Probably very much to the breeder's surprise, I talked directly to the cat.  I introduced myself again and placed my hand gently on the table beside her enclosure.  I said "Would you like to come and live with me?"

I kid you not, she made immediate (if lazy) eye contact with me, 'mow'ed gently, and reached out her arm in my direction as she (lazily) half closed her eyes and rotated her head away from the boisterous, bouncing kittens next door. 

That was it.  She was mine from that moment.  I told her "thank you." and made arrangements to meet with the breeder in a few weeks to sort out the final details.

My mother and I drove to Kansas, then.  On our quest to bring home this special-needs kitty who had been declared "free to a good home".  She was going to need medicine and careful screening for the rest of her life.  She was very likely going to snuff it within a few years and needed a peaceful, happy place to live out her remaining days.  She was not fond of crowds, kittens, or chaos...  and the breeder was only too pleased to hear my outright promises that I'd be providing the kitty (known at that point as Hydrogen.  "ginny" for short) with none of the above and all the food, cuddles, and sunshine it was within my power to provide.

We drove the long drive home from Kansas to Colorado with a cat in the car.  My mother and I noticed immediately how well behaved the skinny walking carpet was.  This Ginny was a lover and a cuddler, and wanted nothing more than her own human lap to sleep on.  And that's what she did for most of the ride home. 

When we arrived, the main squeeze was deeply entrenched in some zombie movie or other, and the arrival of our kitty was a big family affair.  We had a whole bedroom all set up for her.  The main squeeze, you see, is allergic to cats.  He would only agree to a cat-addled home if I promised we'd only ever have one cat at time, and that the cat would never ever sleep the night in our bedroom. 

So kitty, who had been freshly dubbed with her new name by then, was released into her very own bedroom full of cat safe shelves and drawers and food and water and toys and a great big kitty box all to herself. 

We tried hard to get pictures of her, but she was never more than three inches away from any of our ankles at the time to get a clear shot - so most of her early pictures are pretty blurry.

Within 12 hours she was perfectly calm and ready to live with her new people.  She proved it by immediately staking claim to Jason's chest and belly.  He's a thermal volcano, of sorts, and as we kept our house a little chilly that autumn and kitty had precious little body fat, she took to him like a fish to water.  He was her first favorite.  I became the mean guy who had to do things like nail trimming and brushing, but within about a week she soon acquiessed to the 'rough treatment' I insisted on and within the month she was eager for her spa-treatments every morning.

No kidding, she'd wait for me to finish my shower and then insist on her daily brushing (which was thorough) and her nail-trimming (which she carefully held her paws still for) and her tooth-brushing (which, frankly, was never her favorite part).

Now, years later, she's still going strong.  She takes a teency weency dose of beta blockers (atenolol) for her heart condition and she has gained 2 whole healthy pounds since we adopted her.  She has survived her opulent luxury with grace and has decided that both of her monkeys can share "favorite" status.  So long as we feed her and continue to brush her and continue to offer her a dribble of shower water from our fingertips - that she might still fully participate in our morning rituals. 

She moved with us to Virginia.  Somewhat less gracefully than we had hoped but with about tenthousand times less chaos and panic than we COULD have had.  She loves it here now and so long as we keep her new bedroom (aka the office) full to bursting with fun boxes to explore and unexpected new locations for her tertiary water dish, she's as snug as a bug in a rug. 

Our little princess is 10 years old now.

She's been as good for us as we hope we've been for her.  And we're only too proud to continue spoiling her.

Post Script:
As I write this she is a-snooze in her basket above my desk.  Orange toes are dangling over the side and sounds of contented kerfuffing can be heard whenever I stop typing long enough.


Rowena said...

Oh she is a beauty! Very similar to our old family cat gizmo. I am a massive cat person and will be coving my cat under the letter 'm'. Your cats name is fantastic, i wont try to spell it again......sounds like she has a fab personality and keeps you both in check!

Carol Kilgore said...

Charlie's a really cool cat! Stopping by from A-Z. Good to meet both of you.