Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Derail Your Life (New Cat #1)

Sisu on the stair-rail in 2014
The sadness of losing a cat companion—our Sisu was put to sleep following sudden renal failure on Saturday, May 7th—has only one cure. It's not a replacement cat, either, but an entirely new, different challenge of cat rescue.

We called Sisu our "sofa cushion kitty." Long before he reached cat maturity, he wanted to sleep more than any other cat we've had, preferably somewhere near us. My spouse's lap was his favorite, but absent that preferred site, he would drape himself across the back of the sofa behind me, stretch out a long foreleg, and rest one paw delicately against my neck. His illness came on lightning-fast, and by the time I realized it, he was gone.

Of our trio of aging cats, this left only Pounce, our three-legged, formerly-feral cat. While she mostly ignored "the boys" when they were living, as they vanished she was obviously missing them. When Nimitz died last year, she called through the house for him for several days, and hissed at Sisu whenever he answered. She was looking for Nimitz. This last week, Pounce has been "grieving" in a similar way for Sisu. I know she doesn't quite know what is missing, but she does know something in her world has changed. And cats hate change!

After several days of Pounce's increasing neediness, we began to discuss a new cat. What did we want? We only knew what we did not want: neither a kitten, nor an older cat that would be leaving us too soon.

Sherbet has white mask and legs.
Yesterday, we made the rounds of the cat shelters. At the Sonoma Humane Society, we found a match: "Honey Girl" is a 2-year-old female who had already been returned to the shelter by a previous adopter. 

We knew she would be a challenge, and very different from our sedate cushion-kitty. She "needs" to be outside; our area has predators, including mountain lions, that make it very dangerous for outdoor cats. She needs lots of stimulation and "enhancement." This we can provide with a large house that she will have the run of, with lots of vertical spaces to climb and explore.

And she bites.

Yes, we took on a second kitty with over-stimulation issues. Pounce's feral behaviors have finally (mostly) disappeared, perhaps because we have learned her body language, figured out the clues that over-stimulation is imminent. I hope this new kitty, renamed "Sherbet" (or as my spouse calls her, soar-BEY), becomes more transparent to us over time, as we get to know her, and she settles in with us.

Liner Notes:

Yes, it is not "Sherbert"—that is a misspelling of the word.