Friday, March 30, 2012
Cat Tales ~ Sassy
Ernie didn't handle the loss of her buddy very well. She would sit at the door and cry. I really, really wish she had cried like that the night Spooky broke out. We might have realized he was missing in time to find him. I kept thinking Ernie would settle down, but she didn't. A few months after Spooky went missing, I impulsively stopped at the animal shelter and filled out an adoption application. A few days later, I brought Sassy home.
It so happened that Ernie was due for her annual physical the same week I brought Sassy home. While at the vet with Ernie, I mentioned our new kitten, and that he must have allergies because he kept sneezing. The vet told me to leave immediately and go get Sassy. It turned out that Sassy had an upper respiratory infection and was severely dehydrated. The vet told me that kittens as young as Sassy usually didn't survive this particular type of infection. He warned me to keep Sassy away from Ernie for a couple days, until the antibiotics had a chance to work. I had a pretty small apartment, but the closet was huge - bigger than the kitchen - and had a big, sunny window. So Sassy lived in the closet for three days, and I spent most of my time in there, too, playing with him.
Sassy was a good boy. My biggest issue with him was that he would not stop digging up my houseplants. He dug out the roots, and when the plant would fall he'd drag it around the apartment until it fell apart. I lost most of my plants the first few months I had Sassy, and I spent a fortune buying filters for my vacuum cleaner. Eventually I covered the remaining plants' soil with pea gravel, which Sassy did not enjoy digging up. He also liked to knock over trash cans. All the trash cans. I ended up getting rid of the wastebasket in my bedroom, but had to put up with the mess he'd make in the kitchen and bathroom. I didn't have a vanity or cupboard to hide them in, either. I finally found a mini trash can with a snap on lid - a perfect replica of the garbage cans that go outside - and that kept Sassy out, so long as the lid was snapped tight. The bathroom waste basket was always a problem. I considered it a small price to pay for such a sweet kitty.
Eventually we all moved to a pretty apartment on a high bank over the Mississippi sloughs. About that time, Ernie went into overdrive defending her territory. She had always been feisty, but suddenly she became an attack cat of sorts. She sat on the steps inside our front door and God help anyone who came inside without me or my boyfriend for an escort. She literally attacked, leaping for the face and hanging on with all her might. It's a wonder I didn't get sued. Honestly, I warned people not to go in the house, and if you see the gray kitty, leave her alone. Ernie was so pretty with her silvery fur and big eyes, nobody listened. The attitude continued. Eventually we were asked to find another vet, due to Ernie's, ahem, personality. We moved out of the river apartment, and I bought my first house. Walker and I ran into each other at a friend's wedding, and we've been together ever since.
Walker never had pets before living with me and the kitties. He did well with them, but he isn't in a hurry to adopt another fuzzy kid. We lost Sassy to kidney failure a couple years ago, and of course, we lost Ernie this last January. I was pretty devastated both times. Walker isn't in a hurry to go through that again, either.
Walker would prefer a baby kitty, if we do get another one. I'm leaning toward an older cat, one that has finished with the kitten chaos and just loves to curl up in a sunbeam or on a lap. Walker is afraid we'd end up with a cat who has developed all kinds of bad habits. I think it's the luck of the draw, no matter what you do. So: will we get another kitty? Maybe. I want to wait at least until I can give up my second job. I think one of the reasons Ernie was such a handful might be because I wasn't home enough. She was probably bored, and probably acted out for attention, just like a kid. Or maybe she was just a brat.
For now, we're considering volunteering at the local animal shelter. That would give me my kitty fix, and we'd be doing something useful. We'll see about signing up when we get back from Florida.