And so a new chapter begins.
Andre will never be replaced. I wouldn't even want to try. No other cat could hold a candle to who he was and how he grew into our family with each purr, each adventure, each cuddle and each endearing story he created during fifteen years of loving him.
My Youngest Son suggested we consider getting a dog. I agreed. A different species. A loving little critter who would draw us out of ourselves, our home and old habits.
We aren't "dog people". Dogs require so much attention and exercise and one-on-one loving. They are so needy. Could we do this?
My son and I considered the idea separate and apart and talked of the responsibilities of dog ownership. We decided if we adopted a dog, it would have full reign of the house. Our last dog was sorely neglected and we found him a new family because he deserved so much more than we had to offer.
Have we changed? Do we have what it takes to love a dog the way he/she deserves? Can we wholeheartedly commit to a dog?
We thought it over. I had been reading dog bios written by the foster families of a few different dog rescue groups. I thought if we were going to follow through on the idea of adopting a dog, I really wanted to know as much as we could about the dog and making sure we were a good "fit" before we brought a dog into our lives.
I think we missed the boat on a dog who could have been the one for us. But if I wasn't ready to commit, it was good we missed that opportunity.
What I did want to see was exactly how it felt to meet and greet some dogs and see if the right feelings came to the surface when we spent some one-on-one time with a dog. Thus, our trip to the S.P.C.A.
There were only four dogs available to be adopted. Two of the four seemed like possible contenders. My son had his eye on one in particular, so we took her into the socialization room. And she ignored us. She just wanted out! She cried and whined and had her eye on everything besides us. Clearly, we weren't her dream family either.
I think the dog interview added more doubts than reassurances. I wasn't ready to adopt a dog without knowing more about their personality and whether or not they were good with children. The only thing I felt after we met "Stella" was that we had to be more certain than I felt in that moment.
Then I asked my son, "So do you want to check out the cats?"
Well, as they say, the rest is history. We wandered into the first cat room and there was no more room at the inn. They were filled to capacity and we had no idea there was an incentive to clear out as many cats as possible before our New Cat adopted us and made it impossible to leave without him.
There were so many cats. My immediate thought was to get a cat who did not resemble Andre in any way. Andre was one of a kind. I did not want to look for any cat to walk in the paw prints he left in our hearts.
Orange cats, tabbies, tortoiseshell and every color of cat you could hope to find. And who saw us and immediately started beckoning us to let us out and love him? Another little black kitty.
He was the only cat who came to the window and tried to find his way out of his confined space and into our hearts. He "knew" we were his family. He called to us.
My son opened the door and this little black kitty immediately started loving him. Then me. He snuggled. He purred a quiet but steady little purr. And he drooled. There was no going back. "Jet" had found the family he wanted to go home with.
We brought him into our home and introduced him to "Ray", aka "Junior Cat" and recently delegated to our "Only Cat".
There wasn't one hiss. I would have loved to know what Ray thought when Jet walked out of the cat carrier and into our lives. It seems to me that for a millisecond he may have wondered if Andre had finally come home again, before he picked up his scent and realized this little black furball was an imposter.
There has been a little cat "posturing" going on around here to determine who falls where, in the hierarchy of cats.
Ray is a beta cat, through and through, and the last thing we want is a bossy little cat taking over his well deserved designation of "King Cat". From every interaction we saw between them, it didn't appear that was going to happen. It was sort of sad to see Ray, our passive, beta cat, fighting to hold onto his title. He made a few aggressive moves (only in voice and stature - I never saw him lift a paw to his new little buddy) to ensure this New Cat knew where he fell in the cat ranks within our home.
But a mere twenty four hours later, the lines in the sand seem to have been drawn. I sat back and enjoyed a little "cat chase" around the house. Jet has brought the kitten back out of Ray and it appears that each of them are falling into a comfortable spot within this two cat family home.
Andre, we could never in a million years replace you. Never.
But when this little cat started speaking to us, from the confines of his cage at the S.P.C.A., it was almost as if a little bit of your spirit came back into our home with this tiny young one-year-old cat. We have missed your snuggling nature ever-so-much. And a cat who loves to curl up on top of, beside and even jumps from one set of arms into another has found his way home to us.
I like to think we saved a life when we adopted our young, new cat. It feels like he has breathed life back into this quiet, one-cat-home. We are so grateful he found us.
|Meet "Jet" - a little cat, with a big, fluffy tail|
|Ray meets Jet|
|Jet loves this new forest within his new home. Ray supervises|
|A whole new chapter has begun. |
We are ready.