Given that this is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I’m going to try to get a few extra postings out this month (there’s no way I’ll even attempt the post-a-day thing, though). This means several posts that are not travel-centric. Today, I offer some thoughts and philosophies whilst relating how my cats and I came together.
In early August of 2000, I went to the Chester County SPCA with my then-girlfriend Amy to pick out the animal I now consider to be my first pet (I’d had fish before, and kept a cat for about a week, but never really had a pet). Now, unlike normal people, not only did I know exactly what I wanted, and have the requisite food dish and litter box waiting at home, I already had a name and a collar and tag for the beast.
I have adopted a cat-naming convention that seems to have been working so far. My cats are named for movie characters. My first cat was to be named for the kitty that made the line “This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off,” from Alien somewhat inaccurate”: Ripley’s cat Jones. I love the movie and love the fact that the cat not only survives, but even has a cameo in the sequel. So, I set off to the SPCA in search of an orange tabby kitten. My Jones rested in a cage with two other kittens. The workers there picked him up, put him in my arms, and he just stretched out and started purring. A match was found! Sure, a match with a slight cold and ear mites, but a match nonetheless.
A cardboard carrier was procured from the SPCA, the newly named Jones was put inside, and Amy and I proceeded to drive back to my apartment. It was shortly into that drive that I realized one of Jones’s distinguishing traits. His long snout, large ears, lean body, and long tail lend a certain amount of likelihood that he’s part Siamese. Siamese cats are known for liking to talk, and Jones is no exception. He keeps generally quiet in crowds, but on that first drive home, and ever since, he loves talking to me. This, and his penchant for purring literally in my ear when he was a kitten and I was trying to sleep, led to his being placed in temporary housing with Amy’s two cats, Buddy and Sabrina.
I spent a lot of my time at Amy’s back then, so it seemed the smart thing to do anyway, and Jones got along well with Buddy and Sabrina. He stayed there for a few months, then moved back in with me when Amy and I parted ways. Out of the rambunctious kitten phase, he became much more adaptable, and we’ve gotten along famously ever since.
Jones adapted to life with me alone, and was a happy kitty. Meanwhile, I discovered how much I really liked the look of Russian Blue cats. My friend Tessa (queen of the cats), among others, also kept insisting that I needed a friend for Jones. It took a few years, but I eventually told her that if she found a female blue kitten, I’d take it off her hands. It didn’t take long for a rescue to turn up. Of course, I already had the name picked out: The original trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean films had recently concluded, and as a big fan, I decided my new cat’s name should come from there. After running through a few options, I settled on Calypso, the goddess of the sea. Seemed like a good name for a cat.
So, in late July of 2007, I got the word that the rescue was old enough for adoption, and I drove over with Tessa to pick her up. Calypso came into my life just as I began dating Gina, the woman who would become my wife. In some ways, she almost seemed like “our” cat.
Callie was a bit timid at first, but quickly became rambunctious. Within a matter of weeks, she had completely torn up the underside of my bed. She was a handful, but it didn’t take that long for her to take a cue from Jones, and settle into a wonderful young cat. In researching this article, I now believe Callie was not part Russian Blue, but in fact part Chartreux. One reason for that guess is that she was not only well-behaved, but quite fetching… literally:
Sadly, tragedy struck shortly after this transition. She became severely anemic, and my vet had me take her to a nearby veterinary hospital. After a transfusion, and medication, she seemed okay for a while, but it was not to last.
While Callie seemed reasonably healthy, I proposed to Gina (you can read that cat-connected story here). A year later, the diagnosis of autoimmune hemolytic anemia struck Calypso again, and she passed away after a reaction to a blood transfusion. I still miss her, but am glad she shared her few years with me.
Now, married to Gina, I have been lucky enough to share her cats, Sage and Madeleine. The bad news is that we’re going through a long process of losing Maddie to cancer, and already lost Sage a few months ago. I feel I’ve been lucky to get to know these cats, if even for a small percentage of their lives. I’m also reasonably sure they have appreciated me. I certainly hope so. It’s been very difficult to be repeatedly struck with the loss of cats over the last year or two—and it’s been growing exceptionally difficult watching Maddie deteriorate—but my life has been enriched, and I take some comfort believing that theirs has too.
Meanwhile, Gina and I have been eyeing up kittens for several months now, and are just about ready to pull the trigger and adopt again. While Gina may not totally agree with my “pick name, pick type, wait for results,” we seem to be leaning that way anyway. Gina likes black cats, and I’m definitely behind that. After losing Sage, though, I do kind of want another longhaired cat. With Jones looking to stick around for a while, we also feel a female is the best course of action. And although we both feel awful when we see older cats without a home, we also feel there are plenty of kittens without homes, and we’d like to start from there again.
Of course, we may end up with a male, older, white cat. We’re not locked into anything, and you never know what might jump out at you! But… yeah… if you know anyone who has a longhair, black, female kitten available for adoption, let me know.
And yes, we do have a name picked out already!