Saturday, July 19, 2008

One Month Already?

It's hard to believe, but it has truly been one month since I first brought home Prometheus The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  We've come a long way since that first day of coaxing him down from the top of the cupboards and bribing the Big, Fluffy Kitty with Greenies treats in order that she might consent to losing that wild-eyed What The Heck Is That Thing??? look.

I first thought to celebrate the day with the baking of cakes and the showering of all fluffy residents with treats.  Then I remembered what The Cat Whisperer (aka Our-Socially-Awkward-But-The-Kitties-Love-Her-So-What-Are-You-Gonna-Do Vet) said about how red-headed kitties are prone to weight gain and subsequent diabetes.  I figured it might be best, given that my handsome boy has proven himself to have a very healthy (and slightly scary) appetite, to maybe honor him in some other way.  

To that end, I think I will do a little shout-out on behalf of all the other fluffy ones out there who maybe need a little help.  I think the AGK might approve of that.


If he were actually awake, that is...


I don't begrudge anyone the desire to bring home a kitten.  Not one little bit.  Desdemona, my Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty, came to me as just a wee one and I loved every minute of watching that little ball of happy fur caper about the manse.  I enjoyed seeing her grow up into the beautiful, if slightly temperamental, girl she became.  There really is nothing quite like growin' yer own...

I liked it so much that, in 2000, when I decided that my gift to myself for finishing grad school would be a feline, I went in search of another kitten.  That didn't exactly go as planned.  When faced with kennel upon kennel of cats in need of homes, so many having been there for longer than I even cared to think about, I left the kitten room.  There was no doubt that they would be adopted.  There were others that needed me more.

I came home with an 8 year old.  Not even close to kitten-hood.  In fact, I came home with an 8 year old who had not had a particularly happy life up to that point and maybe even had some extra health issues to boot.  I named her Persephone because I thought that the myth fit with the circumstances.


You know her as The Big, Fluffy Kitty.

And no, I will not have her for as long as I might have had a kitten.  But the time together has been all the more precious because of that, I think.  And even now, with her twilight years upon us, I have never once regretted extending my hand to stroke that oddly shaped, multi-toed paw reaching out to me from between the bars that morning.

I will probably never have another kitten. I can live with that. The shelters are filled with older animals, many of whom have years and years ahead of them and lots of love to give to the right family. You won't find me in the kitten room. I know that they will be OK. There is always someone looking for a kitten. But the older cats, in spite of being more settled into their personalities and ideal for so many homes, are less likely to find their place in the world.


Hard to imagine, though....

Saying that the U.S. economy is tanking right now would be about the kindest way you could put it.  A tragic side effect of this is that homes are being foreclosed on at an alarming and ever-increasing rate.  As a result, family pets are being surrendered regularly to shelters.  Worse, some are simply abandoned when their humans move on and they are left to fend for themselves.  The lucky ones are still able to find their way to shelters, but space is becoming ever more limited in these facilities.  The situation here in Maine is no different.  I was discussing this with The Cat Whisperer during the AGK's first check-up and she told me that she is placing animals herself at this point rather than referring people to the shelter.  She is also volunteering her own time to go with people who want to adopt to help them select the right cat and do an exam right there.  

I would urge anyone who is thinking about adding a new furry friend to the family to please consider an older cat.  Of course, this is a personal choice and I have no ill-will towards anyone who wants a little kitten.  God knows they are hard to resist!  But I can say from personal experience that the rewards of making room for these adult kitties are plentiful.  Adult cats are a little more comfortable in their own skin, less on the wild side and can be wonderful companions.  They also have litter box experience.  That alone should give you cause for consideration!  And, as Prometheus has proven repeatedly over the last month, they can still have enough of the kitten in 'em to keep life interesting!

If you are thinking of adoption or are wishing to support animals in need, there is, no doubt, an animal shelter facility near you.  For those of you in my area, there are many wonderful resources for you to try.   The two with whom I have had personal experience and can vouch for comfortably are:

The Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk  (They took care of my Big, Fluffy Kitty until we could find each other)

The Animal Refuge League Of Greater Portland  (Please note that they have extended their "clearance" prices on cats.  Adults under ten years are $25.00, Cats ten and older or with special needs are eligible for a waived fee.  Adoption fees include vaccinations, spay/neuter, follow up exam, and microchipping with a free year of service)

If you are not in the market for a pet right now but would like to help animals in your area, most shelters would gladly accept donations and volunteers.  However, I would strongly urge you to review their website or contact them first to be sure of what they need or are able to accept in the way of donations.  A kind gesture is one thing...a useful one is better, right?

If you want to learn more about how you can help families make good choices for their pets during relocation, please check out this program being funded by The Humane Society Of The United States.  


There.  That should do it.  I feel that I have marked the occasion of our one month anniversary appropriately.  Wait...just one thing left to do.  All Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties who also happen to be very handsome should get a kiss on the noggin for their anniversary...






Welcome Home, Baby Boy!


SA

19 comments:

Emma said...

What a great way to mark the anniversary! Thanks for all the info.

Mia said...

Well said Sheepie. I'd say your marked the occassion very well.

And cool picture!

Kath said...

I think you chose the perfect way to celebrate AGK's anniversary. And I agree wholeheartedly with every word. From personal experience managing a shelter, watching the adult cats long wait for homes while litters of kittens come and go can be just heartbreaking. Kudos to you for helping spread the word on what wonderful, loving companions adult cats can be!

Julie said...

That was the perfect way to mark AGK's anniversary!

Donna Lee said...

It is heartbreaking to go into a shelter and look at all the animals who just want to have homes and give love. All of my pets have been shelter animals. Some have come my way as kittens and some as older cats. While kittens are cute (that's why we don't kill them for climbing the drapes and putting holes in them), older cats are affectionate and calm. Although I have found my boys sitting on top of the valance of the draperies looking at me like "What?" and they are 4 years old.

trek said...

No, it doesn't seem like a whole month since the AGK came to stay.

Happy home, Promethesus; you're one lucky kitty.

Melissa said...

wow, that flew by!! thank you so much for bringing to out attention the benefits of adopting an older kitty. at one time in my life when I had the room to do so, I fostered kitties for the local shelter. That is also another option for someone who may not want the long term commitment of adoption. I had to stop after a while because I ended up keeping every one I fostered!! Older kitties make great pets!!

kmkat said...

AGK is proud of how you honored his anniversary, as are the rest of us. Our kitties are all shelter animals, and over the years we have favored adults adoptees over kittens. We can get a flavor of their personality at the shelter before we commit, so we feel like we know what we are getting. A kitten can become... anything.

Happy anniversary, AGK!

Beth said...

That is such a sweet picture of the two of you! This is a great post. Adopting a pet is so rewarding!

Yarnhog said...

I can't imagine a better way to mark the date. Good for you. I'm a dog person myself, and after one stray, one shelter dog, and two purebred puppies, I've decided only shelter or otherwise recycled dogs will come into my house from now on. There are just so many of them who need homes; it doesn't make sense to breed more when so many are in desperate need.

jeanne said...

Catnip all around - yay, AGK! His doctor sounds like an amazing woman, volunteering her own time so that the right people and animals find each other.

I especially love the last picture. My Henry looks just like when I kiss him, "Mooom, you're always smooching on me!"

April said...

Andy says, "Happy Anniversary, Prometheus. Want some of my drugs?"

Anne said...

Indeed, the woman who runs our local shelter says "it is raining cats right now". Our three are all barn cats (from the same place) who needed a home ... they were never going to get as far as a shelter. Now they are living the life of Riley. Our next rescue will be canine rather than feline, I think -- but D1 is spending part of her summer volunteering at the shelter in lieu of bringing any more home. Wow, it's hard to leave at the end of her shift ... Happy 1 month anniversary to the AGK!

Jeanne said...

My dearly-departed marmalade tiger cat Vincent was a rescue cat--not sure of his true age but I think he was 4 or 5, not a year and a half like I was told. He succumbed to cancer in 2000 after 10 years with me (two of which I spent giving him daily insulin shots for his red-headed diabetes).

Though I am a very enthusiastic supporter of adopting adult cats and will certainly do it in the future, I had no choice in how my current herd of five came to be with me. I wasn't looking for them, they were looking for me.

Jake (8) and Zander (10) were both thrust upon me as tiny mewling kittens. Ophelia (13) was nearly a year old when she wandered into my drummer's yard and insisted upon going home with me. Sam and Tyler (4) were rescued from my very elderly neighbor when they were orphaned and he was unable to properly care for them.

Ophelia is going to be 14 this year but you'd never know it by her kitten-like scampering and her ferocious attacks of feathery toys (and other cats).

Happy One-Month Anniversary, AGK, and purrs and cuddles to BFK as well!

Knitting Linguist said...

Awesome post. Thanks!

Anne said...

Very nice! Perfect anniversary gift, IMHO.

(BTW, I never realized P1 had such a striking goatee. Cute pic of her as well!)

Greta_Jane said...

I am allergic to cats, but as someone who adopted an already grown up (though based on her initial shoe chewing, probably fairly young) dog,I am so delighted by your post and your family of most acquired as mature cats. I don't know what the pluses are with grown up cats, but I have had a wonderful life, thus far with my grown up dog and not having to house train her was a definite plus. Kudos to you. Lucky and lovely kitties!

Cathy said...

Truer words never spoken -- typed.

I'd adopt more if my house were bigger. Right now I'm at carrying capacity.

Love the photo.

Kim U said...

My sister just adopted a 2 year old cat. I was surprised, I thought she always wanted a kitten. But she's so happy with him! I know I'll definitely think about it more when we're interested in getting another cat, I've always been a kitten person myself.