Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Marking The Day

A couple of years ago, I brought home an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  He turned out to be a real firecracker and, while he didn't exactly get along with the Big Fluffy Kitty already in residence, I don't think I could have picked a better fluffy friend.

When he and I reached our one month anniversary, I decided to do a blog post in honor of that momentous occasion.  I wanted to bake a cake, but he was already gi-normous so that didn't exactly seem like the best idea.  I went in a different direction.  I like to think I marked the day well.

Now that a Very Complicated Kitty has joined the Sheepish Family, I wasn't going to let a little technological difficulty get in the way of doing the same for him.  I marched myself right over to the School Stuff and dug out the District Issued Laptop.  That machine used to be the second best computer in the house.  It is now elevated in status since, when I turn it on, it does something besides show me a black screen.  It won't let me install any cool software, but it will certainly make Blogging For My Boy Possible!

Once again, I have managed to find a rather large animal so cake baking is still out of the question.  But I can do what I did for his big brother.  I'd like to put out a little love for all the kitties who haven't yet managed to find a place to call home.  I think he'd like that.  Maybe not as much as cake, but still...

Long time readers are already aware of my feelings around animal adoption.  While I can't think of anything cuter than a kitten even if I try really hard and scrunch my forehead up tightly, I still maintain that adopting adult cats is a truly wonderful thing.  I don't begrudge anyone for deciding to bring home a kitten.  I've done it myself.  But not in a very long time.  Kittens always find homes.  Adult cats aren't quite so lucky, in spite of being amazing companions.

The benefits of adopting an adult cat are many.  I find that they tend to be more settled into their personalities and are often easier to transition.  They kind of know the ropes.  I've never once had difficulties training a mature adoptee to the litter box.  I can't say the same for the kitten I brought home.  Furthermore, adult cats have history and the shelter staff can give you a great deal of information in many cases.  What they share can be invaluable in making the best possible choice for your home and family.

Shelters are also often willing to make adopting an adult worth your while.  The cost is markedly lower when you bypass the kitten room at the facility I use.  There is no rush, you don't need to call ahead to make sure that there are animals available for adoption and the staff are more than happy to work with you as you peruse the aisles.  If you are thinking about bringing a special needs cat home, the price tag can drop even lower.  This, of course, is dependent upon the policies of the shelter you choose but it seemed to be a common theme when I compared the ones in my area.

If you are thinking about adoption and considering an adult cat, I can't claim to be an expert on the topic.  I can, however, make some suggestions based upon my own experience.  Make of it what you will and take away what you think makes sense.

First and foremost, be sure that you are truly in a position to adopt.  My Very Complicated Kitty was adopted once and then surrendered back to the shelter.  The reasons weren't clear and I am the sort of person who believes that people really do try to make the best possible choices, but it had to be hard on the poor fellow.  Sometimes things that seem like a good idea turn out to be...not so much.  Pets are an expense and require a time investment.  Even the grown up pets.  Be sure.

Once you've established your readiness, check out the shelter's adoption policies online.  Most will have everything you need, from paperwork to animal profiles.  Going in prepared can take a good deal of time off the adoption process.  My shelter uses a color coded personality system to help match people to animal types.  I went in with the forms in hand and a clear idea of what I was looking for.  They were impressed.  Given how crowded the shelter was that day, I think I saved myself a good half hour just by being prepared and also made time for someone else to adopt.

Part of that preparedness came from first talking to my vet.  I was very worried about how the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was going to react to a new buddy and The Cat Whisperer's advice was invaluable.  Had I not talked to her, I would have gone in a very different direction.  I honestly believed a female would be a better choice and never once thought about getting another male.  Turns out male cats like hanging around with each other.  Who knew?

I also knew going in that there was a good chance I'd be looking at a cat with special dietary needs.  Having reviewed the profiles of available adoptees, it seemed pretty likely.  I spent a great deal of time reviewing pet supply sites and comparing the cost of food before I felt comfortable going in to visit with the kitties.  While the cost of prescription food isn't all that much more than good quality canned cat food, it is an investment.  I wanted to be sure I could afford it and that it would be safe for the AGK should he try to nibble upon it.  As it happened, the vendor used by my vet is the cheapest once you factor in reduced shipping costs.  She was able to approve his prescriptions before I even went online to set up an account.

It isn't always a smooth path, but sometimes it is.  Sure, it is an adjustment period.  You might find yourself having one or two "tense" moments.  And it all pales in comparison to the look on a happy kitty's face once he realizes that he is "home."

Trust me.  He's happy.  He's just thoughtful is all...

And then there's kitty toes.

I mean...my God!  Is there anything better than kitty toes?????

Introducing cats to one another doesn't always go smoothly except for when it does.  And then...well it warms the heart.  


It's a match made in heaven, the kind of thing that shouldn't happen but still does.  I like to think that being prepared was the key to this successful partnering, but I can't help but wonder if it was meant to be.  Yes, a kitten would have been cute.  But would it have been this?  There are all kinds of cute and I think that two big 'ol boys going all snuggle-cuddle-umpkins at least equals kitten cute.  Maybe even surpasses it.  And, at ages two and three respectively, Da Boyz have years and years ahead of them to enjoy each other's company.

So there you have it.  A Happy One Month Anniversary gift to my Androcles.  He is a Very Complicated Kitty, but worth every minute spent ordering his food, picking up his meds and devising crafty ways to administer it.  He's a love and was more than willing to give up his nap time in the recliner today to snuggle with me when I needed a rest from the computer woes.  That's love for you.

Maybe not quite as enthusiastic as his love for his big brother, but still...



Knitting Linguist said...

Yes, yes, and a hundred times yes. That is one happy kitty.

Agatha's Gran said...

That is one happy and lucky kitty to find such a devoted mama and loving brother.
I have had two flame point Siamese and they have both been the sweetest boys.

Anne said...

Say BE SURE again. Just so's everyone hears it. (And say it to people who get horses too.)

I love that the boys love each other so much. :) Y'all are lucky to have each other.

Donna Lee said...

I was a kitten adopter but at this point in my life, I am pretty sure I don't have the energy for the messes kittens make.

I had nice furniture and trees and things and my last two kittens tore it all up. I came home to find them sitting on the valance for the living room draperies looking at me like "what?".

Adult cats are just as cute and less aggravating.

Happy one month and counting to you and the boys.

debsnm said...

I'm so glad that VCK found you and his brudder! Next time I adopt, I will definitely be looking at an adult cat.

April said...

The VCK is the most handsomest kitty on the Internet, hands down. I love him to PIECES. Happy one month anniversary, VCK!

Elaine said...

Happy Anniversary, you lucky little boy!! If only I could adopt....... (but I guess I can live vicariously through you and de boyz. And be happy about it)

Georgi said...

I like this post, people need to remember that older kitties need homes as much as cute little kitties do. I have 5 kitties (all rescues) ranging in age from 5 to 11 human years, and as each one has been introduced, they adapt and enjoy each other.
VCK looks very happy and I am sure the AGK is happy to have a brother!

trek said...

This remains the best kitty adoption and sibiling integration story I've ever heard.

Jeanne said...

Happy One Month, VCK!

My late cat Vincent, who was estimated to be around a year and a half old (my guess is older) came from a foster home. He'd been adopted and returned twice before he came to me. The previous adopters couldn't handle how he growled as he explored his new home. The foster Mom begged me to give him a couple of weeks to settle in, that he'd stop growling.

He was with me 10 years and 6 days before he died, and he was the best cat ever. And he did stop growling once he realized he was stuck with me. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you from all the adult cats in shelters everywhere. Your two Boyz are soooo cute together!

Julia G said...

Happy Anniversary, Androcles! And a great post pointing out the virtues of adopting older cats. We adopted two adult cats and couldn't imagine the family without them.

Pashi immediately got all the kids to make their beds ("hospital corners") because she would only sleep on the neatest bed (I'd been trying to do that for years!)

Charlie the Big Orange Oaf is a Norwegian Forest Cat and could be the AGK's twin. Like Jeanne's Vincent, he was bounced back to the shelter from a couple of homes and it took a long time for him to learn to trust again. I'm sure his thick fur coat discouraged a lot of potential adopters, but if you brush once a week shedding is minimal, and "Wegies" have the most amazing, people-loving personalities that it is more than worth it!

catsmum said...

mappy monthiversary VCK - I'm sure you've found the bestest home possible.
Although it is true that oakley and Sophie joined us in kittenhod, you may recall that MissC formerly known as Caramel was a rescue kitty and her transition wasn't smooth or quick...but we've gotten there.
Nadie's Sumi and Suki were young adults when I bought them at the RSPCA [ $85 ea as opposed to $150 for a kitten ... and before anyone keels over from shock at how expensive that is, it did include mandatory microchipping and desexing ]
They turned out to be mildly psychotic and more than a little destructive but we love 'em anyway

catsmum said...

and of course I should've put my glasses on - HAPPY Monthiversary VCK!

Kath said...

As someone who used to be part of the management team of a shelter - I cannot thank you enough for posts like this.