February 12, 2010
To find a new friend for Trouble, we went back to Homeward Trails. We rescued Pax and Trouble from Homeward Trails in August 2008, and they have been nothing short of amazing in their compassion and helpfulness since we let them know that we lost Pax. We suggested some cats that we thought would make a good companion for Trouble (we looked for cats who adapted well to other cats in their foster homes) and would be super affectionate with humans. (Let’s be honest – we like to pick up, pet, and generally harrass our cats with attention, and a cat who didn’t want to be petted or picked up or bothered at all by humans would not be a good match for us nor us for him.) Homeward Trails staff suggested other cats that they thought might fit our criteria, and we began the search.
During the first weekend of February, we met six cats! They all seemed like they would be great with other cats. They all seemed affectionate too – but not exactly in the way we were thinking. Several of them needed to warm up first, which is fine, but we want to be met at the door. Some of them were affectionate but too playful for us (and for Trouble, we thought). We met some truly lovely cats, including Lucy, Chip, Ivy, Emma, Jacob, and Sweet Judy Blue Eyes. I could say lots and lots of complimentary things about all of them.
Tonight, we also saw Tuxie Boy and Max, who made me wish we could take two (even though they are not bonded and can be adopted separately too). We were having so much fun watching Tuxie play that at first we didn’t notice Max cuddling sweetly in his foster’s arms, and then we thought we might be looking at the wrong kitten!
With each cat, we talked about the pros and cons, but we didn’t have that moment of certainty about bringing one of them home until we met Johnny tonight. We only had 10-15 minutes with Johnny, but we thought we’d at least know if we wanted to see more of him. He met us at the door and was immediately affectionate. A few times he started to wander back into the room, but he ran right back over when we called him back. Within moments, he was flopped down onto the floor, showing his belly for petting. Allen picked him up, and Johnny stayed happily on his lap. That is definitely our kind of affectionate cat! We were also happy to hear that he was an easy-going cat who didn’t mind that the foster’s cat took some time to get used to him.
We’ll be bringing Johnny home tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday. Next order of business: a new name. Since he looks so big in his picture (not so much in real life), we’ve been jokingly calling him Johnny the Beast. But he might actually be a Chuck Norris, or The Law. Bruiser, Crusher, Bulldozer, Muzzle? We’re getting a good laugh out of naming this mini-puma. But we won’t dare laugh in front of THE LAW!
Since we lost Pax, Trouble has not been entirely himself. Fortunately for us, most of his behaviors have been positive. He has been a lot more vocal, and he never leaves our side. For a while, we really had to remind ourselves to spend some time in the kitchen so that he would eat. As I write this, he is curled up on the couch cushion behind me, with his little face close enough to mine that his whiskers and ear keep brushing my cheek.
The saddest thing to watch is the way Trouble acts when we need to leave. He notices me putting on my shoes (I do not exaggerate!) and runs to the door. He stands on his back legs with his front paws on the door and meows. When we open the door, he tries to squirm out the door with us. It’s not new that he’s trying to get outside, but his efforts have become much more frantic since Pax has been gone. We move him to the couch gently – we used to throw him out of the way, but that resulted in biting, which we accurately diagnosed as a reaction to our brusque behavior – and he runs as fast as he can back to the door.
Trouble now lets us pick him up and hold him. Before, he would wiggle loose shortly after being picked up, and he would only allow himself to be held with his front paws on your arm. Now, he climbs up towards your chest, with his paws on your shoulder, and he rubs his face against yours. At night, he’s sleeping up near our faces like he used to do when he first came to live with us.
We’ve also noticed that he’s a lot less active, probably since he has nobody to run around with. (Probably since he’s sitting around when we lumps are sitting around.) Occasionally, he will take on a burst of kitten-like energy, pouncing on a mouse or a ribbon, but it lasts for just a minute or two before he curls back up. He’s also showing boredom in other ways – he recently taught himself to open the drawers of my nightstand.
All this is to say: Trouble needs a friend.
We mentioned that Pax had been sick and he got better quickly, but he kept having problems with his bladder. He first started having symptoms – inability to pee that resolved itself within about 8 hours, as well as spraying and peeing everywhere – at Thanksgiving, with another bout of sickness at Christmas. He got sick again in mid-January, and at first we didn’t realize that it was worse than previous times. He took to the basement and didn’t want to come out, but he was on pain medication because he had been yowling all day the previous Saturday, so we took his sedate behavior to be a side effect of that. Twenty-four hours later, he was still in the basement, and we realized that it wasn’t just the pain medication. We took him to the vet, who said his bladder was completely obstructed. By the time we drove him to the veterinary hospital (though we went immediately), his kidneys were starting to fail and his heart rate was half what it should have been. We made the very difficult decision to euthanize him.
Here’s our Pax, one last time: