Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What do you do with a kitty like Hobbes?

As previously mentioned we have a kitty.  Like most kitties who come from shelters (as he did,) he was a sick kitty.  He had me thoroughly worried his first 3 days with us, to the point of my losing sleep and barely leaving the house, opting instead to hover, offer all manner of food, and donate a good deal of my time to provide a warm lap and any comfort possible.

He'd barely eaten for 3 days though he drank water, and all the while he'd been having sneezing fits where projections of clear kitty snot were involved.  There is nothing more pathetic than a sick kitty who doesn't want to eat, who demonstrates interest in a toy ball but obviously has zero energy to play.  He saw the vet and now that he's been here 3 weeks, he is a much healthier boy.

He is The Boys kitty, though I am occasionally blamed for his presence in the house.  Rather perplexing, that, since I have routinely and firmly said I do not want another kitty (mine lives in Toronto with my ex.)

A brief synopsis of how kitty ACTUALLY came to be here:
I had no desire to be attached emotionally to a ball of fluff, nor to deal with vet bills, cat hair, and so on.  I said I wasn't ready to deal with a kitty.  But after The Boy mentioned wanting one several times and finally guilted me by saying "you'll never be ready" going further by associating my lack of readiness for a cat with my lack of readiness (at this point) to have a child, I figured that with a guilt trip like that he must really want a cat.  So, faced with the mother of all guilt trips, I considered the matter and realized I could handle with living with a kitty, just as long as it wasn't officially MY responsibility.

I told The Boy that though I'd be ok to live with a kitty and advise about care (the boy has never been solely responsible for more than green plants,) that I did not want to be the owner, did not want to find myself drifting into the "responsible" position.  I was clear that this would be HIS.

We discussed the pros and cons of looking at litters of free kittens vs. rescuing a shelter kitty, and decided that a shelter visit would be a good idea to start as there would be a wider selection of personalities in a shelter, and also because the kitties where we decided to visit are already chipped, vaccinated, in possession of their EU pet passports, and sterilized.  Of course, it always feels right to rescue a kitty from kitty jail, too.  Off we went that weekend to the nearest shelter.

The Boy took a shine to a little striped fellow in a pen on the end, and asked me if I thought we should take him, if it was a good time, a good idea.  I said "I don't think it's ever a good time or a practical idea to get a kitty", clarifying by adding that the only time I thought it was a good idea to get one is if the potential owner feels so compelled to be around this ball of fuzz that he is entirely prepared to deal with all the other factors of cost, fur, responsibilities of vaccination and vetcare, etc.  I said that this particular kitty seemed well socialized, noted that he had obviously clean habits, and said that he seemed quite young by his size and behaviour (the boy had hoped to find a kitten.)  I added clearly after having said all of these things that ultimately whether the boy felt so compelled to leave with him or not was entirely NOT up to me.  And The Boy decided to take the little tigré.  We waited an eternity in line to adopt, and then we were on our way to a pet shop to pick up a litterbox and other various sundry kitty essentials.

The Boy seemed fine with his decision, until I realized that the kitty was unwell.  The official owner (not having had a kitty before,) didn't seem to understand that in certain cases with kitties (like with kitties who have upper respiratory issues and who barely eat for three days,) waiting and seeing can be quite dangerous, even deadly.  Finally The Boy listened to my "hey, these are very concerning signs" feedback (which honestly near the end of the three days mounted to "Hey, your cat could die.") and agreed to see the vet sooner than he'd planned - he'd been hoping to wait 2 weeks so the cat could get a check-up and his next round of vaccinations all in one appointment.  Cursing all the while about how I FORCED him to get a cat, (I What?) we stepped into the vets office.

The vet is lovely.  And fortunately after looking over the kitty, she provided a good deal of information for The Boy, including the official word that kitties who don't eat for more than 3 days should be of serious concern, and that upper respiratory infections should be promptly treated as if they are left to linger the damage can be nasty and permanent.  I was relieved that this confirmation came from a neutral and official party.

Sickness dealt with, then there were intense discussions regarding the name.  The Boy wanted something ringard (old fashioned and ugly) and pushed hard for horrible, horrible names like "Elvis", and "Hector", and "Buddy".  The absolute worst of the names the boy proposed I can't even bear to tell you, other than to say it's a french word associated with a (male) human bodily function.

I cannot, for the life of me think of why one would want to give a living thing they like an ugly name.

I suggested names like "Usagi" (japanese for rabbit), "Hobbes", and "Mr. Mistoffelees", because I think animals are great for giving names you find pleasing, but that you would never consider naming a person.

In the end I had to cede, saying that Hector was a name I could live with above all the other horrible names the boy had proposed.  And then The Boy did something very surprising and decided to name the kitty Hobbes.  I quintuple checked that he was sure he wanted to go with that name, saying I could live with Hector, and that it was after all his right to name the kitty, since it was HIS kitty.  But Hobbes it is.

They've been adjusting to one another... it's all I can really say.  You might know how cats usually pay more attention to the person who seems to wish it less?  - So The Boy has been having a bit of a complex about how Hobbes spends more time around me, and has a habit of following me when I leave the room to see what I'm up to.  I've tried to explain Hobbes' behaviour based on all I know from the kitties I've had, what I've read, and what I've observed of Hobbes himself so far, but The Boy bristles at this.  There is a bruised ego in the mix for the moment...it doesn't like that it isn't "the preferred one".  I believe the accountant has a stake in this somewhere too, fuming in a corner of The Boys mind about how this thing, this animal that he owns... isn't acting like it belongs to him.  Something winds just a little tighter in The Boy each time he tries to pick Hobbes up, and Hobbes decides not to stay for a snuggle.  He certainly doesn't like hearing hints about how to win the affections of a kitty and has told me as much.  It was only offered in the first place because I, too had the desire for The Boy and his kitty to forge a good bond.  But fine, whatever.  I'll try to bite my tongue and just watch.  So far, it's been revealing.


demon w sieci said...

hi! as I was reading your post yesterday I was about to ask - what about the cat? Now I know and I'm happy for it. I myself have three cats , all of which are stray cats and on top of that I have a genuine feral cat that resides in my garden. with the freezing winter this year I had to built a shelter for him which he has accepted immediately. And yes, 'though my boys love our cats so much, it's me who's the cat-mommy in the house! :-)
greetings from brussels!

Jessica said...

Marta: It's funny... once you've been a cat-mommy, it's hard not to be just out of instinct!
Thanks for the hello!