We were blessed to have two wonderful cats that let us care for them from 1988 through 2004 and 2006, noting our male Maine Coon — Hrudey — passed first at 16 years followed by his sister Kelly two years later. I adopted them from the Redlands Animal Shelter at their Market Night booth in downtown Redlands, California one Thursday evening back in March of 1988. They were not more than 4 weeks old, perhaps 3 weeks at best and were both balled-up together when I lifted them out of their pet carrier for a look, cupped in my hands.
They survived the move to Georgia in 1991 and adopted Debbie when we married and combined households in 1993: life with the cats was always pretty good. Although I always was allergic to animal dander, it was never that bothered by the long-haired Maine Coons nor was Debbie. Where ever you went in the house, the cats were there, but rarely pests… just little friends who preferred to be in the same room with Debbie or me whenever we were in the house. Like many cats, as they got along in years they finally gave way to CRF.
We resolved to not replace them since our time with Kelly and Hrudey was generally a pleasure and they truly seemed like very special cats. However, over the years we’ve occasionally been tempted by some kittens or just had a sense that the house seemed a bit empty without the pitter-patter of little paws. Just before the holidays we were visited by what we believe is someone’s indoor / outdoor 8-month old kitten who really seemed like she wanted to adopt us. She darted into the garage and house a few times when the door was opened and had to be sush’d or carried out. While we were hesitant to take her in — for a variety of reasons — the encounter planted the seeds for exploring the idea of adding some kittens back into our life via adoption from one of the local shelters or cat rescue organizations.
This past Sunday we went out “just looking” to see if visiting with some kittens might make us decide to “take the plunge” or remind us why we decided not to replace Kelly and Hrudey. Well, one thing led to another and at the second place we visited we became smitten with a little 7-month old Muted Calico named Iris. We were of a mind that no cat should be left alone at home so we were also looking for a mate and there was a very loving black 8-month old male kitten with white markings on his face as well as a brown female Tabby that seemed to get along well with Iris. After hemming and hawing for at least an hour we finally decided to adopt Iris and the Tabby. Of course, that also meant loading up the truck with all of the necessary cat-accouterments, food, food dishes, water bowls, litter box, litter, etc…
Well, Iris was everything we though she’d be… a loving little cat that shadowed you around the house and like nothing more than sitting in your lap. The Tabby was a bit less social, but didn’t mind being petted so long as she didn’t feel cornered or you didn’t try to pick her up. But, much to our surprise, we found ourselves wheezing, sneezing and rubbing our eyes after our first day with cats back in the house. So, with a heavy heart the kitties went back to the animal rescue folks and will hopefully find themselves in a long-term adoptive home. As for us, we now need to do a Craigslist blitz to ride ourselves of the aforementioned accouterments: anyone need a 6′ tall carpeted cat tower, self-raking litter box or waterfall watering bowl?