The dog lover who fell in love with a cat adds another feline to the family By Micah Davis
In the Jan./Feb. 2017 issue of the Seaside Times, I wrote of my experience cohabitating with a cat for the first time. I concluded that kitty companionship is not so bad, and ended my article with a list of animal shelters where you might acquire a feline friend of your own.
I’m following up that pressing and groundbreaking piece of journalism to tell you that my girlfriend and I followed through on our intention of adopting another cat. We made our visit to Alaqua Animal Shelter several weeks ago. Upon arrival there, we were led to the kitten habitat, and from there to the adult cat abode. After entering this enclosure we sat down to see which cats might desire to make our acquaintance. Most of the other felines kept to themselves, but one scrawny ivory colored kitty approached us. He plopped himself into our laps quite immediately and unceremoniously, as if to say, “Took you long enough.” His sociability, playful curiosity, and stunning white coat won us over, and we asked to take him home with us, which we did the following week. We named him Ziggy.
Our new cat is in many ways a perfect counterpart to his roommate Dot. Unlike her, Ziggy suffers from no weight retention issues, and so is as lithe and athletic as can be. He gracefully bounds to the top of their multi-story kitty habitat, while she longingly gazes towards the top platform with an air of despondency, perhaps hoping that for once gravity will cut her a break. Where Dot is skittish, Ziggy is curious. Where Dot is reserved and aloof, Ziggy is affectionate. I have begun to notice that a few of Ziggy’s tendencies have begun to rub off on Dot, though. For instance, up until a few days ago, only Ziggy was able to access our countertops, but very recently Dot has demonstrated this skill as well. I was hoping she would pick up some of his cuddlier qualities, but perhaps that will come with time.
Before acquiring Ziggy, we believed that a newborn kitten would be the best addition to our household, but now I think that a cat raised for a time in a nurturing animal shelter like Alaqua is the best kind of cat one could find. He spent his formative months with other kitties, and received countless visits from humans, so he harbors no fear of either species. It seems to me that Ziggy’s life in ‘the pen’ must have developed in him the qualities of curiosity and affection that we so admire. Thus, if you’re looking for a well-adjusted creature, you might start by looking at the adult cats in need of a home, rather than with the kittens.
Before we adopted Ziggy, a friend of mine warned me that shelter cats, though wonderful, often come with health problems. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it my duty to inform you that our wonderful new cat is experiencing some issues, though hopefully nothing a little medicine won’t clear up. We had our first visit with the vet the other day, during which time we discovered that our feline companion was sporting a highly inflamed gum line above his teeth. The doctor warned us that that Ziggy could be allergic to his own plaque, a very silly thing to be allergic to if you ask me. It actually made me grateful for my own allergies, which, though they make me wretched, remain limited to sources exterior to my person.
If it turns out to be the case that Ziggy cannot coexist with his plaque, our vet informed us, then he will need to have all of his teeth removed. Of course, it might not be so bad, she added. He may only have feline leukemia or herpes. “I hope it’s herpes” is a thing one does not expect to think very often, but life can be surprising. I think our doctor may have studied sales tactics, which always advise to suggest a really expensive or dreadful option first, so that anything cheaper presented afterwards appears quite preferable in comparison. We’re hoping that Ziggy is simply suffering from a viral infection and will get better with a strong dose of vitamins.
Regardless, we love our new cat and wouldn’t trade him for anything. He is affectionate, entertaining, and an excellent companion to his roommate, Dot. Two days after we brought him home, I found myself sitting on the floor of my kitchen with Ziggy lying curled in my lap, purring as I pet him. As a staunch dog advocate, and a former detester of cats, this experience was one I would never have thought to have. Life can be surprising.