As most of you know, my beloved cat Elijah Moon died about five weeks ago. The hole in my heart was huge, and I’ve recently read that people who lose animals they had for a long time develop symptoms of heart failure from the grief. My heart wasn’t failing, but it sure felt like it. I knew the only cure was to get another cat. For several weeks, I scanned the roster of cats at no-kill shelters and the local animal shelter, finding two cats I thought I might like. Then one day, an orange face popped up – a five month-old kitten named Garfield at our local shelter. I thought maybe this was a sign because we had often called Elijah Moon Garfield.
A week ago last Saturday, we went to the shelter. We hadn’t even brought a kitty carrier, but after meeting him, we (mainly mostly I) decided to take him. We filled out a few forms, paid a reduced rate for the adoption (since we are ‘seniors’), bought a cardboard carrier and went home, Garfield in tow. The shelter had had him neutered, chipped, provided all his shots, and box trained him. So he was ready.
It turns out we have a very timid cat, not surprising because he was born in the shelter and had lived only in a crate with a glass window or the adoption room. When we let him out of the carrier, he immediately went and hid under a chest, sprinting under our recliner when we attempted to get him out.
I immediately got on line and read about dealing with timid cats, and for the next several days basically talked to him, played with him on the floor when he emerged, and discovered that if you picked him up and put him in your lap, he purred outrageously. He’ll stay in your lap for hours for cuddles
Over the past week, he has become bolder, opting to retreat to either the domed, wicker house that was Elijah’s, a small, round, carpet covered house, or lately the tunnel that is half way up his cat tree. He’s explored our family room, discovered his toys, learned what the scratching post is for, and likes to play – something I’ll bet he didn’t do much at the shelter except with other kittens. We still have him confined to the family room and kitchen because our house is large with too many places he could hide.
Every day is a new discovery and we have enjoyed watching him slowly come out of his shell. He’s more than halfway through the socialization period for cats, so we got him just in time.
So here is the cat who has taken up another part of my heart: Garfield the Magnificent (we call him the Magnificent because he has a huge, long fluffy tail and a ruff around his neck…part Maine coon?)
I am still mourning Elijah, and when I feel up to it, will write something about my wonderful cat.