Meet our newest addition to the family.
How we got to the point where Tim suggested we get a cat is a story for another post. Today let me tell you how we went from Tim suggesting (and me not arguing one bit) that we get a cat to bringing home a kitten.
The kids and I went to Animal Ark in Hastings (about 20 minutes from our home) to look at cats. I really wanted a kitten because I thought that it would be easier for Lucy to accept a kitten then for us to bring in a cat that already a strong personality.
We walked around the shelter and looked at all the cats, and the kids did so well with them. I couldn’t believe how quickly they learned that they had to be still and gentle if they wanted the cats to come to them. Patrick is a cat person. I have thought that for years and seeing him petting and playing with the shelter cats confirmed it. Elise was excited and fell in love with all the cats. Michael was surprised and a bit overwhelmed with how a cat doesn’t just nuzzle you like Lucy does; cats rub their whole body, from head to the tip of their tail, on you. It didn’t take Michael long to come around and when he did he fell hook line and sinker.
We had to fill out forms to be able to meet and pet the kittens and by the end of meeting all the cats the kids had reached the end of their well-behaved-and-in-control behavior and we called it a day.
Tim and I spent the evening discussing if we should actually adopt a cat, will Lucy be able to handle it, and are we crazy? I spent the evening researching which type of kitten would be the best fit. I wanted a kitten that had been around kids (Animal Ark often fosters animals with families until there is enough room in their no-kill shelter to take more animals) and also a kitten that had been around other animals, ideally a dog. We also wanted a female kitten thinking Lucy would adjust to that better.
I cross referenced our requirements and check list of qualities we were looking for on the shelter’s list of kittens on their website and found 4 matches.
The next day just Elise and I went back to pick a kitten.
We were escorted to the kitten rooms and met the four kittens that met all our requirements. They were adorable, sweet and playful. When I asked to hold one the employee opened the cage and grabbed one of the kittens and handed it to me. It immediately tried to escape and started meowing. The rest of the litter started meowing back. The employee realized she handed me the male so she had me continue holding the male while she grabbed a female. When she handed me the female both kittens calmed in my arms immediately until the employee took the male away from me and put it back in the kennel with the rest of the litter. Then the female started to cry for its litter. Elise tried to pet the kitten and it scratched her and was trying to crawl out of my arms and away from Elise.
It was heartbreaking to think we would have to seperate a kitten from its litter but those were the socialized kittens and my checklist and all the research I did said that one of them would be the best fit for our family.
There was one other room to visit. This room had a kitten that had already been spayed. It wasn’t with a litter because it had been found all alone in a dumpster. It hadn’t been around other animals. It hadn’t been fostered.
I was already mentally vetoing this kitten when the employee was opening the cage. She handed me the kitten they had named Louise, and Louise snuggled right into the crook of my arm. I didn’t have to struggle to hold her because she wanted to be held. I petted her for a minute and then squatted down to Elise. Louise purred in appreciation and rubbed her head against Elise’s hand when Elise started to pet her. Elise exclaimed in a quiet voice with a big smile, “She loves me!” and then what sealed the deal, “I love her.”
We held Louise for a few more minutes and when she started to swat at my hair and show signs of wanting to play I was hooked.
We went back and looked at the other kittens one more time and I knew in my heart those kittens needed to be with siblings. We were not taking home two kittens, and there was only one kitten for us.
Elise was sad to leave but I promised her that I put our kitten “on hold” and we would bring her home this weekend.
I kept my promise. On Sunday we went as a family to pick up Louise, and on the drive home we unanimously voted to rename Louise, Astrid.
How does Lucy feel about this whole kitten thing? Time will tell. We are following the advice I found on paws.org. So far I am not even sure that Lucy is aware we brought a cat into the house. Life is business as usually for Lucy. Eat. Sleep. Play. Sleep.