Saturday, September 13, 2014

Becoming a Family of Seven

After an unfortunate ending with Cowbell and Mr. Nibbles, Jesse and I felt like we needed to redeem ourselves as cat owners once again. Jesse searched Craigslist ads and postings on the Humane Society.  We were looking for a younger cat (but not kitten) that was declawed. Jesse fell in love with a 4-year-old, solid white cat. After contacting the owner, we unknowingly became part of an unusual interview process. Before we were allowed to get the cat, the owner requested two references, asked us a multitude of questions, and wanted to personally come to our home to make sure it was adequate. We gave her the contact information for our veterinarian to prove our previous cats were up-to-date on vaccines. Even though she was the one getting rid of her cat, it took a bit of convincing for her to actually give us the cat. The selling point was sending her images of the book I made for Cowbell. (I had made a hardcover photo book from the cat's perspective during one of my grad school courses.)

The cat delivery occurred last Friday, September 5. We offered to pick the cat up since she lives 45+ minutes away, but the owner was insistent on coming to our home and seeing how the cat interacted. They did not arrive until 8 pm, after all four kids were in bed. When she dropped the cat off, she was struggling to keep her emotions together. She informed us that she likes to keep her belly shaved and she also wipes the cat's bottom with a baby wipe. The cat sniffed around and hid upstairs. The owner wanted to tell the cat goodbye, but we could not find her. We ended up turning every light on and waking everyone up trying to find the cat. The cat was under James' crib. The owner climbed under his crib to retrieve her. The triplets were standing in their cribs crying by the time the owner left. Jackson got excited and ran downstairs to try and play with the cat.

A half hour after she left, everyone settled back down and returned to bed.

On this same evening, our air conditioning stopped working. We ended up opening all of the windows in an effort to cool the house down. The cat slept in our bed most of the night. The following morning we could not find the cat. We searched the whole house without any hint of where she might be. We then noticed a large opening in the screen of the upstairs window. The screen had been shredded from Mr. Nibbles escape on the roof years ago. Our fear was that our new cat had gone through the window and on the roof. Our worries escalated. Jesse and Jackson even drove around the neighborhood looking for her. Several hours later, she came crawling out from the fabric of the box spring mattress.

It took several days for me to even get a photograph of her since she did not transition well. Here is our newest family member, Aspen.

Aspen probably spends 18-21 hours a day under our bed. It has taken her a week to go in the hallway and roam around upstairs. She still does not go downstairs. When I closed her in the nursery with the kids, this is what happened:

Though Aspen does not prefer the children, she doesn't hiss or swat at them either. She's fairly tolerable of them, but doesn't allow them to come close enough to touch her.

Aspen sleeps in our bed and only allows Jesse or I to pet her. She kneads my stomach, licks my arm, and purrs when I go in the bedroom. Hopefully she's still getting comfortable and she'll willingly interact with the children in the upcoming weeks.

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