Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome to My World!--by Christie

If my life was my favorite kind of romance novel, I’d be the studly hero with the fancy car stopping to pick up the bedraggled heroine on the side of the road (think Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Natural Born Charmer). Or maybe this episode would be more like something from a paranormal romance, where an old love returns in a new body (Anya Seton's Green Darkness?)…

In any case, this is my real life and I have a new member of the family… That’s her on the left. We lost The Best Dog in the World, our wonderful yellow lab, Harlow, in July. It has been a great loss to the family, one that still hurts very much. It’s left a hole in our life that our other critters (two parakeets, now with three eggs); red-eared slider turtle who has two homes, one our pond and one our swimming pool; and big-as-a-platter desert tortoise cannot fill. We miss petting so much that we stop people and their dogs everywhere just to touch fur. But I’m just not ready for a puppy yet.

Last week, though, a cat was tiptoeing along our fence. Son 1 and Son 2 and I rushed out, just to say hello to a furred creature. The cat ran at first, but then came back. Son 2 offered her the pretzel in his hand. I said, “No, the cat won’t—” The cat has already chewed it down. Son 1 gave her a piece of salami. Another pretzel. More salami. (I know, bad choices, but boys will be boys). We gave her some water and then we went into the house. The cat yowled. We moved upstairs. The cat moved farther back in our backyard so she could look in the window at us and yowled some more.

The next morning, Surfer Guy found her still in the backyard and he fed her some dog food. She was so hungry that before he left for work he said, “Unless we find an owner, we have a cat.” Fast forward a few days. Signs have been up. Craig’s List notified. The neighbors tell me she’s been hanging around their yard for over a week. No one calls. She came to us skinny. We couldn’t get her to play with a piece of yarn or anything else. Now, with cat food in her bowl 24 hours a day, fresh water all the time, she’s filling out. Her coat is shiny, and, as you can see, she’s getting comfortable. Very comfortable. She has toys now, she has favorite spots to sleep, and she seems to be thriving on our attention.

So, we have a cat. We had cats before, when Surfer Guy and I were first married. They were litter mates and lived for thirteen years. I think the reason I rushed out to this cat was she reminded me so much of our girl cat, Baltimore. Same shape and size (though she was black and white). So I called the new cat Ghost of Baltimore (GOB) at first, but because this new critter is all black and has these cool and spooky yellow eyes, she is now Goblin.

I think she was meant for us. My mom was afraid she might be feral, but this girl is a family kind of cat. The first couple of days she was extremely grateful, but now she’s returned to a catlike superiority that I just find so funny. I already love my little Goblin.

Have you ever taken in a stray? Tell me this is going to work out!


Kylie said...

Good luck with the new pet, Christie!

We've never taken in a stray as we've always had a dog (much to my husband's dismay!)

But I had a brother who was incessantly bringing home strays (animals and people). I don't know how many dogs he brought home. Seems like we always found the owners. But the cats...they stayed. I never understood that because we had never been allowed to have cats before that!

He once brought home a field mouse that of course got loose and was loose in our house for years, LOL.

And once a mother rabbit was killed by a tractor so he thought he should bring all her baby bunnies home. I recall my mother being up every two hours feeding them from a medicine dropper, and our sadness when they died, one by one.

Cats are a much better bet!

Fiona said...

A big wlecome to GOblin!

When my Dh and I were first dating, we had no money, so picnics where our "dinners out" on nice weekends.

One morning, I was making sandwiches and a cat walked in my DH's kitchen door (no screen) and had a snack. She was orange with stripes, so I called her the "Tiger Kitty" and she left.

She came back the next day and moved in! DH talked to the neighbors, but she had no known home. So, he got a litter box and she got a trip to the vet. The name "Tiger" stuck.

We had that cat for 6 years. I still miss her and she's been gone 10 years.

One of our cats and both of our dogs are from rescue groups. The other cat was a "gift" from a friend who got the cat as a stray and hated him. He woke me this morning by his LOUD PURRING. :-)

Playground Monitor said...

This is just too weird. Barbara Vey blogged about cats today and how everyone has them on the websites and blogs.

We had at least one cat for 21 years until about this time last year when we had to get rid of the last one. We never had feral cats but they were either barn cats or from someone who had a litter and needed to get rid of them. #1 son's cat was a stray and Sampson turned out pretty well. We had temporary custody after he graduated from college and until he lived somewhere he could have an animal. Now he's back with #1 son and the granddaughter calls him "Samfin."


Gwen aka Kelsey said...

Christie -

We found our current spoiled-beyond-all-belief dog at the animal shelter here in Qatar one day when my son and I went out to walk the dogs. They believed he'd been dragged beneath a car. He was messed up with cuts and burns and a permanently dislocated hip, but he just stood there, wagging his tail with that lampshade thing on his head. It took him several tries to get his head through the door to the outside run, but he made it. We brought him home the next day.

He's now the dog who runs our house with his internal clock. Breakfast at 6am, then a walk, then a morning nap. Dinner at 4:30pm, then two cookies (dog ones) after the human dinner, then a late walk.

We remind him on regular basis he landed in high cotton when he came to our house!

Christie Ridgway said...

Kylie: I bet baby bunnies are very cute. We tried handraising a cockatiel that was rejected by its mother (feeding with droppers every 2 hours) and didn't have any luck.

Fiona: Goblin purrs so loud! She also wakes up Surfer Guy in the mornings by tapping very gently on his face.

Christie Ridgway said...

Marilyn: Oh, I'll go check out Barbara Vey's blog. Funny how things can seem to catch on like that.

Christie Ridgway said...

Gwen/Kelsey from Qatar! Great to see you. Your dog was indeed very lucky to get you and your family. We're taking Goblin to the vet today and I was just thinking about those funny cone things for their heads. She's pretty young, I think, and will have to be spayed, I'm guessing. Which means the cone, IIRC.

Our dog Harlow was so good that he didn't need a cone. Surfer Guy would just tell him not to lick his hurt (happened only a couple of times) and he wouldn't do it.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, Christie, this is so sweet. Yes, it sounds like Goblin was meant for your family. And I think you'd already know if she wasn't going to work out. She's a lucky cat! Looks beautiful too with that big fluffy tail.

Never had taken in a stray, but could see how easily it happens!

Christie Ridgway said...

Helen: Because we've always had a dog, this has never come up before. I'm just hoping she gets a clean bill of health at our vet's today. She seems to be doing great though.

I was just outside in the backyard chasing her around because she was enticing me to play. But even when she "attacks" me she's very gentle. She'll "bite" and then lick right over the "wound." I'm really having fun with her.

Amy said...

Hahahaha. We are NOT Pet People. Which is why we have two rescue cats, a rescue dog, a rescue tortoise and fish.

Every one brought to us through our children.

This weekend, we found a baby opossum wandering in our yard. If it shows back up, my youngest will probably feed it, and then I'll have a pet possum.

Cindy Gerard said...

Love that Goblin found a home with you. We got our 2 cats pretty much the same way. One day, there were no cats in our house then one day there were two. they found their way in through the doggie door. I told my hubby - I think we now have cats. That was 3 years ago. And yes, they make themselves at home. We love the - never thought I would say that about a cat :o)
Even the dog likes them :o)

Betina Krahn said...

Christie, congrats on the new family member! I was never a cat person, but both of my kids now have two cats in the house and I've oome to appreciate them and their unique style of affection.

Never taken in a stray-- to stay. Occasionally my boys would find a dog and bring him home. . . we always found a worried owner, thank heavens. The DH was not overly fond of dogs in the house. So now I have two critters in the house-- both canine. But someday I may go for a cat. I'm really intrigued by those "Bengal" cats with their "nearly wild" looks.

Goblin looks adorable. And yep, she sounds like she's settling right in. Good Luck!

Lori said...

Congrats on your new family member! We took in a stray kitten about 20 years ago. She had obviously bee left behind by her mom and littermates as too small to keep up. We literally found her in the gutter outside our apartment. She had a little brown nose, and was about the size of a peanut. So that was her name.

Our male cat took her in and played mom to her (he even let her nurse on him, poor tolerant guy). He bathed her and loved her as his own. She sure wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, though. Remember the scene in Christmas Vacation with the cat and the tree lights? Been there, done that. We often came home to find her stuck and hanging from the drapes from one paw. She never did figure out how to retract her claws in her 15 years!

The saddest day in my boys' lives was when we had to put her down at the ripe age of 15.

Enjoy Goblin - may you have many long years of love and laughter with her!

ArkieRN said...

Man, I've never had a cat that wasn't a stray. You mean people pay money for cats? *scratch, scratch* Huh! Why'd they want to do that?

Playground Monitor said...

I've never paid money for a cat, but a free cat sure isn't cheap. After you get the shots and then have them spayed or neutered, you've shelled out a bundle for that "free" cat. But it's the responsible thing to do.

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- LOL! Goblin looks fabulous. Plush without being too vulgar about it. (g)

Last year we "adopted" a teeny-tiny less than 5 week old black kitty from the side of the road where hubby was walking the dog. We just adore her.

Although as she's growing older she's less "needy" and I like a very sociable cat. They usually sit with me anytime I sit in a non-desk chair. They sleep with me.

Well, this little one plays hard to get now that she's a teenager! Wretch!! But there are signs that she will return to needing her people soon enough.

And we surely didn't need another cat when we found her. Except that unbeknownst to me, I was going to lose my 13 year-old cat. She died early this summer. Unexpectedly.

I think animals find us when we need them. We were very upset to lose our older cat. (crying now) But it was somehow easier because we had the new cat filling up some space, letting us pet her. Occasionally curling up in my lap, saying, "It's okay. I'm here."

Christie Ridgway said...

I love all these "stray" stories. We've never had a pet just appear on our doorstep (again, because of the dog) so it is an odd feeling to suddenly have one without thinking much about it beforehand.

Surfer Guy is going to have a handful taking her to the vet today, I think. She will complain (she "talks" a lot). He said I could come with him and I said, "Oh, darling, but I have that deadline." (Convenient for me. Vet visits stress me out.)

And, oh no, I'd completely forgotten about cats and the Christmas tree! Yikes!

Michele Hauf said...

Never take in a stray. Never dared. I'm a freak about cats that have lived outside. They get worms and stuff. I like house cats. Clean and well, wormless. (Can you tell I was traumatized by a cat with worms when I used to live out in the country?)
But we have a frequent parade of cats that stop by our deck door daily, I think to torment our two housecats by letting them know they have the run of the neighborhood while ours do not. Yeah, but ours are healthy, so there.

I adore cats. Don't ever want to be without one. They're pretty carefree (I'm all about carefree, including kids), and when you need them, they're there. Just doesn't get better than a cat.

Christie Ridgway said...

Michele: I'm sure Goblin will get the full gamut of disease-ridding stuff today at the vet's. We gave her the flea stuff right away, but put off the vet for a few days because we weren't sure if she would be claimed and we didn't want to freak her out right away.

Surfer Guy and I both grew up with dogs and had our first two cats because we couldn't have a dog where we lived then. They were great and we learned to appreciate their differences from a dog.

The day after Goblin adopted us, I couldn't find her in the afternoon (we leave the back door open for her to go out during the day, she sticks very close). I thought maybe she'd run off or gone back home. But then I found her sleeping in a sheltered spot under the piano. I'd been calling for her, but, being a cat (unlike a dog) she felt no compunction to make her presence known.

I'd forgotten about that kind of thing!

Candace said...

Many years ago, when we were living in Oregon, a little gray stray came to our back door and deposited a mouse on the welcome mat. She did this three days running until we opened the door and let her in. She stolled in past a very surprised Doberman and made herself immediately to home. We named her Mouse and she was part of our lives for 21 years.

She was always there, curled up on my desk while I wrote, sleeping in the crook of DH's arm at night, staring down at the Doberman from the her perch on the back of the sofa with that superior cat look on her sweet little face.

She moved all over the country with us--New York, Dallas, Santa Rosa, Minneapolis. She died in her sleep in 2001. I still miss her.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Awww, Surer Guy is so cute. "Unless we find an owner, we have a cat." My guy is not a cat person, so he tolerates my kitty.

Yours looks like a beauty--perfect for the season!

catslady said...

How to make this short... We've had 2 dogs (one for 12 yr. and the last for 17) and one cat from the pound (who passed at 17 last year). The mother cat showed up with 3 kittens - we brought one in and it's snowballed ever since. One year there were 3 litters with 11 kittens - that's when I was able to catch the females and have them fixed but I think they tell other cats lol. One kitten someone dumped motor oil on and I nursed it from a baby and another had pneumonia. At the moment I have 6 cats and take care of 5 ferals!

Christie Ridgway said...

Candace: Mouse sounds wonderful. I just love that superior way that cats have.

Catslady! Ohmygosh! That is a lot of cats. Yes, there must be a "Diner" sign of sorts outside your house.

So I'm guessing my Goblin isn't feral...that she must have been raised in some sort of household situation because she's so comfortable with us and made herself right at home.

I don't think she's full-grown, though. The vet will see her in a couple of hours and I shall report what we find out.

Kathy: Surfer Guy wouldn't classify himself as a cat person either, but he can't turn away an animal in need. And she's very swet. He's already won over, though he keeps saying a cat is no substitute for a dog. True, but that's fine. We'll get another dog, just not yet.

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Of all your neighbours, Goblin chose you (or was sent to you.) She looks beautiful. Love that tail. I have a sleek little black cat too although Dobbie's has a very long tail it certainly isn't as fluffy as Goblin's.

May you all have many happy years together :-)

Christie Ridgway said...

Thanks, Yvonne! She's so fun. She just discovered our tortoise and the look on her face was, "Hey, wait a minute. I don't think that's a dog!" She tried creeping toward him and he just stared her down and then walked toward her and she turned tail and ran to me. She's now back at her spot on the loveseat in my office (the same place where the pix were taken).

Anonymous said...

Aww, the best ones are the ones that find you. Yes, I've taken in two strays. The first one, Sam, was a long haired tiger stripe with white. We had him for 10 years before cancer took him 11 years ago. He was the love of my life! The second is a girl named Missy, who showed up at our door pregnant. She delivered about two weeks later. When the kits were 7 weeks old, we found them homes and kept her. She is a real sweetie.
Goblin sounds like a real joy.


Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, LindaC! I'm glad to know these good "stray" experiences.

Goblin update: Our vet (we love him, have known him for years) says she's young, but in really good shape. Teeth are good. She's not been spayed (that comes next week). We're testing her for a couple of blood diseases but she seems healthy to him. The staff kept saying how sweet she is.

Vet also says she's part Burmese because of her round eyes, which do not show in my pix at all. But they're very big and very round and I swear, she never blinks! It's what gives her her "goblin" look.

Estella said...

I have taken in many strays--dogs and cats both. They have always stayed with us until doggie or cat heaven called.

Liza said...

Good luck with Goblin. We took in the cat from next door after they moved when I was about 8. Midnight was all black except one white spot on her neck(she and our dog had the same white spot). She was the best cat ever!

Pattie said...

I've always been told the best pets are the ones that find you. Goblin looks a lot like T.C. (stands for Temporary Cat). We found T.C. under a prebuilt shed at Lowe's and brought him home. He's been with us for 6 years now, so he's not so temporary. I'm happy Goblin found you.

Barbara Samuel said...

Oh, she is so so beautiful! I can't wait to meet her.

I've been loving all the cats in the world but am not quite ready to find a new baby yet. (My beloved Leo was killed in July.)

It's funny how your animals find you.