Thursday, December 04, 2008

The pitter-patter of little...



...paws.

The past few months have been a lesson in loss to my hubby and I. Our son went away to college the beginning of this school year. And a month ago we had to put our 18-year old cat (and my best friend) to sleep. The Hauf household has been sort of melancholy. So it was with great enthusiasm that the two of us trekked to the pet store a few weeks ago in search of 'the one'. We thought we'd like an older cat, maybe a few years, to get along with the one we still have, Toast (11). We found a cute redhead, but as soon as he came out of the cage, he freaked. Attribute that to living in a little cage for three weeks, and I was going to give him the bad mood. But it didn't change. So we tried the ball of two month old fluff. The hubby shook his head. "Nothing that will be climbing the drapes," was his one rule. "But look at his widdle fat tummy," I tried. No dice.

So with a sigh, I wondered if this trip would be the one. I glanced at the solid black kitty sitting serenely in the bottom row. As an afterthought I decided to give him a look. Two seconds out of the cage and the dude was snuggling and hugging and kissing (seriously, the cat was licking my face with fervent kisses). He was workin' it. He did not want to go back in that cage. So we took him home. Don't worry, we got him at a Pet Store, but they serve as a means for the local rescue shelter, Rescued Pets Are Wonderful, to show their animals. No kitty mills, here.

We've named him Maxwell Smudge. He's about seven months old, and still a lot of kitty. In proof, the hubby and I have not slept since he's come home. Kitties are like babies. Up all night, sleep all day, it seems. Max likes to sleep on faces. And he's in and out of the bedroom all night long, just doing an eyelid check to see if we really are sleeping or maybe just faking it.

I've had to kitty-proof the house, putting away all things breakable and checking those darned shade-pull strings so he won't hang himself. Have you ever gone to sit in the bathroom and had a cat stick its paw in between you and the seat before you land? (He climbs the drapes, too.) Interesting times, I must say. Max goes everywhere. Including under every single piece of furniture that I wouldn't even dream to vacuum under—until now. Strange gray blobs have been appearing all over the house. They are the size of my foot, in some cases. They move a little with the air currents. Dust bunnies. Max is shepherding them out of the darkest recesses. Go, Max!

Not.

But it's all good, because man, can this guy snuggle and purr. I'd been missing cat naps with my dearly departed (he was a major snuggler) and it almost feels as if his spirit is embodied within Max. Sigh...

So far Toast has been growling and groaning at the beastly thing. I can just hear his thoughts, "That thing's still here? What were they thinking? It's so smelly." Yeah, Max does have a certain odour about him. And does he have cat breath! Eww. Any suggestions on that one, cat lovers?

But he's sitting on my lap right now, purring, starring up at me with those wide gold eyes, sending me much love. Ah, there he just moved in for the hug, a little paw to my chin and a nose kiss. Cats. They're something special.

What about you? Tell us about your special pet, cat or dog. I love to hear stories about pet love.

I've got a fun prize package for today in the theme of "winter'. Of course, a signed copy of WINTER KISSED, and also a box of snowflake chocolates and a pretty sparkly snowflake ornament for your tree! One commenter will be announced as winner tomorrow.

Michele

46 comments:

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh, Michele. Big hugs on losing your old buddy. It's so hard. But major congrats on your new cutie pie. He sounds like a darling!
As to the cat breath. Get him to a vet. He probably has some bad teeth or a gum problem. Seriously, when our cats adopted us (ahem) Sly had terrible breath. Finally took him to the vet and he had a major gum problem, poor baby. He has since had SEVERAL teeth pulled and is doing great! I think he's gained 3 pounds since we got rid of those bad teeth and NO bad breath to be had.
Have fun with your new baby.

Margay said...

I love cats! I have two all black cats myself and so does my sister! Only hers are huge and elderly whereas mine are tiny and less than two years old.

Anonymous said...

Nothing as sweet as a snuggly cat (once the kids are no longer babies that is!) Enjoy! Debbie

Michele Hauf said...

To the vet I go! Yeah, it's so bad, the mouth end smells worse than the other end. Wicked bad breath.

danie88 said...

Maxwell Smudge sounds so darn cute! I'm so happy you got a new kitty!

I have 5 cats and 4 dogs... i know... I have a lot of pets hehe... but the one pet that has a special place in my heart is my dog or should I say he owns me... his name is Bear... he is a big and when I say big i mean BIG dog... he's about 2 sizes smaller then a great dane... he's goofy and lovable and thinks he can (try) to sit on my lap... he makes me laugh all the time and always brings a small to my face... he looks like a black lab except for his head and size... he has a huge head... i believe he's part rottwieler...

ok now for my funny story... this happened about a little over a month back... i was waking up one morning for the day and was still lieing in bed and reached up to turn the lamp on (my bedroom is in the basement so it's always constantly dark) after turning on the light and my eyes ajusted I looked down and noticed there was a spider-about the size of a quarter- about a centimeter away from my finger... (Bear is awake and is sitting on the other side of the room and watching me the whole time while im waking up)well i don't like spiders so i did what i call a "squeaky scream"... for some reason i can't scream i just squeak and i think its annoying but anyway i sat up as quickly as possible and grabbed a magazine near by- still sitting on my bed i "squeaky screamed" again because it moved and went to go hit it to kill it... well in the middle of my "squeaky scream"... Bear... not being the brightest crayon in the box and thinking im playing runs at full speed across the room flys onto my bed and lands smack dab on the spider killing it and knocking me off my bed in the process... I told him "thank you Bear for killing the spider... not so much for making me land on my butt" lol

sorry the post is so long i hope everyone enjoys my funny story!

FIONA said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your sweet Senior kitty. Our 18 yr old cat died last September. Even though it's been a year, and we have a little fluff-ball of our own, I still miss her.

I second Cindy on the need for a vet visit and a look at his teeth--along with a complete physical (including basic blood work).

The type of food a cat gets can affect their whole odor, too.

Also, if he's not neutered, that can increase the pungency of his urine.

Enjoy your busy little guy.

FIONA said...

And three cheers for getting a rescued cat. Our little one came form the pet shop, but through "Happy Tails" rescue.

Liza said...

Michele, Max sounds like such a sweetie.

I don't currently have a pet, but I love my dad's dog Lizzie. She is the biggest chocolate lab and still thinks she is this little puppy.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey! I have a black cat too! Our rescue from a little over a year ago. She was maybe 5 weeks old and on the street.

Congrats on Max Smudge!! I love a snuggling kitty.

Re: Cat breath
Well, it might be some teeth issues. Does he have an abscess? The rescue might not have thought to look for an abscess on a 7 month old cat.

CrystalGB said...

What an adorable cat.
I have a German Shepherd named Gypsy. She is very loving and loves to play and give you kisses. She will lay on your feet on her back to get her belly rubbed.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, congrats on the new family addition! (And condolences on the loss.) I have two schnauzers and adore them-- they're so human in their mannerisms and understand so many words. I don't know what will happen when one of them goes-- the elder is 10 1/2 years now and has a tumor the vet says not to worry about. Not to worry? Is he kidding? I have to pet the dog every day; he doesn't!

I have two grandkitties at each son's house. . .Chipper and Salsa at one house and Chaka and Frick at the other. My kids think they're comedians. sigh. Adorable cats. Suprisingly attentive and affectionate. I've become a real fan.

Danie88, I love your story! Send me your addy for the prize, m'dear!

lunaticcafe said...

I've only had one pet, aside from fish. When I was about 18 an old boyfriend brought me a tiny puppy in hopes that I would keep them both- I kept the puppy, not the guy:) He was only a few weeks old and I had to become a surrogate mommy because he was too little to be away from his mom. I named him Baron Von Chow Rot- he was half chow and half rottie- and he was the sweetest dog ever. He protected me fiercely and when I had my son he watched over him too. When the military moved us overseas I had to let him stay with my parents because quarantine was 30 days and we knew he wouldn't survive that. He needed people to cuddle and love him. We would visit often and he loved me unconditionally. He grew very attached to my dad too. He lived for about 10 people years, but sadly, he got an infection and died. We were at the point of putting him down, drove all the way there and when my dad picked him up to carry him in he licked his face and then he was gone. I loved Baron and can't seem to find any dog that moves me as much, so I have never got a new pet. I still miss sleeping next to Baron- he was a good cuddly dog.

Michele- I am so sorry about your loss but very happy about the new kitty.

Michele Hauf said...

Danie88, love the spider story! Bear must be a great buddy.

I'll definately have to have his teeth checked. When I look in his mouth it's nice a pink and the teeth all white, but I can only look for so long without dying of the stench.

Betina, it is odd how vets can sometimes be unconcerned, but maybe they have to be. Our pets are our kids! How not to be concerned?

Lunatic - Sniff. I still cry about my cat (Sebastian). I will for a long time, I'm sure. And the new cat does things that only Sebastian did (like lay on my chest and take a nap with me). Sounds like Baron was a gem.

Did I mention Max likes to play fetch? Seriously, he's half puppy. He has a little mouse that, if I throw it, he'll go get it and bring it back, to be tossed again. That can keep him busy for half an hour. Amazing.

Lori said...

Your new baby sounds like such a love.

We have had wicked awesome luck with our cats. My first cat, Corky, was my 16th bd present, and he went away to college with me. He has FUS, and had to have surgery to reroute his plumbing making him, essentially a girl-kitty. But he was still my little man. He was raised by our poodle, so he thought he was a dog. We caught him dragging an entire pizza across the floor to go eat it one time.

In came Peanut, the little baby we rescued from the gutter, who thought that Corky was her mother. See, she was far too young to be left behind - we had to feed her with a bottle when we first found her; she was about as big as a peanut. Corky was so wonderful, he let her nurse on him, bathed her while she did so (even though obviously she never got anything). Can you say gender confusion, LOL! Anyway, Peanut was your typical stupid cat. Remember in Christmas Vacation, when the cat electrocuted itself on the Christmas tree lights? Been there, done that. We'd often come home to find Peanut hanging by one paw from the drapes. Seemed she'd climb up, but couldn't figure out how to retract her claws to get down. But such a sweet little thing.

I had to put Corky down when I was 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child. Talk about emotional. He lived to be 14. Peanut was 12 when we had to put her down. Being an adult and having to make those decisions gave me a lot more respect for my parents, whom I had always viewed as "murderers" for doing the same to my childhood pets. K... ramble over.

Enjoy your new cat!

lois greiman said...

Yay for you, Michele. I just adopted a little stray calico. She's adorable. But as you know my favorites are the horses. I had my mare for 28 years before she died last spring. We were both kids together and that makes it so hard to let go. But I have one of her sons and her only daughter and they make my life work.

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, Michele. So sorry about you having to put your BF to sleep. Sounds like he had a very long and sweet life with you.

And Max sounds wonderful. I get it. I really do. But, alas, I'm going through animals overdone issues myself.

I'll leave the warm and fuzzy pet stories to others. Bah humbug!!

Lee said...

When my husband had to put down his beloved K9 partner, it was devastating. Bear was the light of our life. 100lb lab of love, and highly decorated drug dog. It took 4yrs, and a little black & white stray kitty to come into our life and my husband's heart. Zip as we call her, arrived in our yard, 4yrs to the day that Bear died. Strange, hmmm. We think she was deserted by one of the foreclosed homes in our area. Hungry, and full of attitude, and instantly in love with hubby, we took her in. Now she fattened up, chipped, fixed and purrs constantly. My husband swears she's Bear in cat form...Maybe.
Lee
www.chasingheroes.com

Michele Hauf said...

Lori, love hearing about your kitties. They are so special, aren't they?

Helen, I can understand the overdoing it part. You have dogs and cats. I couldn't do both. But at the pet store I told the hubby that if he weren't around I could so see myself becoming the crazy cat lady. Who can go into a shelter and NOT take a cat home?

Another Bear! Love that story.

Cathy said...

We live in a pretty small home with a small back yard, so have kept our pets to 2 box turtles that roam the yard during the day and come inside at night. We recently adopted a rabbit that a neighbor couldn't take care of anymore, and I can't believe how much I am enjoying her. It's like having a really quiet cat. She roams the back yard during the day, loves to play tag, and runs up to you when she wants some extra love. I grew up with cats, and I can't believe how much I've missed having a small warm body to cuddle up with. The sense of trust and companionship is a wonderful gift.

Playground Monitor said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, but yay to you for rescuing a kitty.

We had to get rid of our last cat about a year ago and we decided not to get another animal. We're gone so much during the summer it wouldn't be fair to an animal.

We got our first cat when we moved into our second house. The lot backed up to woods and I was concerned about varmints (snakes mostly). A friend suggested a cat and found us a beautiful pewter-gray barn cat we named Graycie. She looked like a pure-bred Russian blue or Burmese and was definitely part Siamese. She had an attitude! But she was a great mouser and kept our yard pretty varmint-free. We got her a few weeks before Christmas and she was about 3 months old. One day I came in to find her splayed out asleep on a branch about 1/2 way up the tree. Somewhere in a box I have a photo of that. She lived to be 14. We've had a series of other cats including temporary custody of our grandcat while our son lived in an apartment that would have charged him an arm and a leg for a pet deposit. Once he and the DIL moved to a house, we gave him back. His name is Sampson but my granddaughter calls him "Samfin." ::grin::

Marilyn

Jane said...

Maxwell Smudge is a cutie. I didn't have any pets growing up. I got my first fish a couple of years ago. It was a beta. He died shortly after we moved. He couldn't handle the stress of the move.

Michele Hauf said...

Cathy, I've never thought rabbits could be very exciting pets, so I'm glad you mentioned yours.

Gracie sounds so pretty! I'd love to have a Burmese, but would rather adopt a rescued or homeless cat. Max has already climbed up our Xmas tree too. THe tree is very plain this year because we could put up the glass balls. Just unbreakable stuff.

Jane, I've never understood fish. But those betas are gorgeous. those are the kind that can't be put in a tank with another of their kind for fear of fighting, right?

Beckey said...

I have 2 adorable cats. One (Madeye Moody Molesucker May) will sit and stare at me and meow until I get up and throw a plastic wire for him. He used to fetch them for me, but then he figured out if he just stares at me I will get up and go get it and throw it for him again. Every once in a while he will bring a shoe string and once he gets it in his mouth he takes me for walks up and down the hallway. He also has a penchant for bringing me my unmentionables. LOL

Virginia said...

The only pets we have right now is fish in a pond that will eat out of your hands, also have a fish tank in the house. My so has an alergy to cats so we can't have those.

Years ago I had a pet bird that would follow me through the house. I could be standing at the kitchen sink and it would come to the kitchen and stand on my foot and chirp for me to pick it up.

catslady said...

Well I am considered the (crazy)catslady roflmao. I have so much I could say on this subject! Our first pet was a beagle who was our baby for 12 years. Then we got a sheltered mutt who was the best dog ever (I know but she was)and then I had two kids. She was with us for 17 years. During that time we got our first sheltered kitten who just passed this year at 17 - it's still hard. 13 yrs. ago I got involved with strays/ferals. We brought one in (Little Guy - a girl haha) and unknowingly after feeding more ferals I started a baby boom. After finding homes for quite a few and realizing they could have more than one litter in a season, I was able to catch all but one of the females and have them spayed. I still have 3 permanent outside females that I care for ll to 13 yrs. and males that stay for a year or two and go on their way. My biggest accomplishment is saving a kitten who someone had thrown motor oil on him and the mother. I bottle fed him (he use to sleep in my long hair lol) and he is now 11 and my biggest cat. Then there was the kitten with pneumonia. Oh and I ended up keeping my grandkitty (really named Kitty) when my daughter left her with me too long and had gotten another kitten. My youngest is 1. I have 6 at the moment. Sorry this was so long but mention animals and I could go on forever.

Michele Hauf said...

Beckey, I love that name. It's fun the names we come up with for our cats, isn't it? Max might have been Smudge for the smudge of white on his chest. But a middle name works, too. The hubby wanted him to be Monkey Butt, because well, his hindquarters do have a strange monkey-like quality to them. 'nuff said.

Catslady, you are crazy! But not really. Caring for animals can never be a bad thing. It's when the ladies with hundreds of cats in their houses (and the whole house is a virtual litter box) that I really worry for the sanity of those poor cats. Hoarding is just strange.

Virginia, birds freak me out. My mom had a bird that she let walk around too. I almost stepped on that thing so many times.

terrio said...

The plan is to add a kitty to our home in January. I live in an apartment and the deposits are pretty hefty. Plus, we have a skittish parakeet and a fluffy hamster so I have no idea how this new addition will work. But it's been years since I've had a cat so I'm getting excited.

Sorry to hear about your loss but Max sounds like lots of fun. Well, he'll sound like even more fun when he settles down. :)

Lois said...

Aww, so sorry to hear about your old friend, but yeah to the new addition! :) I also have a kitty, a little old lady (12, 13ish) named Kitty who's many types of brown and white, and she happens to be sitting on my lap right now. Of course she is just being nice because it's almost time to eat and then she's going to ignore me until later when she thinks she's going to get more food, but I do like to pretend it's because she just so loves me! :)

Lois

Nathalie said...

I don't have animals, but I love to see cats playing in the snow. They are just so cute!

Estella said...

I have 5 cat children. Nico is a 19 year old gray tiger stripe, Purrs-A-Tot is a 18 year old pure white, Callie is a 18 year old calico, Tara is a pure black 11 year old, and Bobbi is a long haired black and white, very short tailed 11 year old.

Jane said...

You're correct, Michele. Betas are aggressive. My beta was blue, but the red ones are beautiful, too.

Michele Hauf said...

Nathalie, cats in the snow. My cats don't go outside. But come snow season we do have the ritual 'toss the cat in the snowbank to see how deep it is'. I'm sure they love it. (Not.) But I get a kick out of it. ;-)

Estella, some old timers sharing your life with you!

GunDiva said...

Lois, I'm with you on the equine critters. I just got the equine love of my life this year. I bought her from the lady that my parents winter their horses with, so it's more like having joint custody...it's a win-win situation. Estes' "old" mommy raised her from a baby (she's 18 now), so wintering her with her old mommy is a win-win situation. I get to have her during the summer and Ida gets to have her during the winter...it's perfect.

lunaticcafe said...

Flyboy just reminded me that I did have a kitten for a couple of weeks when we were in high school. I kept her while I was finding a home for her because she was abandoned. She was a black and white kitten and I named her Minnie- she had 6 toes on one paw and her nose was divided so it looked like she had 2 noses. Her voice box was damaged so she couldn't meow or purr. It was more like a squeaky whine. But she was so playful and loving- I hated giving her up but I found a great home with a girl that didn't mind a quirky looking cat. Fun memory.

I want to get a puppy and a kitten but we live in an apt. so we can't... yet:)

Christine said...

Speaking of authors and cats, a bookstore in our little hometown was going out of business. (I know! A travesty of mammoth proportions.) Anyway, I was in there looking for books by you, Cindy Gerard and Diana Palmer and here comes this beautiful cat, brushing by my ankle. I guess there was no great concern for customers with allergies. Instead, the whole homeiness that she provided made me even more sad that the BookNook was closing.

Arkansas Cyndi said...

First major ((HUGS)) on the loss of your best friend. The hole in your chest will be helped by Max. I promise.

And second, I don't want to "plug" my own blog, but there is a wonder video there today for a piano-playing cat. You will love it. http://cynthiadalba.blogspot.com/

I'll be expecting a piano recital from Max in a year or so! LOL

Michele Hauf said...

With mention of the vet, I was able to get Max in this afternoon for an appointment. Seems he's got permanent teeth in and the baby teeth aren't out yet. Vet said while teeth are falling and coming in the breath is bad. He actually has double canines in the front. Kinda freaky looking! If they don't fall out in a couple months, he has to have them removed. Two more months of bad kitty breath!

Otherwise, he was very healthy, but didn't like when he had to have his temperature taken, and the thermometer ran out of power halfway through, so he had to get poked in the behind twice.

Maureen said...

We had been without animals for several years but then this past summer my husband and I decided to adopt a kitten and off to the animal shelter we went with my daughter and her friend. The girls, who are in college, were so upset at the number of kittens there that they asked if we could adopt two and my husband figured it would be just as easy to have two as one. So, all of a sudden we had two eight week old kittens and just like you wrote, they got into everything but they are so sweet and cute. I don't know what's going to happen when we put up the Christmas tree though.

Christie Ridgway said...

My newly adopted Goblin is bringing us much joy and doesn't seem to be as kittenish as your Max. And I'm thankful for that!

She did bring in a live mouse last week that she and Son 2 worked for an hour together to get out of the house. And yesterday morning it was a dead yellow-bellied finch. I feel bad about that. Goblin felt bad that I just swept it up in the dustpan and took it outside to throw away in the garbage. I apparently didn't admire it long enough.

Enjoy your new guy!

Dina said...

Very sorry to hear about your friend, pets are like family.
My dog who is 10 now has been my best friend too, she has helpd me thru very tough times, just having her here hels, even thought she drives me crazy sometimes. It's hard to me to go on vacactions, because I hae to depend on someone, but I do dread that day when she is not here for me.

Michele Hauf said...

I love the name Goblin.

And two kitties in one visit! That's a double special Xmas.

Caffey said...

Hi Michele!! I have two cats and they really know me so much, stay with me when I'm in pain or not feeling well and just so much a comfort for me! Misha, looks exactly like your cat! Even after always having a cat in my home 20 years now, I'm not familiar with breeds! But the eyes are too the same. Except Misha is huge! LOL. She's 8 years old. She was adopted from our shelter. Both our cats are indoor cats only, and Hunter had mistakenly gotten out over a month ago and we didn't think we'd get Hunter back. he's over a year old, and too was adopted. But we got the call last week from the shelter that he was found. He came back and was very wary of everyone but within 15 minutes as I laid there, he came up to my chest and laid there with me as always. I still get teary eyed. They are a big part of our family too here. I feel for your loss, as I have gone through loses Patches 3 years ago and through his memory we adopted Hunter, so it was a joy to have him back! Sorry I love to chat about them too!!

kimmyl said...

I have one black cat and he is SPOILED. He will not use the litter box and he has to go out to do his thing and never fails he has to go around 3 in the morning. But he's my daughters big baby so we put up with it.

Margie said...

So sorry to hear about your friend. They are like family. I lost a cat some years ago. It will get better with time. Your Max sounds adorable!

Deborah said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty. Max sounds like such a cutie! I love cats!

Pan Zareta said...

When I was young, I had a beagle. One night someone stole him. I never saw him again. I often wonder what happened to him. Over the years, I've had other dogs and cats, but I still remember my beagle.