Saturday, July 04, 2009

My Baby Boy Turns 5 (or 37 in Human Years)

My little Dori-Cat had a birthday on July 2, 2009 ... and he is now a 5-year-old cat. According to CatCommunity.Com, which has the most accurate (based upon my knowledge) and comprehensive cat-age calculator online, that means my little boy is now a man ... he's 37 in human years! He's the man of the house, but of course, he's always been my little King of the Jungle, as I call him.

Sometimes when we are laying on the couch languidly after a long day, and I'm stroking his ears and chin (a favorite, to be sure), I recall for him (for me?) the story of how I brought him home, how we first chose each other, how WE came to be. Most of the time, unless he is hungry, or would rather run and play, he truly seems to like the re-telling, to listen, just like I used to beg my parents to tell me their silly story of how they went to the baby store and asked for the baby with blond ringlets (not red, not brown) and green eyes (no, not that one with blue, not that one with brown). Only our story is true.

I had gotten my first apartment and my first lease. That place needed a pet! But if you can believe it, at 27 years of age, and on my own for the very first time (!), I had never, ever had a single pet before, not ever in my life ... save for a goldfish named Gorby, who lived for a long time and would come to the side of his bowl when I talked to him. But that's another tale. Dorian came into my life at a real starting point, turning point, time of change, for me. I was beginning my life as an adult, as an independent woman, whatever. He would be my partner, my baby, my little guy. But first, I had to get him home.

I went on a couple of trips to the animal shelter, because there was no question in my mind that I would adopt / rescue an animal. There was also no question that I would get a kitten, because my boyfriend was raised with them and could help teach me; plus, I had a retail job and could not be there enough for a dog's needs. There were so many adorable, fuzzy little kittens, all in cages with their litter mates. My mom came with me, despite her allergies, to see what little creature I might choose to live with me. I saw a little black one that seemed feisty to me, but my mother quickly exclaimed, "See the way he is biting his brothers' ears and pushing them away from the food! Too nasty and aggressive!" We moved on. I saw a little gray one that seemed meek but at closer examination sort of personality-less. Not a match for me :) I kept wandering along.

And our story begins. There was a large, white, beautiful, long-haired cat, with the most amazing gray and black markings on him. His little sign made by the shelter said he was named "P.B." for "Peanut Butter," and that he was 11 months old. He took up almost his whole cage, and was just sitting there plaintively. But his large, intense green eyes absolutely lit up when I stopped to see him. I pet him with a couple of fingers through the cage, mumurring that "you're a big guy, how are you," etc. I read the information on this cat: he was already de-clawed in the front, and already neutered. For a first-time pet owner, me who barely knew how to arrange for the litter box, food and toys ... might an adult cat be a good choice? I began to wander on ...

But "P.B." wouldn't let me! Before I could pass, a long, elegant white paw stuck out to block my way! His paw shoved at me until I stopped to pet him some more. I began to speak to him, and I eventually took him out of his cage to set him on the table and have a look. This one wanted me, and I took great notice of him too. I remember while I held him on the table, he sat stoically; perhaps this had happened many times before. Perhaps in his young life, many had held him, played with him, touched him, only to replace him in his cage. I learned from his paperwork that he had already had two owners and was now in the shelter waiting for someone to want an adult cat. I put P.B. back into his cage and said, "You are coming home with me. Let me tell the people who work here." I was in love.

My mom stood guard at his cage, to make sure no one showed interest in the cat that was meant to be with me. The shelter employees told me they had to do a background check and all of these things on me, and that I couldn't have my pet until two days later!! I was so hysterical. It seemed that "P.B." needed me now, and perhaps I needed him too! I made it quick ... I promised him that he was "on hold," and that on that Friday, I would come for him. I tried not to think about my big, 15-lb cat in that cage while I went home. Soon he would have a large apartment, and a mom.

Friday was WONDERFUL!!! I picked up my baby boy!!! I knew it was a great sign when the shelter ladies were all fawning over him, saying that he had "such a sweet personality" and that he was "very social" and things of that nature. This was clearly MY kind of guy! They even gave me one of their own little pet blankets to place in his cardboard carrier, for transportation home. I like to tell Dorian how I carried him, and how the cardboard box could hardly hold him, but he was very silent on the ride home, probably wary and afraid. But such a good boy. Yes, he became Dorian that day. He is simply NOT a Peanut Butter kind of guy.

Dorian also turned 1 on that day! It was his birthday!! Oh, I was so excited! I brought my box full of cat home, set it on the dining room table, while he fidgeted inside, and when his litter box was ready, I placed him in it gently (I have read that if you put a cat in his litter box first, in a new home, he will always remember it best...dunno if it's true, but my cat has never had an accident). He spent only about 3 hours hiding and cowering. By that very night, my boy was curled around my head, grooming me, nuzzling me and both of us sleeping soundly.

Oh, how I love this guy. He is beautiful, radiant, smart, curious, compassionate, all of these amazing things. We are now living in our third place since I got him, and he has adjusted with me through good and bad times. Living with a mom who has suffered some times of serious illness, he has just rolled with it, and when I am too sick to be up and about, he often lies beside me, purring and sleeping, when on a normal day he would be running about and sniffing the doorways and busy with his Cat Business. When my boyfriend's father died, Dorian almost never left Boyfriend's side. He would lie in bed beside him, stay in bed long into the morning although he surely wanted breakfast, follow him even to the bathroom. His sensitivity is beautiful, and I cherish him.

Finally, he is my little show-off entertainer, a prince. EVERYONE loves him. He has his trademark move, which is, when you come over, he drops and rolls right in the doorway, so you can't miss him. He expects that anyone entering our home will see him there and of course greet him and shower him with affection and petting. He isn't snotty, he is accomodating and welcoming to most everyone we have over. And he trusts me. If I let you in, then you're alright with him too. Curiously, I had a guy from Comcast over once (and Dori likes strangers in most cases, as well as he would like anyone else I let in the house); well, for whatever reason, Dori didn't like him one bit. He did NOT drop and roll at the door, he did not go sit by this guy waiting to be acknowledged, and instead of sniffing the man and his bags, things he always does, he sat in the hallway glaring and glowering, and generally gave him a wide berth. I took a cue from my guy and made sure the front door was unlocked and I stayed pretty clear of him too. He probably was a criminal.

Well, this is a long post, because it's a love story. I think anyone who has a pet or has loved an animal knows just what it's like, although every tale is unique. I never knew before my adult life what it was like to have a pet with me. Now I cannot imagine life without him. He goes where I go, and whatever he needs, I will get for him in life. And what he WANTS too :) He's spoiled but humble.

Happy Birthday, Little Man. As I tell him all the time, "You're Momma's Heart."


Girlbert said...

What a great story! I have raised many cats from kittenhood, but I think those who have come into my life as adults have a heightened sense of gratitude. They just know, and it's a powerful connection, like they picked YOU. So if you realize that, you're thankful back, they're more mutual love than you know what to do with! It's amazing. Just like Truly showed up when she did, a week after my diagnosis, the day before Mother's Day - right when I really needed her.

Thanks for sharing, Tanya - you've made my heart bigger this morning. I'm going to go hug my cat now....

TOM said...

Great story, lucky cat (-:

Big Al said...