Thursday, December 06, 2012


It was high time for a buddy.

My friend LA biffed off to Europe earlier this fall and left her fluffy, neurotic, Siamese-Persian cat Tiki in my care for 5 or 6 weeks. Tiki is one of those "love on my terms only" kind of cats and I'm totally down with that, though sometimes you just wish she would come cuddle you already, damnit. We made lots of progress in our relationship while she was at my apartment, and not coincidentally I also progressed into thinking "it is time to get a cat." After she was gone I found myself just slightly deflated every time I walked into the place. No little buddy coming out to greet me. No conversations carried out entirely in meows. No one tear-assing from one end of the apartment to the other. (A fluffy cat in full gallop on a hardwood floor is very hilarious.)

So I started looking at Petfinder cat profiles, the way you do if you're a single internet-dependent cat lady. If you're like me you also occasionally sit there weeping over the profiles about all the kitty hard knocks and dumpees, waifs and strays, and pictures of cats who have bonded and must be adopted in pairs. They're lying there in donut beds with their paws around each other. Then you fantasize about starting a cat ranch for all of them.

Anyway, there were a few profiles I kept coming back to over the next few weeks and one I even bookmarked and would look at repeatedly, and then during the Thanksgiving break I took a deep breath and went to the rescue place to visit the cats. We have a great volunteer-run no-kill shelter here, where incidentally someone is having a very good time writing extensive Petfinder profiles in the voice of each cat. You can just stop in during their regular hours to pet cats, if that's all you want to do or are able to do. You walk in and all of these cats gaze at you. The ones who have made themselves the greeting committee run up to you to say hello.

I ended up putting in an application to adopt a cat that first day I visited. She was a little but full-grown kitty with a fluffy tail and wild whiskers. Her name was unfortunately Celine. She wasn't one of the ones I'd been interested in before visiting, and after I went home and looked at her profile I remembered why: it was all about how much she likes to jump high and how energetic she is. Even before I looked at her listing again, I was having a moderate internal flip-out about whether I picked the right cat. Let it be said, I obviously love cats, so I could have taken any one of those cats home and it would have worked out fine. Still, I was wanting a more grown-up, sedate cat. Maybe one who wouldn't come into my bedroom at night, jump on the dresser, and start knocking jewelry on the floor. And I'd seen the cats at the end of a long and busy Saturday shift with lots of visitors. They were tired and not very interactive, and this little Celine had jumped into my lap. I thought maybe I'd gotten suckered by that--it's a little irresistible to feel chosen.

So I mulled and stewed and went back on the following Tuesday to visit the cats again and I changed my request. I asked for the cat whose little profile I'd bookmarked. Here's her profile pic. She was called Butter Pecan. She'd been dumped at the shelter with 3 other cats, and had been there since August.

I picked her up last Friday and  I gotta admit, when I first put her carrier into my car and got in myself and closed the door I started to cry. I mean I basically just entered a LTR with an animal. It's a big deal.

(That was in the car, on the way home.)

And this girl has been a dreamboat, especially considering the very first thing I had to do was take her to the vet and get her a rabies jab (landlord requirement). She was a sweetpea at the vet, complained only slightly in the car (and incidentally her stock meow is hilariously almost soundless), and when I let her out into my apartment she just walked around smelling everything and purring. She almost immediately found all the good cat perches in my place, found the food and water and sampled both, and used the litterbox like a champ.

She's inquisitive but not destructive, playful but not bite-y, and the "spicy" aspects of her personality--this was the rescue volunteer's word--have not been in evidence, except for a few little mini-growls when she hears someone thumping up or down the stairs or sees a dog outside. She sleeps in my bed all night without making a peep, she trots over when I call her, she lets me groom her eye gunk and brush her butt fur (essential when a cat has a fluffy butt), and she follows me from room to room.

I named her Winifred B. Snuffles. I know, I'm a huge dork. It took me a few days to figure out that her name is Winifred. Winnie is the official short name, but obviously I call her about 100 different things in a day. It's a wonder any animal ever learns to respond to its name.

The B will just stand for whatever I need it to. Buffy, or Buffalo Butt, or Buddy, or Blondeen, or Bananas, or whatever. Snuffles is the most literal part of her name. She heaves sighs out her nose like a dog. She's a little grunty and snorty. Sometimes she snores when she's napping. She's a snufflepig.

So yeah, I totally love this cat. This morning she'd hopped out of bed sometime before my alarm went off, so when it went off and I officially had to wake up, I called to her and she trotted into my room, hopped up on my chest, and rolled around purring until I could no longer put off my day.

I'd been spending my off evenings embroidering, drinking tea, and streaming TV on my laptop anyway. Now I have a purring buddy next to me on the couch, so I am well and truly on my way to being an old lady.