Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Chosen by a Cat

My friend gave me a book to read called Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards (and, honestly, I'm still not sure I've forgiven her for that!) In the book, the main character receives a rescued horse to care for. She watches as this mare goes from a sad, skinny, mistreated animal to a healthy, glorious, beautiful creature under her care. Many things about this book reminded me of our Sunny. Or, more accurately, Levi's Sunny.

Levi had wanted a cat of his own for quite some time. Last year I told him he could have one for his birthday. About two weeks before the day we headed to the Humane Society to choose one. There were several kittens and young cats available. They have a little room where you can take the potential pets and spend some time with them to try to get to know them a little. After playing with a number of kitties, Levi chose the one who was to become Sunny. Honestly, I was angling for the little orange and white one who was beautifully marked, a few months old and looked sleek and healthy. My second choice was the year-old grey tabby female who displayed a very sweet personality. But it was Levi's choice. He picked the skinny, runty-looking little orange male with the attitude. Oh well.

We had hit Wal Mart for a wide variety of feline supplies, including a brand-new carrier, on the way to the Humane Society so were all ready to bring his new friend home. Levi was immediately in love. Sunny, not so much. Oh he was affectionate and playful, but he also displayed so many of those typical cat characteristics including accepting affection when HE decided he wanted it.

He was kind of a sad-looking little thing. He was so starved that his skin just draped loosely over his tiny, little hipbones. His head seemed over-sized compared to his skeletal figure so that he kind of resembled one of those creepy bobble-head thingies. But Levi didn't care. He thought he was beautiful. He named him Sunny, more in honor of his color than his personality.

And then Sunny got sick. Two days after bringing him home, he developed a cough. I understand that 'kennel cough' is not unusual for rescue pets like this. However, his breathing became very labored and he grew lethargic. I immediately took him to the vet and pumped a fairish sum of cash into him. He was quite an ill little kitty. One night not long after that, Steve and I were discussing how to handle it when Levi's birthday gift died on him. That's how bad he seemed. But, he was tougher than he looked and he rode it out, beat the bug and grew into a fat, healthy, beautiful cat.

Being a cat, he doesn't display the attitude of gratitude that the horse in the book did. Or maybe he does in his own way. Levi takes Sunny into his room and night and closes the door so that he stays there. Given a chance, Sunny will escape. And yet on those nights when Levi doesn't lock him in, Sunny can often be found sleeping next to Levi on the bed. Apparently if it's HIS choice, it's OK. He is, as far as he's concerned, the alpha male. Almost from the moment he entered the house he began trying to assert his dominance over the other two pets. The dog doesn't fall for it. The other cat did. He strolls about the house with the air of an aristocrat who has graced us with his presence. We often call him The Young Prince. Well, when we're calling him something polite that is. He won't voluntarily come sit in your lap, but he will at times deign to sit on the back of the couch behind you and slap you repeatedly in the back of the head with his tail. We've chosen to take this as a sign of affection. He's aloof, demanding and arrogant. But he does occasionally wrap his tail around your leg briefly as he walks past you and I think that might mean he likes us. He has free run of the house, his own jar of treats, gets the toilet flushed just for him when he's hanging over the rim wanting to watch the water swirl and more affection than he really wants. You'd think he'd be grateful. But he's not. He's a cat.

After paying the last of the vet bills, those on top of all the supplies and the adoption fee, I told Levi that his birthday gift ended up costing far more than we ever spend on each other. He agreed that was true, but also pointed out that Sunny actually ended up being a gift for the whole family.

And, really, he's right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awwwww Kitty! He's so cute!!! Rescues are the only way to go. It's sad what people do to animals that otherwise are very loving pets.

My cat Leia was a rescue that my vet asked me to look at a few months after someone stole our previous cat from our yard (and no one bothered to stop or to tell us had happened till after we put up the lost signs) She was scared outta her wits, had to have surgery on a cut and was missing a front fang but I decided to take her.

Even though she spent the first 48 hours hiding under my bed she finally came out and decided she could trust ME. I now have a lap warmer that constantly answers me with little meows and purrs when I talk to her in our studio apt. And though it's unlikely she'll ever trust another human being (she runs from everyone else but me) it's an honor to know that I'm HER human XD

So Sunny may act like he's top dog in the house :D i bet he's very grateful in his own little way for what you have done for him.