The Comfort of a Cat
So, people who read this know that I’m basically a crazy cat lady.
So it’s not that suprising that our kids have both chosen plush kitties for loveys. Yes, they’ve had a vast array of choices: each has piles of all kinds, sizes, colors fuzzy stuffed creatures, and yet, they each walk around with their favorite kitties. This may be my influence, or that of our two large in-your-face rescue cats… Hard to say.
Babyboy has his Kitty Cat, or K.C. for short. The original beat-up and deformed-from-the-wash K.C. disappeared a few weeks ago, prompting an all-points-bulletin, then a massive multi-property search, then a total panic from caregivers, then a rush order for a second Aurora Miyoni gray tabby plush from Amazon: New Kitty.
Well, of course, two days after New Kitty arrived, Babyboy found K.C. Hubby was home at the time and heard a jubilant shout: “Kitty Cat!” and there he was, pulled out from the smallest drawer in Babygirl’s play kitchen, which we both swear we searched several times. We suspect Babyboy had jammed K.C. really deep in that smallest drawer.
Since then, Babyboy has been much more attached to old K.C., though he carries them both with him all over the house and to bed. Old K.C. has to be there at bedtime, or we have complete drama. “KIT-TY! KIT-TY! KIT-TY!” He’ll scream, and we’ll all be throwing blankets and pillow and toys all around until he’s found.
Babygirl also has a plush kitty- or two, or three. She doesn’t have the same attachment to only one, seems, but she also cuddles with one or the other at bedtime.
Hubby and I have our emotionally needy rescue cats, always underfoot, or head-butting for pets, or wending through legs, or nibbling on ankles, or taking over the bed…
But lately, I’ve also got a whole room of shelter cats.
So, about a month ago I started looking for a fulfilling volunteer job. I tried out the food pantry, which just didn’t do it for me. I tried to try out the local animal shelter, but there were several fiascoes before I could actually get in there.
The shelter is small, cramped really, and falling apart. It’s kind of odorous, and the organization is… loose. Not very well-organized.
But, I love it.
The few people who run it are insanely devoted. The Animal Control Officer for the town is in charge, and she is basically on call 24/7 for animals. She knows, and we all know, that the building needed to be torn down and a new one built like 10 years ago. It’s a regular feature in our town paper: the roof fell in last year and there’s a mouse infestation and it’s been patched back together with chicken wire and duct tape a million times… I think the fire chief even was quoted to say the place had been “McGyvered” to the point that there’s nothing else they can do to keep it standing much longer.
A new building at a different site is in the works, thanks to a big bequeathment. And so, everyone hangs on, and the poor animals at least have a (kind of) safe, warm, dry place with food and water and crazy animal people like me to keep them clean and fed.
What’s hilarious, is that after exactly one session of volunteering, our town Animal Control Officer gave me the keys to the shelter.
We had just met, and we had a conversation about a few of the cats awaiting adoption. We were talking about cat personalities. Nutty Buddy, a big ginger Tom, hates all other cats but really is a big purry love when he’s petted. Captain Jack was a bit of a homely Tabby but had the best, most laid-back personality and would do great with a household full of kids and dogs. We chatted about a few of the other cats and where they might do well.
I mentioned to her that I’d prefer to come in the mornings, but I was worried I might beat the person with the keys, and end up waiting around.
Just like that, she rummaged around in a drawer and handed me the keys to the shelter.
I admit, I was flattered. You’d think she handed me the keys to a jewelry vault, or a stocked bakery. I felt like, really? Moi? You trust me? This is so cool!
So for the past 3 weeks, I’m the Thursday morning Cat Lady, and I clean and feed six to eight kitties. One main job is to keep them socialized, and especially to socialize the kittens: get them used to being picked up and cuddled.
Who wouldn’t want that job??? Cuddling with kittens? Are you kidding me? And there are kittens galore. Two were left outside the shelter door overnight in a sealed Tupperware, and survived. They’re a sleek and energetic grey and white pair, long and lean and purry and fun. Then there’s three that were found in a yard, a Tortie, a black and white, and a tabby, siblings with personalities as different as they look. One’s pushy, one’s shy, and the other is just right. There’s my current fave, Scarlett, a young kitty, probably 12 weeks old, a short-haired black and white, super-happy and crazy to play, climbing everything, begging to be petted and picked up, but won’t hold still for long.
They’re all adorable and lovely, and it’s such a heartwarming thing to me to be able to help take care of them until they find their homes. It doesn’t feel like work. Holding the tiny wiggly kittens against my chest, it’s like holding a little fuzzy bird, in comparison to our behemoth pets. Then they start purring and tickling your ears… It’s natural blood pressure control. You don’t get more stress-free than cuddling with a happy kitten.
And so, we all have our loveys!