Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How We Became a Cat House

You could say it started with the mice. I lived in this house for I think about three years before they started showing up, running around like they owned the place, staring at me while I was trying to watch TV, sitting in the dog's food dish chowing like there was no tomorrow and leaving gross mouse deposits in my expensive stoneware under the stove. Our ferrets seemed to deter them a little, but this tactic only seemed to work consistently at the back of the house where the ferrets actually live. The kitchen and living room, not so much. Traps? Yeah. One week I caught seven mice. Then they started just eating the peanut butter out of the traps and going on their merry way. It was like I'd wipe out one generation only to have them breed up the next generation better, stronger, faster, and addicted to peanut butter. Natural repellant worked for a while, too. But when I replenished that, it seemed to lose its effectiveness. This generation has added the characteristic of enjoying the scent of very strong balsam pine.

So for the last few weeks, every night between about 7:30 and 9:00, this mouse would run across the kitchen floor, plant himself in the dog food dish, have dinner, then run off. I killed him once. Another mouse came back and did the same exact thing. The dog would sit next to me and watch. Seriously. This is the most useless dog known to man when it comes to pest control. Okay, once she smooshed a spider. Give her props for that.

Everybody kept telling me to get a cat. And I kept saying no, I can't get a cat. I'm allergic. Cats make me miserable. It s a valid reason. But damn, the mice.
So I started doing some research. A few breeds of cat produce less of the enzyme in their saliva that causes cat-specific allergies. One of these is the Siberian cat. Another is the Russian blue. I looked at Devon and Cornish Rexes. My sister, who also has cat allergies, had a Cornish Rex or two. But I didn't really want to hunt up a breeder, spend a ton of money, and, most importantly, miss the opportunity to rescue a cat that might otherwise end up euthanized.

Next step--allergy testing. My daughter was off visiting a friend, and I needed to go pick her up that day, so I took a Claritin in the morning and planned to make a side trip to PetSmart to find a kitty and cuddle it and pet it and call it George and see how the Claritin held up.

My daughter kept delaying. Apparently they were lounging around the house watching Star Trek and Firefly. I couldn't really condemn that behavior. But what I'd anticipated as a lunch trip turned into dinner time.

Eventually I made it to PetSmart. And there, in their larger cage, was a passel of kittens. One was sitting near the back, a little gray girl with green eyes. She looked straight at me and blinked. And I went oh, shit.

I think we all know how this story ends. We've all been there. We take home the cat we know we probably shouldn't take home. We name it Pond, then Storm, then argue that neither one is quite right. But here's the kicker--the cat had arrived at PetSmart an hour before I walked in. If my daughter hadn't been forced to consume geekery, I never would have seen the cat at all. And, as my daughter and I looked over the cat's records, we discovered she'd been fostered by a friend of the friend who had force-fed said geekery. It was one too many coincidences for me.

So here I sit, typing this blog post on my iPad while Stormy-Pond (sorry--my daughter says it's more properly "Stormageddon Sharknado") tries to attack the iPad. She keeps missing and biting my knee instead. The dog is sitting in the living room wondering what the hell is going on. And I'm praying to the gods of allergies that the Claritin and the Zyrtec hold up, because damn, this cat is adorable.


Karen said...

Katriena- She is Beautiful! And congratulations on the head start on ridding yourself of the mice.
We had never had an indoor cat before, either, till we adopted a Russian Blue. I have never been happier. Mine has a little white tuxedo shirt on front. Will warn you that they are very social, but also seem to pick 'a person' that they feel they must 'shadow'. Enjoy that. It's comical.