Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Goodbye Kitty, 2

The Story of Pearl: Chapter Two

Rose was a sweet and gentle soul, through and through. Pearl was a capricious kitten filled with moods and whims, bouncing around one moment, cuddling the next. It was her inconsistency that made her so addictive.

Rose is The Constant

Pearl is The Variable

While I grew very close to both girls, they continued to grow—BIG. It wasn’t long before they were close to 2lbs. I seriously considered keeping Pearl, but the two sisters were pretty bonded, and three cats is a lot… I brought them to the shelter just before it closed on a Friday, so that the kittens would be up and at ‘em bright and early on Saturday morning—that way, they’d have the greatest chance of being adopted over the weekend. I said a tearful good-bye, then sat in my car in the shelter parking lot and cried. And cried. And cried.

What would become of them?? Especially Pearl. Rose was the sort of cat that I didn’t need to worry about. Her personality was easygoing, and she got along so well with other cats… Rose would be fine.

Pearl, on the other hand, was a very unique kitten. She needed lots of attention, activity and, most of all, space. I could see Pearl’s antics warming the heart of a future owner, but I could also imagine her as a destructive cat if she got bored and had nothing to do. Pearl couldn’t go to just any home. Had I made a mistake? I’d come close to keeping a foster kitten before, but never this close.

I was all worked up and in no condition to drive. And so of course, I called my mother. I shared The Story of Pearl and begged for advice. Should I adopt her? Ollie loved her, but she hen-pecked Theo… and Theo is my firstborn, so to speak, so I couldn’t forsake his happiness and ruin his life. What to do?!

My mom surprised me by offering to adopt Pearl herself! Her beloved cat Della had died in December 2008, and she was finally ready for another cat. Although Pearl was a handful, my mom said she was up for the challenge. The plan was this: I would raise Pearl as my own until Christmas, then bring her home on my flight to Michigan! I left a message for the shelter as soon as I got home and emailed my foster coordinator about Pearl.

My phone rang early the next day—it was the shelter! Was Pearl taken already? What had I done?!

Turns out, the kittens were not actually 2lbs yet. My at-home system of weighing was clearly inaccurate. I needed to come back to get them, I was told. Operation Kitten Rescue began! I hightailed it to the shelter to break them both out of Kitty Jail. It’s hard to say what the best part of their triumphant return home was; their joyful leap out of their carrier, or Theo’s look of shock and horror when he saw that they were baa-aaack.

Sisters! Doin' it for themselves.

Stay tuned to read about Pearl’s Reign, Rose’s Close Call, and more.

When CATS Attack

Leave it to my gals at Jezebel to compile a montage of feline domination, captured on film!

Click here to head over to the epic collection!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Goodbye Kitty

The Story of Pearl: Chapter One

My dear readers may recall that I traveled to Michigan for the recent holiday with a very special companion—Pearl. What I have not shared until now is this: Pearl had a one-way ticket to Michigan! Read on for The Story of Pearl, filled with a seemingly endless series of agonizing decisions, though I can assure you that this tale has a happy ending. Onward!

Goodbye Kitty. Oh, Pearl!

I love to foster kittens. LOVE IT. I used to capture them on my own [à la Sophie] but, when I moved to Northern California, I joined forces with the East Bay SPCA. This was my first experience teaming up with a shelter, and it certainly had its advantages. For example, vet costs and medicine were a non-issue because the shelter had qualified veterinarians on staff.

One of the pitfalls of working with the shelter was the short fostering periods. I had a pair of boys that were only around for about a week and a half! Hardly enough to get them socialized to my standards but, once they reach 2lbs, it’s a done deal. The EBSPCA has foster homes keep the kittens until they weigh 2lbs or more; that’s the minimum weight for spaying and neutering per their regulations, and all animals must be spayed or neutered prior to adoption. Fair enough!

Well, in early September 2009, I received a weekly email that goes out to all the fosters listing the available kittens and cats needing temporary homes. Wisely, this mewsletter does not mention the coloring or sex of the kittens. All you know going into it are their given names and ages. So, I signed up to foster Hop & Scotch, a pair of 5-week olds. I imagined two white-and-black rough-and-tumble boy cats. Imagine my surprise when Hop & Scotch turned out to be twin sisters, white gleaming fluff balls with quarter-sized gray spots on the tops of their heads, and pink little paws, and rose petal ears. I deemed Hop & Scotch to be misleading monikers… so I renamed them Pearl & Rose.

Who could resist such tiny little beings?

I immediately picked a favorite. I know this is an awful thing to do, but I just couldn’t help it. Rose was sweet and well-behaved; an angel cat. Pearl, on the other hand, was wild! Even as a baby, she was filled with personality! The first thing I noticed was that she was so busy; busy biting things, exploring, poking around… She was an evil genius. 

Even then, a spark of intelligence lit Pearl’s eye.

One of my favorite memories of Pearl takes place one evening in October, just as I came home from work. It was dark in the apartment as I entered, but I was able to see something pale and ghostly zip past me… a vaguely kitten-shaped blob. I switched on the kitchen light and recognized Pearl immediately—she would be the one to escape the kitten box first! My second thought was of Rose. Had she followed Pearl’s example? I paused, listening.

I heard the most pitiful mewing coming from the spare bathroom where the kitten box was. I ran in to check on Rose, with Pearl at my heels. Rose was worked up into a pathetic frenzy, pawing at the cardboard walls, having been abandoned by her wayward twin. I looked down at Pearl and scolded her, saying, “You wicked creature! Your poor sister! How could you?” But Pearl looked pleased with herself… and I admit, I felt proud, too. Crafty little thing. Such a scamp!

What happened to Pearl? What happened to Rose? Come back tomorrow for more.

"I can't wait for the next chapter!" said Rose.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Most Beautiful Cat in the World, Part Deux

And so, in time, the Princess Sophie grew into Queen Sophie! See her recline on her favorite chair, demanding belly rubs and NOMs from all her subjects!

The Thrice-Lovely Madame Sophie

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Most Beautiful Cat in the World

Here's a quick one for y'all.

The first thing you need to know is that I have two ultimate, favorite, beloved cat breeds: the Birman and the Somali. To each their own, but I am such a sucker for those specific cats. The fur! The colors! The eyes!!

So imagine my surprise when, a few years ago while I worked in an office made out of someone's guest house in Los Angeles (true albeit long story), what did I find but... what seemed to be... a BIRMAN KITTEN. She was just flouncing around in the back yard near the guest house. There was no question she was stray. She was dirty and skinny, ridden with fleas. I captured her and fostered her and found her the most fantastic home ever.

May I present...

Sophie, the Most Beautiful Cat in the World

This is a photo taken of her when she was a kitten, just before she went to her fur-ever home. I will post an adult photo of her tomorrow! This will be a much more pleasant before-and-after than Heidi Montag. Trust.