Today is Ziggy the cat’s twelfth birthday. He’s only been with us a year and a half, and like most cats, he’s well established in our lives.
I didn’t want to get more cats after Lucy passed at age 20. Her brother Jules had lived to 19, so I know well that this can be a very long term commitment. I also knew that I intended to spend a lot of time traveling, both in North America in my van and overseas as well. While I’ve read of some notable exceptions, it has not been my experience that cats enjoy travel in wheeled vehicles. Now, I love cats, and I like having them around the house. This presented a conundrum. My thought was to be a cat foster parent, whether of kittens or adult cats. Having the pleasure of cats when in town, providing a needed service, and then not having to be concerned for the cat’s wellbeing whilst traveling
Seemed a good idea at the time. And then, as I’ve written previously, things changed. BA had her neurological events and it became clear that travel for her would be much more complicated and far less frequent. This also meant that my occasional solo travels would be limited as well owing to her need for support. BA, being long-retired from her teaching career, is home most of the time, and with her health changes, she gets out even less often. She really missed having a cat or two about the house. She was lonely. I still went out to work, but she didn’t.
Recognizing her need, we agreed that a cat could be a good addition. I didn’t want to start again with kittens, so an older cat seemed a good idea. We checked the local humane society’s website, and they had a few older cats. Off we went. On arrival, there were a number of cats out in their display area. We wandered through, looking at who was there. Mostly younger, and a number with significant health issues, such as FIV or diabetes. I’ve had cats with both, and didn’t want to start with an ill cat. Less caretaking, rather than more has been my goal. Not seeing the older gents we’d noted on the website, we asked the attendant about them. “Oh, they are probably still in the back, I’ll go get one for you.”
So BA and I had a seat in one of the “interview” rooms. Soon, the door opened, and the young attendant entered with Ziggy in her arms. I stood up, walked towards them, and Ziggy jumped over onto me and started purring, and head butting me. In my previous experience, this is not usual behavior. Most cats are wary of strangers and take their time before allowing contact. Not so with Zig. It seemed as though he had been waiting for us. “Oh, you’re here, let’s go home.”
We didn’t pick the cat, the cat picked us. We finished up the paperwork and headed home. As mentioned, most cats don’t like cars, and Ziggy is no exception. He howled and whined all the way home. What was different was his distress at the carrier box. It was a cardboard cat carrier (I had given away my old carriers following Lucy’s demise). By the time we were home, about a 15 minute drive, he had chewed through the box and had a space big enough for his head. After a challenging first week, Ziggy has settled in well.
He’s friendly, and still likes lots of physical contact. He loves to sit on my shoulder and be carried about, like a pirate’s parrot. At bedtime, he wants to be in the bed, and likes to drape himself over a head or shoulder, or simply take over your pillow, should you get up to use the toilet. And he’s still a cat. When he’s done snuggling or whatever he’s been doing, he’s off. He’s the most physically affectionate cat I’ve ever had. He’s also unusual in that he only eats cat food. Crunchies and his one flavor of wet food, the aptly named Fussie Cat.
He likes to play, and like many cats, doesn’t tell you what it is he wants to play, he just meows in his tiny voice until you get it right. He also now, after about a year, has decided he likes catnip. Sometimes. And scratching the wool throw rugs. Scratching post, no. Special cat houses, no. Table in front of the window. Yes.
He’s a good guy, this Ziggy, even with all his quirks. Happy Birthday, Zig!
For the A to Z Blogging Challenge: Q