Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Of all the shelters in all the towns in all the world...

I've pondered the question over the years whether I would adopt other cats after my trio (or any of the trio) died. With Grendel's cancer and death, the question became more acute.

My trio, Grendel, Rhiannon, and Maebh, have been such an intimate part of my daily existence for 10 years (or 9½ considering that Maebh came six months after I adopted Rhiannon) that I could never imagine any other pet situation than them. I figured at first that I would wait until all had died before I reconsidered a new cat (or cats). Then, after Grendel died, I figured I would wait a few months at least.

But like the serendipity of adopting Grendel, it seems that destiny took a hand.

I adopted Grendel from PAWS Cat City in Seattle in 2006. I went to their website to look for information about sponsoring a cat kennel in Grendel's honor. While there, I looked at the adoptable cats (as one must). There I saw a familiar-ish face. One of the cats was a 2 year old cow cat name Onyx, Jr. The face was vaguely Grendeloid, as if he were a son or younger brother. I was intrigued, even if I wasn't ready.

I wanted to stick with my idea of waiting at least a few months (or not adopting at all). I thought the girls might bond better if there were just the two. I wondered too if my career as a standard-issue bipedal humanoid cat-minder unit was on the wane and I should just let it run out. (But then I'd have to rename my blog I Lived with Cats.)

I halfheartedly decided to go down to Seattle on Saturday and take a look at Onyx, Jr. He sounded nice from the description on the website and I wanted to see him, even though I figured he may not even be there when I came.

After mass on Saturday, I stopped by for a bite of breakfast at Alexa's Cafe in Bothell, WA. The shelter didn't open until 11:00 and I had time to kill. While there, a friend of mine from the parish showed up unexpectedly and we ate breakfast together. She commented on Grendel's death and mentioned  her own cats. I didn't know she was a cat person until then. I told her about my intentions and misgivings about adopting again so soon. She provided just enough encouragement to get me to the shelter.

I was not disappointed. Onyx, Jr. was there, but before I could visit with any cat, I had to fill out a form and be interviewed by a shelter volunteer. I told the volunteer about Grendel (and cried), and about my remaining two. Apparently, they found me worthy.

Onyx, Jr. turned out to be a sweet cat. I found him lounging comfortably with a few of his fellow felines in one of the small cat rooms. It was hard. I found myself wanting to take him home, but still conflicted. I wasn't sure how the girls would react to a newcomer, I wasn't sure if I was ready for a new cat, I felt that adopting so soon after Grendel's death might be either a betrayal of him or an impetuous action resulting from my grief (Onyx, Jr. looked so much like Grendel).

I asked if they would put a 24-hour hold on him while I made up my mind. They would and I arranged to return early Sunday afternoon.

I went home and started sort-of preparing my den to be where he'd be isolated from gen-pop while he acclimated to the new home. I was still just 80% sure about this. I also spent a lot of time thinking it through. I was afraid that Rhiannon would go ballistic, but I was also confident that Maebh would love a new pal. She'd been such good friends with Grendel.

After mass on Sunday, I headed back down to Seattle still in my Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes. I went in to visit with Onyx, Jr. a bit more and all doubts were dispelled. He was a sweetheart and I figured that everything had come together so well that it was kismet. Just a short while later and I was headed home with a cat in a box.

I'd been sussing out a name for the new cat. I thought about sticking with a name from medieval literature. I thought about branching out to other sources and considered "Bonaparte" or "Charlemagne," but they sounded a bit hifalutin'. Finally, I decided on "Bogart." It took a few days to settle with me, but it fits him now, even if he still doesn't respond to it.

My fears about Rhiannon proved to be unfounded. While she didn't exactly welcome him, her reaction was more of cool indifference, i.e., no drama. My expectations about Maebh proved to be equally fallacious. She took one sniff of Bogart and deemed him unfit for feline companionship.

I kept him isolated for most of the first few days. Whenever he was out, Maebh would dog him growling and hissing. Her hostility made me wonder if I shouldn't have named him Cú Chulainn. She's come down a bit and Bogart's out in gen-pop now whenever I'm home, but it can still be dodgy.

Otherwise, he's settling in. He's found some favorite places, but he has yet to get cuddly with me, even though he's very affectionate. When I work at my desk upstairs, he loves to sprawl right in front of me in classic Grendel fashion.

He took to the high ground right off and I've fixed him a bed up there.

He's made a pretty thorough inspection of the house. He approves the library.

He loves the big glass door (one of Grendel's favorite places).

His full personality has yet to appear. So far, he's sweet and gentle, but Maebh's hostility has him a bit apprehensive. He loves to play. He tries to make nice with the girls, but so far without luck. He has a quiet little squeak for a meow. Once Maebh has settled down and accepted him, things will move forward. I'm looking forward to how things turn out.


  1. Great photos and a another moving post.

  2. Glad you have decided to get another cat , given time I think they will get on , we have two cats that are indifferent to each other but adore our dog (a Spaniel) . Animal relationships are as complicated as our own , Tony

  3. Great to see you have some consolation for your loss. I also combine cats and gaming..or try to.Best wishes.

  4. I think that Grendel would have approved of your decision.

    And, no, you are a cat-minder for life, please review the fine print on the contract.

  5. Good for you! Bogart looks like a wonderful addition to the family.