January 16, 1999 –
The house was dreadfully empty after IrisCat’s death on Christmas Eve, 1998, but I needed a little time to mourn. Still, the talk with my friends online was not of if, but rather when, another cat would join us. Someone suggested that all the catspirits were out there fighting over who would get me next. Four other people separately chimed in and said, no, the fight’s already settled, Julia’s cat is out there waiting for her.
From a pragmatic point of view, I thought that the long Martin Luther King weekend would be a good time to bring another cat into the household. We would have a couple of days to get acquainted and settle down together. I knew, sort of, who I was looking for — a fairly young adult cat, not a kitten, and one from one of the local adoption agencies or shelters. I also was sure that I’d know the right cat when I saw him/her. Our local Petsmart stores make their facilities available to area rescue groups, so I knew I’d start there.
Friday night’s visit to Kennesaw yielded some nice cats, but not My Cat. Likewise our first two stops on Saturday were fruitless. It was getting late in the day when we stopped at the Alpharetta Petsmart, where Good Mews Animal Foundation was set up.
After filling out an application and being approved as a prospective Cat Companion, I went into the adoption room. Two cats were already checking out their prospective new humans, so I looked around at the others. Buster, a gray Persian with green eyes, caught my eye immediately, even though I quickly knew he wasn’t My Cat. None of the others struck a spark, and I was about to leave in dejection when I realized that there was another cat in the top row, overhead where I couldn’t see.
I asked “What about Sarah?” The attendant said oh, she’s new and a bit shy, this is her first day out for adoption, as he climbed the stepladder and brought her out. A lovely medium-haired solid black cat with gold eyes peered at me from his arms.
Yes, we both said.
Sarah had originally grown up in a house with rambunctious kids and large dogs, then had been dumped at a veterinarian’s office where she spent several months as the Office Cat. Neither position suited her well, being a bit high-strung to say the least. She had just been spayed a few days before and turned over to Good Mews for adoption. At a year and a half old, she was ready to settle down into a permanent home.
The paperwork finished, the cat carrier was retrieved from the car, and SarahCat came home.
If Iris was a “dumb blond” cat, Sarah is the antithesis. Thank the Lady that they have been very different cats, so that I have not been tempted to compare them. They do share the same love of remote hiding places (well, don’t most cats?), the same dislike of traveling, and the same ability to shed all over. Sarah, at least, loves being combed and will roll around revelling in it as you try to run a comb through her fur. Sarah shares Iris’s interest in my weaving studio, and frequently climbs up and around on the looms, even as I am working. On the other hand, Sarah, not being declawed, is much more of a jumper, and can frequently be found atop tables and up on shelves. Before we moved in December, 2001, her favorite perch in decent weather was in the (open) bathroom window watching the birds and squirrels outside.
Unfortunately, Sarah’s dislike of traveling was severely put to the test in November and December, 2001, when I separated from my husband. Though she might have been better off staying put until I got settled, I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t be neglected, or worse. So she came with me the night I walked out. We spent two nights that week, plus the following workweek, with my friend Elaine. It wasn’t a problem for me, but Chester (Elaine’s cat) and Sarah took an instant dislike to one another. This meant that, except for an hour or so in the evening, she was locked up in Elaine’s downstairs bathroom (it was, after all, Chester’s house). At least she could have the bathroom window there open for fresh air and entertainment.
On the weekends, she and I drove the 45 minutes to my parents’ house in Kennesaw. There, she at least had a whole bedroom plus bathroom to herself, with a marvelous window seat perfect for a cat perch. She proved no fonder of my parents’ cat Spook than she had of Chester, though Spook, with her usual lofty disdain, simply glared at Sarah as if to say”what’s your problem, bitch?” everytime Sarah caught sight of her and hissed.
Finally, after almost two weeks of laying our weary heads wherever we could find a room, we moved into our new, albeit temporary, home. This place has lots of neat nooks and crannies for Sarah to explore. The railing between dining and living room has perfectly cat-sized spacing so that she can come and go between rooms as she pleases; the upstairs railing overlooking the living room allows her to supervise the goings-on from on high. Her cat stand has found a home in the little nook upstairs by the stairwell, where she has the perfect view out the window into the trees. From these vantage points she can say she is truly the queen of all she surveys!
Update: April, 2005
Two years ago Sarah and I moved into our very own place, a condo with an enclosed patio to provide a safe outdoor haven for us. From there, she supervises our lives and the neighborhood. She additionally served as my “barometer” as I started dating again — no man that couldn’t pass the “Sarah Test” was going to become a part of our lives! One man did, indeed, pass, and she has since become a real “Daddy’s cat.”