10-23-08 – Kara

So, the story of Kara coming back to live with us is a pretty straightforward one. When I took her to the pet store two weeks ago today, I hated leaving her there, hated it more than I’ve hated leaving any cats there in a long time. I hoped and prayed that someone would take one look at her and fall in love and adopt her, and she’d go off to be pampered and live in luxury for the rest of her life, the end.

Except that I kept waiting to hear that she’d been adopted, and she wasn’t… and she wasn’t… and she wasn’t. And then I went to the pet store last Thursday and she gave me the big dark eyes and when I took her out of her cage she clung to me. She hissed at the other cats and she didn’t want any of them around her, she just wanted me to hold and pet her. It was really hard to leave her there last Thursday, but I just KNEW she’d be adopted over the weekend.

Then on Sunday, Fred and I were talking for the umpteenth time about how we need a dog to watch over the chickens (his opinion, not mine), and he said “We could get goats and a dog, and I’d let you get Kara!”

(For the record, whenever I type in that we called her “Kara”, you should probably know that what we really said was “Upstairs Mama” or “Mama”, but in the interest of not confusing Kara with Maxi (“Outside Mama”), I call them by their proper names.)

I talked him down about the dog and the goats for perhaps the zillionth time (DO NOT WANT A DOG. DO NOT WANT GOATS. PERIOD.), and then later, something clicked in my mind and I said, oh-so-very-casually, “So you’re saying you want to adopt Kara?”

Fred wasn’t fooled. He wanted me to go get her right then and there. He’ll tell you that he “let” me get Kara, but the truth is that he always loves the female cats with the intense eyes and I’d say that he probably wanted her even more than I did.

“She could protect you at night!” he said gleefully. Over the past couple of nights, apparently realizing that Kara was no longer around to rule the upstairs with an iron paw, Miz Poo and Mister Boogers had taken to sleeping with me again, and unlike Kara (who would occasionally check on me, but spend most of the night at my feet, sleeping quietly and not tromping all over me like they do), they were waking me up many times a night with the tromping and the hissing and growling at each other.

I put him off on Sunday, telling him that if she didn’t get adopted by Thursday, my regular stint at the pet store, I’d bring her home with me.

Tuesday, I sent an email to the shelter manager, so very casually asking if anyone had shown any interest in adopting Kara. She said that as far as she knew, no one had, and I told her that if Kara was still there on Thursday, we wanted to adopt her, and she said that sounded good to her.

I made the mistake of calling Fred to tell him that no one had inquired about Kara, and he started up the “Go get her! Go get her! Go get her!” harassment. I was determined, though, that we’d wait until Thursday. And then I allowed that IF she wasn’t adopted Tuesday night and IF it was okay with shelter manager, it’d be okay with me if he stopped and picked Kara up on his way home Wednesday.

The harassment continued, with Fred pointing out that it was dumb to leave her there for another two nights and “She’ll forget us by Thursday! She won’t feel like she’s come home!” and so forth. I held strong and finally told him to hush up, and thought I’d heard the last of that, at least for the time being.

Tuesday afternoon, I was upstairs in the kitten room hanging out with the kittens, which is where I usually am when Fred gets home from work. I heard him come upstairs, and then he called to me.

“Are you coming in?” I asked, because he usually comes in to greet the kittens.

“No,” he said.

“What?” I said. “Why not?”

“Well… okay…” he said, and opened the door. And Kara leapt out of his arms, ran into the room, and saw the kittens. They hissed at her, she hissed at them, and then she ran back out.

It wasn’t until that moment that I realized just how much I’d missed having her around. Fred and I sat and talked to her, and she checked out the upstairs, and then we led her downstairs. I fully expected the other cats to hiss and growl at her, but every one of them looked at her as if to say “Oh, you’re back? I wondered where you were!” and went about their business.

She obviously remembers being here before, because she immediately took up hanging out in her favorite places – my bed, the window in the computer room, atop the washer in the laundry room – and the best part was that at night she settles down at the end of the bed, and I sleep like a charm.

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We’re planning to rename her. Kara is a pretty name, but now that I know her, I want something a little more fitting. Fred has suggested Serendipity, with the nickname Sara, and I kind of like that. He’s suggested Annie, too, which I like too. At night we lay in bed and throw out names, even though we know in the end, chances are good we’ll keep on calling her Mama.

I suggested Mother McGee, which Fred didn’t like. He suggested Cat Sass, and I countered with Momma Sass. Mother Abigail? Maybe. Last night I suggested Miss Jingles (the mouse in The Green Mile was called Mr. Jingles), and when Fred and I went through our political names phase (“Hilary?” “No.” “Kara-boo Barbie?” “No.” “John McCain?” “I THINK NOT.”) I came up with Omama, and Fred countered with O’Mama.

Other names that have been suggested and discarded:

Cornbread (I don’t know why Fred thinks this is so funny, but he laughs himself into a coughing fit when he talks about it)
Weezy
Ouisa Boudreau
Delilah Magoo
Dierdre the Mad
Annie Wilkes
Stormy Llewellyn
Ma Kent
Moll Flanders
Octavia
Livia
Delilah

Sassy McGee is in the running. We both kind of like Ellie-Belly (which is what we called the last sweet brown tabby we had, back at the end of last year, beginning of this). I suggested names that shows she’s the cat in charge of making sure everyone behaves – Officer McGee, for one (yes, the last name “McGee” for a cat makes me laugh for some reason). Sheriff McGee. This morning I said “We should just call her “The Law”, since she’s the law ’round these parts.”

I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll come up with something that strikes us as just right and when we do, I’ll be sure to let you know!

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The monkeys are going to be spayed and neutered next Tuesday. I’m hoping that they don’t freak out too much (I’m sure they will, though, ’cause that’s just the way it is with skittish little monkeys) and that they forgive me for carting them off to the scary place.

Delmar is just the sweetest little lovebug. When his sister and brother have gotten enough love and go off to play (or nap), he flops down across my arm and purrs and falls asleep while I lay there and read. Yesterday he climbed up on my stomach and rolled around while I rubbed his tummy, and he got so happy he rolled right off me, and I swear he grinned up at me.

I know I say this about all our foster cats, but these guys? SO SWEET. They have the softest, silkiest fur and are so healthy looking. So many fosters have to have goop put in their eyes or be treated for one ailment or another from living outside that when we have a set of fosters who are in such good shape, it’s really kind of nice!

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Of all the feather toys we have, they prefer the stick that used to have feathers sticking out the end (until previous foster kittens yanked them off) the most.

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Claudette in the sun. I love that little white blotch by her mouth. LOVE IT.

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Previously
2007: “Hey! Where ya goin’? Can I go too?”
2006: Momma Kitty thinks you are acting very suspiciously and if you make any sudden moves, she WILL kick your butt.
2005: No entry.

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