As a Christmas gift almost two weeks ago now, Leilani got a cat. She has always wanted a pet, but she's never been militant about it. We've gone to pet stores and played with various dogs and cats and after asking if we could take them home, she hasn't ever transformed into meltdown mode when told no.
I have never owned a cat in my life. In the "cat versus dog person" debate, I've always come down on Team Dog. (Actually owning said dog being an entirely separate issue I should note. Walks, feedings, poop pick up... all things I can't really get behind.) Fortunately, Ruth has had cats and based on their relatively independent nature it made sense to me. I like the freedom that comes with not being tied down to an animal at home that must be tended to every few hours.
We picked up our kitten from Memphis Animal Services, the city run shelter. Unlike private shelters which can refuse animals based on space and resources, they have to take every animal that is brought in. Because of this, they are known as a "high-kill shelter." If you don't have the space, or if there are animals with truly high needs, and nobody wants to take care of them, there isn't really much you can do from an administrative standpoint. That said, if you'd like to save the life of an animal, just take one one in yourself. Also, though, the staff at the shelter was amazing. They worked with my family in helping us pick the perfect cat for us, and truly want to do the best they can for each of the animals under their care.
Before we actually had a cat, we were starting the process of laying the groundwork for one (as would be wise, perhaps). One of the things we did was ask Leilani what a good name for a cat would be and she came up with "Mr. McGregor" (of Peter Rabbit fame.) It was a brilliant name but a bit limiting on the type of cat we could select. And going into it with a 50/50 chance of it ending up well, the perfect cat for us ended up being a 6-month old female. We have tried to find a good girl name for a cat, but Leilani has merely been repeating names that we have already told her. The goal is for lighting to strike twice, and her come up with "the name." For now, however, "Mr. McGregor" is still hanging around, though it is sometimes shortened to "McGregor." Still a bit masculine. I don't call her anything, and we refer to her "Cat" probably 98% of the time.
The Cat has transitioned into our home amazingly. No joke. I was reading about all the stuff you'd need to do to keep a new cat from being overwhelmed, such as confining them to a smaller room to be a home base, or a safe zone. We started with that, but she wanted to explore everywhere and has made the whole house her home. From the first day. She plays well with both kids. Ezra's method of petting a cat is still in development, but despite this, she simply sits and let's him rub her. She doesn't pull back, whine, or swipe. Leilani carries her around when she needs to be moved, and calls out to her and she comes. Whenever I simply tap on the sofa, she immediately hops next to me for petting. She wasn't trained to do this. She just does. Maybe it's just a cat thing.
I'm still acclimating to life as a cat owner, but so far, so good.
Without further ado, here she is... the cat. Ruth took this picture last week.