Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Unexpected Acquisition of Tipi and Tuck

When I lived in New York City four years ago, I didn’t have a huge apartment, so the only occupants that could live comfortably inside my rather meak quarters were me and my two cats. And even that was pushing it. (Thank God, the trash room was very close to my apartment door, as the cat box required frequent cleanings.)

Anyway, now that I live in a much larger house in the suburbs, I thought it might be fun to expand my collection of cats beyond the standard two. And since I’d always gotten my kittens from a rescue agency, I decided this time would be no exception. So with pen and pad in hand, I began perusing Google for the names of local rescue agencies that might have some kittens for adoption. And to my surprise, the procedure for acquiring an animal had gotten much more complex. There were legal papers you had to sign, and certain rules you had to follow, along with a background inspection of your veterinary records.

Who knew rescuing a kitten would require all this paperwork? I mean, I understand why they’re doing it--- they’re trying to protect the animals from people who might want to use them for less-than-ethical reasons. But the whole process made me feel like I was being punished for something before I committed a crime.

Nevertheless, I found an ad on Craig’s List that advertised for a Rescue Service that was having a big pet adoption fair on New Year’s Eve weekend from 1 to 4. So with my paperwork all filled out, I drove the forty-five minutes it took to get to the special facility, only to find out that the times for adoption were listed incorrectly in the paper. Apparently you had to have your kitten all picked out by three o’clock in order to get through all the processing by 4. And even though it didn’t list those particular requirements in the paper, and I happened to get to the agency at 2:50, I was not able to adopt a pet. And to add insult to injury, the women behind the desk made no apology for the mistake in the paper, nor did they seem to care that I drove out of my way to help them provide a nice home for one of their animals.

Disappointed that I wasn’t able to get my “instant kitten,” I went home and searched the Internet again for some shelter that was having open adoptions that weekend. Luckily, there were two in my area that held weekly adoptions on Saturdays at the local pet stores. (Pet Stores apparently no longer sell cats or dogs…they only provide food and accessories for them.) So on Saturday morning, I drove to the first pet store to find my two cats a new companion. But apparently, kittens were a scarcity at this shelter, as they only had mature cats up for adoption that day. And though my heart went out to all those homeless animals, I really had my heart set on a kitten, as I thought a kitten would be much easier to introduce into my current clan than a mature cat.

So off to the next pet store I went, only to find the same sort of situation. There were only mature cats available. And though I looked through the various options, and even played with a few, I still felt a kitten would be my best choice. Luckily one of the girls who worked for the rescue told me that Sunday was the day when most of the kittens were brought in for adoption, while Saturday was mostly for mature cats. Not sure why that was, unless there’s some sort of mass pilgrimage to the pet store after Church every Sunday.

Anyway, I decided to come back the next day to see what kittens might be available, although by this time I was already less than positive about what I might find. That was, until I saw Tipi (not her original name, by the way). And even though I was really looking for a male cat (as I’ve always found them to be much more affectionate), this little girl caught my eye…mainly because of her unusual multi-colored coat. She also had two brothers with her, one black and one grey, but her personality won me over immediately. And as soon as I got her home, I knew I’d made the right choice. She wasn’t upset to be in a new home, and didn’t seem to care that she was no longer surrounded by siblings. In fact, she took to her new surroundings immediately.

One day, while she was purring in my lap, I decided to do some research on her unusual markings, which looked like marble to me. As I was surfing, I came across a website that sold pure breed cats known as Bengals. They are a cross between a Tabby and a wild Asian Leopard Cat, and as you’d expect, many look like little leopards. Some have the famous leopard spots, but some are more marble colored, like Tippy was. As I began finding more and more information about Bengals, I became fascinated not only with their beautiful composition, but also how similar they seemed to the cat I’d just gotten from the local rescue.

To make a long story short, I decided for the first time in my life to purchase a pure breed cat. (Or a pure breed anything, for that matter. No longer will I only be associated with Mutts.) But I didn’t want to get it from a cat farm or puppy mill, or anyone who worked for such a place (even though those animals deserve to be rescued just as much as any other). After some searching and numerous phone calls, I found a breeder that was two hours away who’d had a litter of Bengal kittens with a golden male that was ready for adoption. She had great credentials and raised all the animals in her home, which made me feel like they would probably be somewhat better adjusted to domestic life than a cat born on the streets.

So I made the trip and fell in love with Tuck right away. (Again, not the name given to him by the owner.) And when I brought him home, he and Tipi hit it off right away. And since she was already a month older than he was, she became like his big sister, showing him all the ropes as well as teaching him to groom and wrestle fairly. Luckily, I have caught a lot of these interactions on film, so they will definitely be featured in future episodes of “Cat Clips.” For now, I am just enjoying my happy little zoo.

But that’s just me. Have you ever adopted or purchased an animal before, and how did you feel about the two options?


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

What a delightful story. Now when the videos appear I'll know how all this came together.

We always adopt our babies. We just can't save all of them although we would like too. I'm glad you are enjoying your zoo.

Have a terrific weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

Our last 4 cats were all shelter cats - indeed BB came from a Petsmart sponsored shelter. Prior to that I had bought all my cats, they were all Siamese from breeders. There was this pet store on 2nd Avenue (in Manhattan) owned by 2 crazy British ladies - I got Bratty there - the Siamese I had were never show material, but they were pure-bred Siamese - now we have a brown stripped tabby, an orange tabby and a big honking gray cat that has fur like a Persian and a face like as fox, and tufted ears - he was found under a car in front of the Holiday Inn in Arlington Virginia! ...If you are attracted to a certain breed your best bet is a breeder, other wise a mutt (can cats be called mutts?) from a GOOD shelter is the way to go...we always adopt the misfits no one else wants...

Amy Lilley Designs said...

4 cats...I'm jealous..I would love another to add to our 2, but my husband, not so much. We got Big Kitty (the black one) from North Shore on Long Island when he was 4 months old...and went thru similar steps...but it was 11 years ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy on the details...but, I do remember that they even paid us an 'unannounced' visit one afternoon! Little Kitty was purchased from Nt'l Pet, here in RI...enjoy the mayhem of the new kitties...they are so delicious as kittens...very, very pretty as well...girl cats are really much, much'll see...:))))

Daisy said...

I was just going to say that I thought those markings looked like a Bengal. I came from a Devon Rex breeder, and my brother Harley came from a no-kill cat shelter. Of course, my Mommie has been a volunteer at the shelter for a couple years now, so she knew just which cat to pick. Congratulations on the beautiful additions to your family.

Maureen said...

AWwwwwwww.... what a couple of cuties!!! They are beautiful! I have three cats; one was an adoption from a friend, two were from the States, but not purebreds. Our youngest is a Ragdoll.... a breed I always wanted to have. We fostered, then adopted our dog from the Human Society.

Have fun, fun, fun with the new little ones!!!

Prana said...

oh... it's funny,

Henson Ray said...

Sandee--It's very hard to see all the animals that need homes, but you're right, you can't help them all. But hopefully, there will always be people who want to adopt.

Broadway Matron--I never considered paying for a pure breed before, so I felt a little over indulgent with the purchase. But you're right...if you are attracted to a certain type of cat, the best way to get it is through a qualified breeder. Or even a rescue shelter that specializes is special breeds.

Amy--I've had a female cat before, and she seemed to take the role of protector for the male cat, even giving him her food. But Tipi is such a good big sister to little Tuck that it's almost as if they were from the same litter. Tuck follows her around constantly, and I always find them sleeping on top of each other. They are so incredibly cute.

Daisy--Your mommy is very lucky to see all those animals, and find wonderful homes for them. It must be hard for her, though, as I'm sure she would love to bring home a new one every other week.

Maureen---Thanks. They are amazing to watch. Especially Tuck, who walks like a little man...such a different gait than a normal cat. The upcoming videos in February will begin to feature him.

Prana--Thanks for stopping by.