Last weekend Ryan and I went to a fundraiser for Purrfect Pals here in Washington. We got our three legged cat Puck from them, and love the work they do for cats in need. For the past few weeks we had been discussing the possibility of taking in another kitty, so Ryan called them last Friday to ask if they had any young special needs cats available. They told us about a deaf kitten they had for adoption, and that he would be at the fundraiser. So off we went to support their cause and check him out.
|It was pretty much love at first sight.|
And so, I'd like to introduce Lupin! Lupin and his siblings were taken in by Purrfect Pals after they were found locked in an empty apartment with no Mama, no food, and no water. Can you believe some of the monsters we share this world with?
|Who could leave this little guy behind?|
Lupin is fantastic! He is sweet, brave, and clever. He and his siblings were fostered by a lovely woman named Ruth who did a marvelous job. He came to us litter trained, weened, knowing when to use his claws (he is so gentle) and understanding a few silent cues. Because he is deaf, the silent cues are important.
He understands a sign to come to you, (an open palm low to the ground with fingers curled 2-3 times). To tell him no, we blow on his nose gently. To get his attention we stomp our foot twice (he senses the vibration). When he is sleeping we carefully pat the area around him, and then very lightly pet his shoulder and back a few times (so he doesn't get startled).
It's a different way of communicating with a cat, but after a couple of days it becomes pretty automatic.
|He can't listen, but he's all attention and he obeys.|
Elvis and Puck are a little baffled by the signs. (Except for the foot stomp. It already summons all three of them thanks to typically being followed by food). They don't understand why Lupin gets away with stealing my embroidery floss and committing other established no-no's (until I can catch up to him and blow on his nose). They are both in awe of Lupin's stalwart courage in the face of terrors like the shower (he gleefully bats at the water pounding the plastic curtain) or the vacuum cleaner (click here to see how impressed he is with the vacuum cleaner).
Puck meows all the time to get Lupin's attention, but today he also began tapping him with his paw before initiating play. Puck fell in love with the kitten the moment we let Lupin out of his box. He's been following him, snuggling him, and guarding him while he sleeps since day one.
|Puck trying to say hello to a feisty Lupin.|
|It didn't take him long to warm up to Puck.|
(Puck is that kinda guy).
|"Lupin throws his paws up in the air sometimes...".|
|True story: He slept like this for about 5 full minutes.|
Elvis was a little more hesitant about the kitten. Within ten minutes of meeting, Elvis walked up behind him and let out his best hiss while Lupin, unaware, continued to lick his tiny paw. This indifference to his prowess rattled Elvis's confidence. He spent the first night sulking on the futon, and then hissed at Duncan when he said hello.
However, when he woke up the second morning, Elvis was ready to play.
|Come up here....|
|HERE, TAKE MY PAW.|
|Second Morning. I woke up to every cat lady's fantasy:|
A hunk and a cute kitty.
|Before long Elvis loved Lupin too.|
|...He's been getting a lot of baths.|
|And learning from Elvis.|
|Come up here....|
|He loves stalking Elvis....|
|Finding his tail....|
|Playing with toys....|
|... AND STARING DOWN THE SUN.|
|He is a beautiful kitty, just the way he is.|
|Everyone is bathing a little too loudly for Elvis.|
|He sleeps very soundly....|
|Ryan holding Lupin, watching 'Over the Top'.|
|"LUPIN THROWS HIS PAWS UP IN THE AIR SOMETIMES...".|
|He likes a good stretch...|
|Watching Internet videos...|
|...And making friends.|
We're really happy to invite Lupin into our home! Census count: two humans, three cats, and five pet rats. Until we buy a house, Lupin is going to be our last new creature. Once we have a house Ryan has plans for a dog, I wouldn't mind an aquarium, and we'd like to take in a geriatric cat every few years to live out their lives in spoiled retirement.
We'd take in countless animals if we could, but here's where I stress it's crucial to have enough finances, time, and attention for each pet. A cat is a 15-20 year commitment (if you're lucky). You have to be prepared to cover vet bills for all of your creatures should they all get sick at the same time. A rat is a 1-3 year commitment, and they a have a lot of health issues. Sneezes cannot be ignored, lumps must be checked. You can do everything right, and a rat can still pass away quickly. They take a lot of self education, but are well worth the effort. And caring for animals takes a lot of effort. I spend the first half hour of every day feeding all our critters, filling water bottles/dishes and wiping down rat cages. We play with our pets throughout the day, and give them a lot of attention. I work at home, and that has factored into the amount of pets we have as well. They're not sitting in an empty room all day, being bored and getting into fights (or working together to take down all the curtains). They're being engaged and attended to. We own so many pets because we enjoy caring for animals, not just having them.
I have a friend who cooks her elderly dog homemade meals every night because they're easier for him to eat. Then there's my friend who buys baby blankets for her ferrets and rescues pit bulls. And another friend who communicates with his cat in gentle squeaks and meows because she responds more happily that way after a life of being shuttled around from person to person previously. So, there's people who abandon kittens to fend for themselves in locked apartments--but there's also these people. That's something to consider long and hard before you get a pet: Are you an asshole or a hero?
And something else to consider: A special needs pet. My Aunt Lizzie has taken in a menagerie of disabled pets over the years, and she's been our inspiration (though to be fair, Ryan was already hooked himself. Aunt Lizzie and him look over rescue websites together on their phones in restaurants when we visit). Right now she has a spunky little dog named Finnegan whose back legs have to be carried behind him in a tiny wheel cart. The shelter that took him in gave him one day before scheduling his euthanization. A special needs animal group rallied to save him, and Aunt Lizzie clamored to take him. Over the years she's had a deaf cat, a mentally disabled cat, and an amazing blind cat with cerebral palsy named Magoo I had the pleasure of knowing personally. He got around with the help of her able bodied 20 pound cat Duffy and 4 pound dog Esmeralda. Even though he was blind, he walked and played perfectly fine, feeling ahead with stiff paws. He was friendly, he was affectionate. He was, above all, a very good boy. All of her special needs pets have been great creatures. And Puck and Lupin are great too!
But you don't have to take my word for it....