Sunday, June 27 2010
Last night Sarah had been saying unusually kind things about Wilma, our most problematic cat. For those not keeping track, Wilma is the grey cat that Gretchen and I adopted from a dubious private animal shelter back in late September of 2006 (we got her and Marie, aka "the Baby" from that same place at the same time). Wilma has never gotten along with any of our other critters (though she has learned to tolerate the dogs and Clarence the cat), and for this reason Gretchen went through a phase a year or so ago of trying to find Wilma another home. But there were no takers, perhaps partly because of a funky untreatable ear infection that occasionally makes Wilma smell like the last of her nine lives ended a couple weeks ago. But Sarah has been in the market for an adult or possibly-geriatric cat, and, not having any other critters, her apartment might just be ideal for Wilma. She is the only cat I've ever known who has no desire to go outside at all. She likes to go out onto decks, but seems to have an aversion to the unimproved surface of the Earth. She also doesn't like to go up or down stairs, though she will go upstairs to our bedroom and teevee room for brief periods in the warm months of the year.
This morning, as Sarah's interest in Wilma grew, Gretchen decided to root around in Wilma's paperwork to see what had been written about her. Somewhat surprisingly, it turned out that Wilma is now 13 years old, having been spayed in 1997. That was rather older than we'd expected. There was also a paragraph about how she'd come to spend two years at the dubious shelter where we'd found her. It seems Wilma had been living with a woman having two other cats and, since there was only one bedroom, there wasn't the sort of room we have in our house (three of our five cats mostly stay upstairs). So Wilma fought with the other cats constantly, and there wasn't room for them to retreat. And that was how Wilma ended up dumped off at a shelter. Like people, some cats just don't know how to play their cards. With cats, though, the death penalty tends to be an ever-looming threat endurable only to the extent that cats do not think about death.
In the end Sarah decided to take Wilma with her back to her apartment in the city when she and Ray left today. (Ostensibly this was a "trial" adoption, but we all know how that usually goes.) So Gretchen put together all the things Sarah would need to get started, a veritable shelter cat adoption kit. This included cans of Wilma's not-so-favorite vegan wet food, a litter box full of World's Best Cat Litter, a pooper scooper, a toy mouse covered with moss ("the mossy mouse"), and even a set of claw clippers. Wilma herself was packed into a cat carrier just before Sarah and Ray hit the road. And then they were gone, and for the first time in three point seven five years, our household experienced a change in its domestic critter population. Though Wilma had often been cantankerous and not especially endearing, she has an affectionate side and loves a warm lap. So both Gretchen and I were a bit conflicted about her going. Though she'd tried to rehome Wilma in the past and knew her going was for the best, Gretchen was surprisingly sad about it. Gretchen had spent more time in Wilma's first floor habitat than I had, and this meant they had more history together. For example, they had often shared the chair or the desk when Gretchen had been using the computer in the first floor office.
As for the other critters of the household, none of them seemed to have any ah-hah realizations of Wilma's absence. There were no celebrations of "ding dong the witch is dead." I carried Sylvia around the first floor hoping she'd realize that Wilma was no longer an evil oppressor in her life, and though Sylvia looked around to try to see where Wilma was lurking, she didn't really trust that Wilma was truely gone. So when I put Sylvia down, she immediately fled upstairs, away from Wilma's traditional habitat.
Gretchen immediately began an online search for Wilma's replacement, paying special attention to whether or not various prospects get along with other cats and dogs.
At some point today, I noticed that the hydrangea I'd just planted near the road had been devastated (but not killed) by deer. I'd had no idea deer were so fond of it; they'd been ignoring all the other recent plantings (lilacs, spirea, and White Pines). So I dug up the poor hydrangea and put it back in a pot, which I put next to the house. The dogs keep deer away from the house; without them it seems the vegetation there would be entirely different.
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