Saturday, June 1, 2013

Do we have to change our lives for you?

Those of you that know Deb and I, know that we have gone through quite a few big changes in our lives. We have gotten married, we moved in together, we moved countries, and one day, we would like to have children together.

We still appreciate our lives together as just the two of us too much to get started on that bit right now, but it seems that over the past month, we have been looking into those waters, dipping our toes, so that we start to get an idea of how cold that water can be.

On the opposite block, the corner store is a Petco, kind of like a Petbarn for you folks back home, but of course larger, as everything in America is. They sponsor "The Animal Project" an organisation run by one dedicated lady (at last count having 20+ cats in her home), its volunteers and family of fosterers. Fosterers of which now we are a part of.

Deb has always loved kittens and cats, and I've never been completely averse to the idea of having a pet, so naturally with the shelter operating so close by, it was inevitable. With our future situation in this country still highly contentious, we looked into fostering to give us the experience of owning a cat, and giving a poor homeless cat a home. So one Saturday we signed up to foster, and Sunday morning, we were hastily putting together a home for him.

 This is where you'll sleep.

This is your bathroom.

And later that afternoon, a cat had moved in.

Do you mind?

His name is Zeke, and here is the story of how he came to be with the animal shelter. The operator of the Animal Project, Carol, had a black cat, Clarence, and one day while she was at work, her neighbour called to tell her that he had escaped and was sitting outside the apartment. This kind neighbour had a key to her home, and offered to turn up late to work so that they could help bring the cat back in before going to work.
This happened while she quickly returned to make sure everything was OK, but lo and behold upon returning home, she had a strange black cat in attendance. This cat was not her Clarence, he was someone else.

Can I stay with you?

While she looked around for the owner, she had this strange cat neutered, because it's terribly irresponsible to let a male cat wander the street fathering kittens who may never be able to fend for themselves in the city. This is the reason why shelters exist. Also male cats pee everywhere and have a terrible smell, just like real bachelors, so this must have been no small hell for Carol herself.
Not too long after this cat came into her accidental adoption, she eventually found the owner, who was the superintendant of a nearby apartment block. So Carol of course, wanted to return this cat to its owner.

When she found him he was initially receptive, until she mentioned the fact that she had him neutered, the responsible course of action, and indicated that she would like to be reimbursed, as this is something he should have done all along, as its owner.

The story goes that he looked into his wallet, saw that it was empty, and offered to go downstairs into the basement of the apartment to get some cash for her. He had not returned for some time, so Carol went looking for him, all the while with this cat in tow. She looked in as he stood behind the screen door, evidently having been playing cards with his buddies, smoke filling the air, when he bluntly told her, "Just keep him." and turned her away.

 If I hide here, maybe they'll let me stay.

This is the sad story of Zeke, our cat, it'll always be sad not because of any conjecture over the environment he was raised, but because of how he was let go. While you can argue some people take their pets too seriously, evidently here, some people don't take them seriously enough.

The proceeding weeks were tumultuous, we've had him for just over a month now, Deb and I constantly seeing a foreshadowing of things to come when we eventually decide to raise children. It's been a struggle mainly because he's still young, and full of energy. With Deb at work, and me still waiting for paperwork, Zeke spends most of his days at home with me, and aside from taking my online courses and cleaning up after him, looking after the house, I don't really spend much time nurturing him, or being the companion he probably would appreciate.  Those of you that know me best know that I'm not a very affectionate person at the best of times, so giving my affection to an animal no less, is a notion I have even less understanding of. Couple that to my natural anxiety, and we have a formula for lots of nights with little sleep, and chasing the cat around the house keeping him off of the surfaces where we eat.

Somewhere out there...

Is this what raising children will be like? I joke that it's like raising a teenager, because we don't know what he's thinking, don't know whether or not he's happy with us, and just can't tell what he wants. One day he'll threaten to move out because we don't understand him. But what do you do when your cat doesn't listen to you? You project your hopes onto them, hoping they'll be good upstanding members of society, thinking that their misbehaving is in some way your fault because of how you try to teach them or discipline them.

You win this round, power cord.

I've been struggling with this blog post because I've been unsure with which direction to approach it, but I had a bit of an epiphany one night when we were having particular trouble with him, we were both losing sleep because he wouldn't stop jumping up on the counter, on the bed, on the kitchen table, it was really starting to frustrate. So one final time we brought him down, cornered him, and I asked him, "do we have to change our lives for you?"

Here I was, talking to our cat, realising, yes, we have to change our lives for him. For everything new that comes into our lives, we adapt, and change, otherwise we never truly accomodate them. Otherwise they never become a part of our lives.

A part of our lives, get it? Ah you're no fun...

I now wake up every day before 7, because this is when our cat wakes up, this is when he starts trying to jump on the bed, this is when we see little footprints around the bathroom basin, and find hair all over the kitchen counter, especially if last night's dinner was particularly tempting, or just because.

 
I hereby proclaim this to be, the kingdom of Zeke. Bow down to me!

Which makes me wonder, (or realise) if this is how much trouble we're having with a cat, how much fun children will be...

We're going to play proud parents now and show you this photo reel of cute photos.

 
Vain? Me? I don't know the meaning of the word...

 Wait... I can explain...

 I just see this as a challenge...

Do you mind... pt. 2.

 
Here's a photo of him spending time with someone else for a change...

This is great, every time the mailman comes, I get a new house!

Peek-a-boo!

If you asked him, paper or plastic...

Work, work, work, pounce, pounce, pounce.
 
 
After a hard day's work.
 
This is here as proof that I don't hate him... 

P.S. From today, 1st June, we have officially adopted him.