Monday, June 20, 2011

Would a rose smell as sweet by another name?

I don't know. But my cat probably would be just as mean with another name. Any other name would probably be more fitting, too. Rather than "Sophie" I could call her "Beelzebub," "Diablita," or my mom's favorite when addressing her, "Bitch Face."

We always had pets when I was growing up. For most of my life, we had one or two dogs and at least two cats at any given points (pretty much like Noah's ark). Needless to say, when I entered adulthood, I really wanted a pet of my own. The prospect of finally owning an animal that would truly be mine and would love me the way most animals admire one family member a little more than the rest was exciting. I kept putting off getting a cat because I think I was a little scared of the 13-17 year commitment and I didn't have an extra $100 or so to go to the SPCA to get a healthy, spayed/neutered, friendly, compassionate, not afraid of people, nice to other animals cat. But when my boyfriend called me and told me that they found a kitten that had been dumped at the golf course he worked at, it was hard for me to say no.

Enter Sophie.

I was out of town when Dan brought her home and was anxious to get back to NOLA and see my new pet. She is a talker and the only way they could find her in the tall grass that she was hiding in was to meow to her. She would meow back. She was incredibly afraid of people so it took multiple guys a few hours and oven mitts and a box to get her. In Dan's defense, he had never really dealt with animals before and did not realize that while a tiny cat could claw the shit out of him, it would really not be that bad.

I ran into Dan's apartment and was ready to see a kitten playing on the floor, or sleeping on the sofa, or doing anything that normal kittens do but she was nowhere to be found. We had to meow for her and track her voice to her hiding place. I reached in and grabbed her and revealed my precious (I like to say it in a Schmeigal voice). My skinny ass, freaked out, sick, precious. As I begin to pet her, I realized she was sick- really sick. She had a huge scab on her neck, and she was very thin. The first night I brought her home, I put some towels in a laundry hamper and put her in the bathroom. She cried until I moved the laundry hamper into my room and put it next to my bed.  (Get your 'awwwwws' out now, because this is about the only time you can say it during my four year relationship with Sophie).

I took her to the vet and three things of fluid, multiple tests, shaving her neck, removing the parasite that had been living there, getting her up to speed on shots and vaccinations, and $500 later, I finally had the cat I had been so excited about owning. And she was scared shitless of me and any other human.

During her first week in my house, her litter box (which was in the kitchen) remained clean. This really baffled me until I realized that she had been treating my laundry hamper with all of my work clothes that were waiting to be dry cleaned as her litter box. Great. She was too afraid to walk to the kitchen. Immediately after I found her new bathroom spot, I walked into my sun room- where she was- which scared the shit out of her. She puffed up, jumped on my desk and knocked over multiple tiles I brought home from Portugal, that I couldn't replace. At this point I looked at Dan with tears of rage in my eyes and told him I might get rid of her.I mean- can you blame me? So far- I had a cat that wouldn't let me touch her, felt it appropriate to poop on my work clothes, and broke things that couldn't be fixed or replaced.

Around month 2 of my proud ownership, she went into heat. I called the vet and told them but they said she was too young to go into heat. After a few nights of sleeplessness spent listening to my cat SCREAM for a mate and Dan wanting to shake her to death, I called the vet again and promised them she was in heat. Apparently, she was so dehydrated when I brought her in originally that she was much smaller than she should have been. (Don't worry- her weight has leveled out. When she runs, her stomach makes  large swings side to side to keep up with her feet. It's charming). (Also, if you are unfamiliar with the noises cats can produce when they would like to mate or are mating, you can check out my enlightening post).

Over the first few months of owning her, she became more comfortable around people and even let Dan and me start to pet her. If you met her now, you could consider her a new cat. At this point, she is not afraid of anything. In fact, she often tries to kill any other cat that crosses her path. Once, I opened the door and the neighbors cat shot into my apartment. The result was the equivalent of a tantrum larger than those thrown on Toddler's and Tiaras. Sophie was so angry that she hid under the guest bed and screamed for hours. Even after the intruder had been escorted out, she still spit at me when I looked under the bed. Sweet Sophie.

Oh yeah, and did I mention she vomits? All of the time. I can hear her puking four rooms away. To make this whole situation better, picking up her puke often makes me lose my lunch. It's one of Dan's favorite things to witness. I use to think he was really mean until Mollie was over and got to witness it. After disposing of Sophie's puke- and then puking myself- I came back into the room to both Dan and Mollie cracking up. Honestly, though, I am really not sure if there is anything worse in the world than regurgitated canned cat food.

So, after a child hood of owning animals and dreaming of my first pet, I have Sophie. A cat that is guaranteed to live for at least 15 years (evil never dies).

I do have to let you know that I have been a little hard on her. She does love me. She follows me around and when I don't get up when she thinks I should- she comes in and does a very cute meow to wake me up. Also, when it is cold outside, and she is not sleeping directly on top of the vent in my room- taking up all of the heat for herself- she will cuddle up next to me (no lie- I will wake up in the middle of the night shivering to see her covering the entire vent. When I mover her off of the vent, her fur feels like an electric blanket). She sleeps on the foot of my bed and waits for me to get out of the shower. All in all, she has not turned out to be a totally terrible cat- she is just not the sweet, loving, fluffy thing I always wanted. But she is mine. And she does have a sweet, loving, fluffy name. So that has to count for something.

This is Sophie.... sooooo happy to be held. LOVE!

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