I’m a dog that lives with a lot of cats. When I first moved into my forever home with my mom, Wendi, and my dad, Bobby, there were six cats that became my instant family. Like any self respecting dog, I made it clear who was boss in the house. Turned out that it wasn’t me — at least not while Ariel was around. Through my four years of being in my home, the cat population has decreased. I know what you are thinking and I didn’t do anything to them! Most were just older and as life goes, they went to the rainbow bridge. The one shocker was when my good friend, crazy kitten, Kirby passed away suddenly. (You can read more about him here.) I loved that cat. Ahem, as much as a dog can love a cat. But when he was gone that left just three cats and me. That is until Mom got a text from a co-worker.
I guess everyone at my mom’s work knows her love for cats. (Deep down she is a cat person, much to my chagrin. But then again, she lavishes me with love and belly rubs, so what do I care if her preference is for felines?) When they heard that Kirby had passed away, they kept asking her if she would be getting another cat. I know my mom. The time has to be right. Like she did with Kirby, she began praying that the perfect cat would come to us. When she got the text from her friend, she wasn’t so sure it was time. But she shared the text with Dad. He said we should get the cat. While Mom had wanted a kitten, the cat was actually something like six months old.
Mom was tempted to say no to taking the cat, but then she heard it was headed to a shelter if a home couldn’t be found for it. Both Mom and Dad are suckers for animals who don’t have a forever home. So after meeting the grey and white tabby, she decided that she would take her into the family. Mom named the cat Nikki. (This is after one of my cousins, Nicole, who lives in Boston.)
When Nikki came to live at our house, she was definitely a timid little thing. She basically lived in a box that was on top of the chest freezer in the kitchen. She would only come down to eat and used the litter box. She didn’t like anyone, not even me! If I would get anywhere near her, she would hiss. I didn’t take offense, I figured she would come around eventually. I liked that she also hissed at Mr.Thomas. (He is my nemesis!)
After a week or so, Nikki moved from living in the box to living on top a garbage can that had a lid. We all thought she was very strange. It wasn’t until Dad got a new office chair so that Mom was able to move her chair to the table that Nikki actually began to act like a normal cat. Well, sort of. I think because she must have been a stray, she really worries about not having enough to eat. She is definitely what Mom would call “food motivated.”
One thing that bothered Mom about Nikki is that she doesn’t like to be held. The family she got her from had said she was real cuddly, but that hadn’t been the case so far — until right before Christmas. She had started to exhibit, shall we say, female type behaviors of cats who have not yet been fixed. It was then that she got to be affectionate. She would let Mom hold her and even purred a little bit. Dad was worried that things would be that way for a long time (the clinic said a cat can act like that for a couple of weeks). So Mom took Nikki to one of the vets at Cleveland Road Animal Hospital. She had to get a check up before she could be scheduled for the appropriate surgery to eliminate the flirtatious behaviors.
When Mom took Nikki into the room, the vet tech discussed the process of the visit, which included taking Nikki out to draw blood. In about 10 minutes Nikki, the vet tech and the vet came back in. I wish I had been there when the doctor told Mom that this “six month old cat” was actually between three to five years old! I think you could have blew Mom over with a feather. Nikki is a little thing, around 7 pounds, so I guess it isn’t surprising that she was mistaken for being an adolescent. But even I didn’t know she was so old! The doctor showed Mom Nikki’s teeth which are indicators of her age.
Nikki has calmed down a little bit — not so hormonal. This makes Mom a little sad because she has stopped wanting affection. In retrospect, I think her behavior makes tons of sense since she is so old. Nikki must have had a different experience with people. She may be more stand-offish because she hadn’t experienced a forever home … yet. But now she has one and I bet pretty soon she will come around. It only took Mr. Thomas 7 years to come around to let Mom hold him on her lap! Although that cat is a nut anyhow, so who knows. It might only be a couple of years for the cat who aged 4 ½ years in 10 minutes.