Alex the wonder-cat
Oh dear. Well, we went into the Cornwall SPCA on Saturday, to check it out and see what dogs they had (because we are now officially looking for a dog.) What did we come out with? A three-legged cat named Alex. And worse still, he looks far too much like Zoë. I would just like to say that #1, we were NOT looking for another cat yet, and #2, we were DEFINITELY not looking for a Zoë clone. I hope my sweet girl would approve anyway, and realize that we could never replace her and weren't trying to. But Alex was crying out for a home.
The Cornwall SPCA had a fire a few months ago (No animals were hurt, thank God), so all of their cats are currently in cages in the foyer. Many lovely cats and cute kittens... Gordon and I visited with them all, and I made the inevitable crack about taking one home, knowing full well that Gordon is perfectly incapable of making such a decision without six weeks to consider the options exhaustively, thereafter publishing the results of his investigations complete with Cerlox binding and detailed footnotes. Said report would have a title like "Ascertaining the Correct Choice of Second Cat for the Knatolee-Gordon Household: A twelve-part study with pie charts and quantitative analyses." You think I'm kidding, don't you? Anyway, to my "Let's take home a cat" comment, Gordon just rolled his eyes.
Amongst the feline crowd, I noticed one cat that looked painfully like our Zoë, yet without the white chest and paws. And yes, skinnier. This thought blipped through my head: "Oh, I could never adopt a cat that looked so much like the dear one we just lost." But then the Zoë-clone turned around, and I saw that he was missing a hind leg!
(I should now let you know that I once bought a stuffed animal that was missing an eye, because I knew no one else would buy it, and I felt sorry for it. Fortunately I was still a child when I did this, so it's somewhat excusable! I have always had a soft spot for those who are different from the "norm.")
Suddenly my interest was piqued. What was this cat's story? I pointed the missing limb out to Gordon, and his eyes stopped rolling. His beard hairs stood on end. His little ears got all pointy (all right, perhaps some exaggeration here!)
I asked the attendant if I could see this three-legged curiosity, and hey, what was his story? She got the cat out of his cage and put him down, and he quickly started doing the rounds of the other cats, checking everybody out in a friendly fashion. I picked him up and he took that very well. The nice SPCA girl told me in September or thereabouts, the cat's leg had been caught in a leghold trap. By the time he was found, the wound was full of maggots, and his leg had to be amputated right up to the hipbone. Gordon and I cringed simultaneously. I asked Gordon if he want to hold this tripod-kitty. He said sure. I sat on the floor, continuing to chat with the friendly SPCA worker.
Then I looked up again a few minutes later, and my husband had a very strange look on his face. The amputee cat was completely relaxed in Gordon's arms, and Gordon himself looked like he was in a bit of a reverie. Or maybe like he'd had a few too many pints o' Guinness. It was a goofy, "I'm in love" kind of look. The "My, that was a really good Christmas dinner!" sort of glaze-eyed stare.
And then my huge shock: not fifteen minutes after picking Alex up for the first time, my completely non-compulsive husband, the one who avoids restaurant drive-thrus because it's too much pressure to make a snap decision about what to eat, THAT husband, said to me, in his always calm, ever-so-level-headed way:
"So. Do you want to take a cat home today?"
Uh, HELL YES! You see, as soon as I saw Alex's missing limb, I knew he was ours. I don't why, but I did. But you can't rush Gordon into these things. You have to let him think it over, make his own decision, weigh the options. I was figuring that Alex wasn't going anywhere fast, having been at the shelter for six weeks already. I'd give Gordon the weekend to think it over, while I proffered some subtle hints before bringing up the possibility that Alex might be a nice addition to our home.
Instead Gordon blew me away. He shocked the pants off me! (Not literally; that would have scared the cats!) We filled out the paperwork, and took the wonderful Alex home with us. As we were at the counter, Alex was lounging on his cage shelf, looking totally relaxed, paws crossed. The staff told us that they couldn't get over what a mellow, happy disposition he had for a cat that had suffered so horribly. You would never know what he'd been through were it not for the missing leg.
Alex has not disappointed us. He and Julius (our fluffy orange boy) are slowly getting to know each other, but things are going well. Two mellow cats seem to be a great combination! And Alex is a ray of sunshine in our lives. It's been a long time since we've had a youngster in the house. Alex, about a year old, is happy and curious and full of beans and incredibly sweet. He's a champion headbonker and very cuddly. Yesterday he made me cry by coming to lie on my chest for a long time, just like Zoë used to, until he got too blissed out and rolled off by accident! We're so lucky we found this guy.
And an interesting thing to note: Alex was brought to the shelter September 8th, which is not only the anniversary date for both my parents' deaths, but also the day I marked as Zoë's birthday. Even Gordon the practical noticed this coincidence.
Welcome, Alex. The boys finally outnumber the girls in this household!
And Julius says, "I vant to be alone! Well, at least for a couple of hours."