We Got a Cat!
We have always loved cats but, with so many senior dogs in our care, getting a cat was out of the question. Until, that is, this week when WE GOT A CAT!
Why a Cat?
As many of my friends and followers know, we lost my beloved Titan at the beginning of 2023. I will one day share how we sent him off - with lots of love and celebratory meals - but I'm still healing from that experience and prefer to keep it close to the heart for now.
Since Titan's scheduled departure to the Rainbow Bridge, I have been thinking about how his loss shaped our family. He was in his "final days" for almost two years, therefore, had a great deal of our attention. Between middle-of-the-night potty breaks and expensive supplement use, we worked diligently to keep Titan comfortable, happy, and mobile as long as we could. Once he was gone, I noticed that our home seemed to be missing a key component. Between all the traveling my husband tends to do, Caera having always lived with other pets, and my young kids' desire to engage with animals, it felt right to consider adding another pet to our family sooner rather than later.
A few weeks ago, my stylist rescued a four-month-old kitten named Shadow to join her family and existing cat, Tiger. Unfortunately, it seemed that the two were not destined to cohabitate. In fear of the possible repercussions of keeping these two cats together despite their apparent dislike for each other, she was ready to return the newest addition to the rescue. Unfortunately, they didn't respond to her calls.
She brought the kitten, named Shadow, to her salon one day when I was scheduled for a haircut. Her colleague was going to take Shadow home and see if he'd
be a good match for her family. Seeing Shadow and interacting with him brought back lots of memories from when my husband and I fostered five neonatal kittens in Louisiana between 2016 and 2017. I have always loved cats and missed being around them. The desire to share my life with a cat came flooding back.
Adopting Our Kitten
The trial with Shadow and my stylist's colleague didn't go well so I offered to foster Shadow if needed. We agreed that I'd take him for 10 days while she and her family were in Hawaii. As it turns out, my stylist won't need my help during her upcoming trip because her cats are getting along. She's keeping Shadow!
Yet, the seed had been planted and I couldn't get the idea of getting a cat out of my head.
While I was emceeing the Texas Pet Sitters Conference in Dallas last week, cats and dogs were at the forefront of most of our discussions. One session in particular, with a cat-only pet sitter, Shannon Huskins, got me thinking about how fun it would be to have a kitten for the kids to engage with. Our kids have always had pets around but they were older dogs - some geriatric - so it's time for my 5 and 3-year-old children to experience the playtime and enrichment that pets want and need.
Long story short, I somehow got it in my head and my heart that I should look for a Russian Blue mix. I either dreamt about a Russian Blue mix or someone at the conference planted that seed, I can't remember.
Immediately upon finishing up my work as emcee of the Texas Pet Sitters Conference, I started my search for a Russian Blue near me on PetFinder.com. On my way back to El Paso from Dallas, I started a conversation with Kim from The Cat's Meow Las Cruces, a cat-only rescue that houses 100+ cats in a safe and very well-run establishment in Las Cruces, NM, which is about 40 minutes from me. I initially asked about a cat named Bradley but he was bonded to another cat and his foster didn't think our family was quite the right match for them. When a foster tells me what they think, I listen.
After that conversation, I quickly found Van, a 4-month-old Russian Blue/DSH mix that had just been brought to The Cat's Meow Las Cruces from the shelter. When I chatted with Kim in person, I gathered that Van and his five litter mates had been rescued a couple of months back but escaped their foster home. Yikes! Then, Van and two of his siblings walked into a random person's home through their doggie door. Oops! That person, being allergic to cats and having pets of his own, contacted The Cat's Meow Las Cruces and they were listed on Petfinder as available for adoption late last week.
The Perfect Cat for Our Family
My timing could not have been more perfect. Van just got neutered on Monday, which is when I found his listing. Then, I went to meet him Tuesday and it was an instant connection. I immediately brought him home because I had already purchased all we needed for him - litter boxes, food, toys, a water fountain, bowls, etc. I knew he was going to be mine and even got a backpack carrier on my way to see him. He jumped into the backpack within minutes of meeting me. He was the perfect match online and in real life.
Since I brought him home I have had him in our guest bathroom so that he can get to know our home slowly. The kids have fallen in love with him. Caera, our dog, has seen him from afar, sniffed under his door, and has been resting outside the bathroom waiting to see more. We are
taking our time with the introduction because my husband is traveling this week and I don't want to do it alone. While I'm very capable of introducing pets by myself, I believe in taking things slowly and optimizing the situation with multiple adults present when possible. I also want to kitty-proof the house before we give him full run of the house.
Today, we finalized his name: The Cat's Meow had him listed as Van. He and his litter mates were named after musicians. My kids loved the name Van so we decided to keep it. For me, it was missing something. So, after lots of deliberation with my husband, we decided on Van Gogh. Van Gogh is easy to say in multiple languages, he's my favorite artist, and this cat is so gorgeous, it just works. Our kitty, Van Gogh, is a true work of art. He walks around purring and making biscuits and loves to snuggle. He's been super fun with the kids and seems to be thrilled to have joined our family. Thanks to his presence, our home is filled with more joy than ever.