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How I Became a Cat Lover

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone!!
I joined this site on Oct. 15, 2005, but I can't find my "introduction post" and have looked for it in vain; so I guess I just jumped in and started posting!

I have not been seen on the forums I think since the end of October due to going out of work on short-term-disability and being too ill to concentrate on much of anything. I'm still on disability but am stronger now so I can spend more time at the computer.

{That was my "preamble" to my introduction }

I've been a cat owner for 21 years.

On a cold, rainy day my first furbaby was a stray that chose me. The Orange Tabby was almost skin and bones. He trotted over to me and looked up, displaying deep emerald green eyes. I asked the people at the business where the cat seemed to be roaming and they said the cat had been wandering around outside for many days, getting increasingly thinner.

I was a volunteer for our local Humane Society at the time, so my logical thinking was they could feed him and get some weight on him and then adopt him out. Ah, I was so naive. Plus I'd only owned dogs before so didn't realize, except for starving, there are other reasons cats can be so thin.

When I put the cat in my car, he immediately curled up on the passenger side floor, purred and feel asleep during the long drive to the shelter. I carried the cat inside when we arrived at the shelter and explained the circumstances of finding the cat to the intake worker. The intake worker took him from me and roughly put him in a holding cage. The cat's eyes got huge and he looked at me like "Hey! I thought we were friends." That broke my heart. However, We had just lost our beloved Samoyed Huskey and we owned a Doberman. My husband had decreed "No more animals!" I asked the intake clerk if he would be fattened up then put up for adoption. She looked at me with disgust like I had insulted her in some way and said, "We have a kennel full of HEALTHY cats we can't find homes for and many have to be put down. THIS cat is OLD and sick."

I was feeling worse by the minute. The clerk continued "We will hold the cat for 3 days by law in case someone comes to claim it and, if not, we will euthanize him." My lips were trembling and tears falling down my cheeks. I was thinking "I should have left him where I found him where at least he wouldn't be killed." Again, naive thinking. The clerk seemed to soften a bit. She handed a piece of paper to me saying "This is his kennel number if you change your mind."

Next task was do a "sell job" on my husband. To save some time here (probably too late, but this cat's story was my initial introduction to what wonderful pets cats are) I'll just say my husband and I made an agreement: I will get the cat, take it to our vet, have the vet do tests for FIP (I think that's it), if the cat had it, would have him put to sleep knowing I had done everything I could. If the cat proved healthy I would put an ad in the "found animal" classifieds.

It was with joy in my heart that I returned to the shelter When they brought the cat out, who I then named TV because he found me outside a TV station, TV just beamed. I know for sure sometimes (most of the time?) it's the cat who chooses his owner.

The first thing my vet said when she began examining TV was "OOOOHHHHHHH, you're OLD cat!!! I asked how old and she said depending on several factors he could be anywhere from 16 to19 or 20. Wow!! Then she did blood work and ruled out any of the fatal cat diseases. She also mentioned that he'd been owned at some time because he'd been neutered and declawed.

I fell in love with TV but put the agreed-upon classified in the paper, got several calls, none fit TV and he became our newest family member. TV was very calm; I could carry him in my arms and he wouldn't jump away; he LOVED car rides and would put his little front paws on the armrest and crane his neck to look out.

This happy time with TV lasted only one month. After a couple of weeks, TV had a seizure -that scared me and my Doberman silly! Contrary to popular opinion, Dobies (at least mine) although looking fierce are really scaredy-cats (pardon the pun!) I called my vet and she said sometimes elderly cats have seizures and since she'd tested for the fatal illnesses said to just keep an eye on him. Then during the week he stopped eating. I tried everything from finger feeding a bit of lasagna to him that he seemed interested in and making home-made cat food. Then he had a second seizure. I scooped him up and rushed to the vet. Apparently, having been with TV everyday, I hadn't noticed how thin he was getting - and he was thin to begin with. The vet said, "Awwww, his bones are almost sticking through his skin, we can't let him go on like this." TV was put down.

I cried and cried over TV, regardless of the short time I owned him. I was especially vulnerable because we had just had to euthanize our Samoyed – our “first child.â€


To cheer me up, at Christmas (this had all started around the end of November) my husband had gone to the Humane Society and "pre-purchased" a cat. He wrapped up the cat "starter packet" as one of my gifts. (What a sweet idea.)

I didn't have the heart to adopt another cat until March. I had fallen in love with TV, and he was such a good boy so I wanted a cat just like him. I always get sad in animal shelters, so instead of just going there and roaming the cages, I called and said "Do you have any male orange tabbies?" The person at the shelter said "Yes we do. And he's neutered and declawed." I gave him my name and said "he's my cat!! I'm on my way over."

The new cat was 2 years old and was named Morris, being the spitting image of "the" Morris. When any pets I adopt already have a name they are used to, I don't change it.

Morris had a personality JUST like TV. He was a treasure and went through life's traumas with me: my divorce, going to grad school, selling our home and moving into an apartment, my chronic illness, several deaths in my immediate family. Plus, when I was on the computer, he would lay on the right arm of the chair and rest his head on my knee - perfectly content. I didn't know how I would live without Morris. He was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and remained thin, but hearty and healthy.

When Morris was 14 he began losing weight. He was a long, lean cat, but I could tell he was showing signs of age and sometimes forgot where the litter box was. I vowed I would keep him happy and do anything I could for him, unless he went into distress.

I did not want to be bereft when I lost Morris (my Dobie and another dog I adopted after Morris both now deceased) especially when it seemed so imminent. I researched what would the best 2nd cat "match" for Morris and the consensus was an adult female cat. I thought Calicoes were adorable so back to the Humane Society I went.

~ ~ ~

By this time the Humane Society had built a new, huge, modern shelter which included cat "free roam" rooms. This was MUCH better than walking by rows upon rows of cages. I went into the cat room which was wonderful - light streaming through glass windows, wooden benches that completely surrounded the room - and cats everywhere, a good number of them Calicoes. I looked for one who wouldn't be too much of a stress for Morris. (My mother was against me getting another cat at all, saying it would upset Morris.) I noticed one little Calicoe across the room, under bench, looking very calm. When other cats approached her she didn't hiss or do anything.

That's the one!

She was three years old and named Kali. After the paperwork had been completed and I paid the adoption fee, I glanced at her intake papers and saw a note at the bottom: "Did not get along with other cat" - and it appeared, on closer inspection, that Kali had been adopted and returned twice!


I kept Kali separated from Morris for a week as recommended. Kali lived in my bedroom and we bonded immediately. She was a very sweet girl. After a week, I introduced Morris to Kali. Because of his mellow nature, I called him "The Little Gentleman" and, true to form, he walked over and I could swear he said "Hel-o." (Morris was a "talker".) To my horror, Kali hissed then batted him a foot or so away. Kali ran under the bed and Morris stood, looking confused. He finally did what I interpret as a "cat shrug" and went back out on the patio.

What had I done?

Versions of this "introduction" continued for several weeks. Finally, Morris got tired of it and the next time Kali ran up to him and hissed, he batted her in return. Whoa!! I didn't think Morris had it in him!!! From that point the gradually became friends and would walk around the house in tandom. Instead of stressing Morris, he actually perked up and became more lively once again.

Morris continued on. Each year I thought would my last with him. Anytime I would get melancholy thinking of this, my mother would remind me, "Remember, you got Kali to be with you when Morris dies."

I had always been able to just leave food out all the time for Morris and he nibbled throughout the day. Kali would eat her food and whatever Morris left as well. I tried feeding them twice a day and take the bowls away in between. This annoyed Morris who, even if he wasn't hungry at the time, wanted the food out anyway. I tried a diet food for Kali...that didn't work either. Gradually Kali got quite large. I thought when Morris was gone, I'd go to work on a diet for Kali.

By the first of this year, Morris was losing his eyesight and lost his way around the apartment, plus, again sometimes not finding the litter box. Since he still ate, drank, used the litter box, I made a "nursing home" area for him in my kitchen and closed it off with a gate. Sometimes I would see Kali and Morris with their noses together through the gate.

Mid-January of 2005, Morris seemed to be worse. It looked like he may have had a seizure or some type of stroke. I came home one day to find poop everywhere, even up high. I watched him closely for a couple of days and, since there was never a repeat and he was still eating and drinking and "talked" to me, I kept my vow to keep him safe until he was in obvious distress.

(I wonder if I should make this into a novel!)

And that distress happened...but not until the end of September!!!! Another 8 months of precious time with my baby!

In the meantime, Kali kept gaining weight and resembled a little pumpkin. One morning in March, I got up and Kali came to greet me (she wanted to sleep on my head at night so she stayed in the rest of the apartment at night). I observed her use her litter box and do her normal "thing." I was late for church so I showered quickly, ate breakfast, and looked for Kali to make sure she hadn't darted into a closet.

I found her curled up on the living room couch...dead!!!!! I couldn't believe it!!! Except for being overweight, she had never exhibited ANY symptoms that she was unwell. Just that morning she was same as always. I was in total shock!!! be continued

My precious Morris shortly after I adopted him.

Kali - My furbaby who died unexplainedly and way too soon.

post #2 of 21
Welcome glad your health is getting better.
post #3 of 21
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Kali (RIP baby girl) and of Morris' illness. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
post #4 of 21
Hi! Welcome! I just read your story and that was a really sad shock at the end! I hope you are ok
post #5 of 21
What a sweet and sad story. i am glad you are getting well. welcome.
post #6 of 21
I enjoyed your story...and am waiting for your continuation

TV, Morris and Karli are sure lucky to have you...
post #7 of 21
Hi and Welcome to TCS!!!!

see you on the forums!
post #8 of 21
Welcome to The Cat Site

cute kitties

see ya around on the forums.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
....for all your welcomes, and sweet expressions of sympathy for the loss of TV and Kali. (The Morris story is still in-process. I mentioned that I had Morris another 8 months after his seizure/stroke/whatever at the beginning of January, but there is still a bit more to his story. (Cliff hanger! )

I can't wait to begin actively posting and reading again!!!

Continuation to come...

post #10 of 21
i had tears in my eyes at the end there , im sending you all my love and cant wait to hear the rest god bless you and good luck xxxxxxxxxxxxx
post #11 of 21
Welcome to TCS. I have tears in my eyes reading about the loss of your babies, but also tears of happiness knowing that you gave them such good lives and they were such good companions to you.

Please tell us more about Morris.
post #12 of 21
Wellcome, wellcome and once more wellcome!!! What a wonderful story...
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about "The Rest of the story." I've been searching for my 3 photos I have of TV. I know where they are but...ummmmmm....does anyone else have a big box of photos that need to be put in albums?

As soon as I find it, I'll be posting, hopefully sometime over the weekend.

Enjoy your weekend...

post #14 of 21
welcome back - love your story so far
post #15 of 21
Hello it's nice to meet you!!

post #16 of 21
hi and welcome to TCS from odette and hadley
post #17 of 21
That is a rough story....My heart goes out to you. It's good to know that you gave them happy and fulfilled lives. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story.
post #18 of 21
Hi welcome to the site.
post #19 of 21
I am crying right now , I am so sorry for all your losses. I can't believe I have to wait to raed the rest of this story!!!
Well, I will be looking back from time to time!!
Oh yeah, Welcome to TCS!!!
post #20 of 21
Waiting ever so paitently... lol
post #21 of 21
Welcome, and I can't wait to read the rest!
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