I think I started getting the idea of getting a cat when I saw one of my student's cats. This cat was the most laid back cat I had ever seen. He'd hop in the van with his family and go for rides like a dog. When the van door opened up, there'd he'd be laying on the two year old's lap just as relaxed and laid back as could be. Now I realize this is not typical of most cats, but it gave me hope that there are cats out there that aren't neurotic. My only cat in college was neurotic. She was sweet when she wanted to be but never let us pick her up and cuddle on her and very temperamental.
SO...when we went to the animal shelter I had my list of qualifications for the perfect Bilberry cat that went as follows:
1. Must be laid back
2. Must be a cuddler
3. Must let us pick him up and hold him
4. Playful is nice, but not mandatory.
|Hard to tell, but he's holding his mouse here|
5. Short hair cat only
The shelter only had one male cat, Harry. She thought he fit all those descriptions. He was out in the play cage when we arrived. So we were able to go in with him and interact with him. I picked him up and right away he started purring. That was my first clue that this might be theeeeee cat. When I put him down to interact with the kids they waved toys in front of his face and he started playing with them. I gave the girls the option of going and looking at more cats at other shelters before we made a decision but also told them I would be OK with adopting Harry if they wanted him. They were hooked.
We paid for him and arranged to pick him up the following morning after we had made all the arrangements for his arrival at home. He was a little scared at first and spent most of the first two days hiding under the couch but totally OK with being petted as long as we petted him under the couch.
The first evening he came out out of his shell when the kids went to bed and became wild man. He ran from one end of the house like a bat out of (*(*#O*. Occasionally he'd stop and get on the bed with me and lay on my ear and purr. I got very little sleep, but it was worth it because he was happy and so sweet. I'm sure not being locked in a cage all night was quite a great experience for him that night.
By day three Harry really started warming up to being our pet and was rarely under the couch. He started following us around, chatting with us on occasion and being very receptive to the girls playing with him. By day four or five it was like he was just part of our family. The kids like to go "cat fishing" and he is happy to be caught. Kadyn picks him up all the time and drags him around the house. He is super playful and plays with all his toys. He especially likes his toy mice. It is so stinking cute watching him roll around with those tiny mice.
He hasn't been bad about getting on counters at all. He's tried it twice and got squirted for it. Not a fan of the water bottle. We'll see how often we have to break it out. He was clawing our couches until I put his scratching post inbetween them and sprinkled catnip on the post. He is now obessesed with his post, clawing it like crazy, rubbing on it, rolling on it, and sleeping on it. I took the shelter's advice and rolled him up like a burrito in a towel to trim his claws. He was a real trooper for that. I think he may just get to keep his claws.
His favorite perch is the top of the rat cage. He is greatly amused by Daisy and curious about her. Their first face to face meeting he freaked out. Then curiosity took over and he decided he wanted to have more of her. She went for him from the first moment they met. I thought Daisy would be scared, but apparently she is one brave rat! I still watch him like a hawk when Daisy is out with the kids. He has never tired to pounce on her, only swat at her, put his paw on her and a few times tried to bite her. I think, but am not entirely sure, he was trying to do playful biting (the kind he does with me when I hand wrestle with him), but I didn't let him do it long enough to find out. The water bottle comes out when he does that and he heads for cover.
|We call this "Cat TV"|
|As you can see, Daisy is just as curious of him as he is of her|
We sure do love him and he has wormed his way into our hearts very quickly. I am so happy to provide a pet for my girls that will be around for a long time (I hope). I grew up with pets and they were a huge part of my life. I adored them as a child. I wanted to provide that same opportunity for my children. Now I get too. Welcome Harry Berry Bilberry!