Happy Anniversary To Us

A year ago today, Ric and Zooey came to live with me.

I had recently lost an older cat who had been with me only three months. A woman had to give him up, and it turned out he didn’t have much longer to live anyway.

He was the first cat I had had for a couple of decades. Chairman Mao, the most loveable applehead Siamese ever, had died at a time when my job was too demanding to have a cat at home too.

I was looking for two cats to keep each other company, and my preference was for tabbies or Siamese mixes. I pored over the Santa Fe Animal Shelter website and found a few possibilities. I went to the shelter and one of the stores that house cats in transition to see them all. The website listed a bonded pair, but I hadn’t seen them. I looked again, and they were at the shelter’s secondhand store, Look What The Cat Dragged In.

White and gray Ricotta and Zuppa were sleeping in their kennel. I introduced myself to them, then went to one of the workers and said that I wanted the kitties. She shouted and hugged me, ran off to get cardboard carriers. I signed the paperwork, and the kitties were in their boxes before I could turn around.

I wasn’t sure I could tell the cats apart, so I left on their tape shelter collars. After a day or two, I realized that Ric’s tail color went all the way down to his butt and his face mask was more complete, while Zooey had splotches of color on his back legs. I didn’t like the shelter names, but I wanted something that sounded similar, hence Ric and Zooey.

I didn’t want the hassle of bringing up kittens. Ric and Zooey were estimated by the shelter vets to be about two and a half years old. The downside of getting adult cats is that you don’t know their past. The shelter bios said that Ric and Zooey were picked up by animal control. They were clean and healthy, no fleas, no chips, and, um, intact. The shelter neutered and chipped them. From their behavior, I’ve inferred some things.

Neither was a great fan of close human interaction. Petting when they wanted it, yes, but no lapsitting, and they merely tolerated being picked up. I let them choose the times and methods of interaction. They did like playing with toys and, of course, food. They have been, all along, quite robust about eating any kind of food. Zooey was particularly bitey and scratchy. Both were wild when playing. I have a duvet cover that I will eventually replace when the many tiny tears become too ugly.

Two or three months in, I was beginning to think I might have to take them back to the shelter. Zooey could barely be petted without drawing blood, mostly by scratching. I tried nose taps and ignoring him. Occasionally I got frustrated enough to yell at him.

Then some friends came over for dinner. Zooey fell in love with one of them and slept on her hand through dessert. He was less bitey and scratchy after that. He wanted headbumps from me, which I gave him. They seemed to calm him.

Ric has always been easier to interact with. He has an adorable little headflip that means “Pet me.” He is the intellect of the two, and Zooey is the brawn. Both are nicely muscular, but if Ric were human, he would be called wiry, while Zooey has broad shoulders and is more loosely put together.

Long story short, Zooey is no longer bitey and scratchy. Both cats present their bellies for rubbing and only occasionally attack the hand that pets them. Ric seldom purred, but now he spends a little time on my lap purring most evenings. In the last week or so, he has purred when I’ve rubbed his head when he’s relaxed. Zooey has been experimenting with the lapsitting thing, mostly when I am working at the computer, but it hasn’t turned out well yet.

I suspect that before they were picked up by Animal Control, they lived with a family that didn’t pay a lot of attention to them. The probably spent most of the time outside. They are indoor cats now.

I am told by one of their admirers that I must talk about how I’ve changed too. I have had to make spaces for them in the house – an eating area in my dining room, a couple of toy spaces, and of course their box in the guest bathroom. I talk to them a lot. I feel sorry for anyone who may be bugging my house. “What handsome boys!” “Treats!” “Where is the other kitteh?”

They are good little companions. We’re celebrating with some salmon.

 






74 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Look at them Gato’s!

  2. 2
    Another Scott says:

    Nice story. Thanks for sharing. Happy anniversary!

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  3. 3

    They are adorable. Thanks for sharing their story.

  4. 4
    khead says:

    Very nice story and post. Congrats!

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    They are handsome critters. Happy Anniversary to the three of you!

  6. 6
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Do they talk a lot? The boy cat around here likes to talk, usually to request belly rubs. His sister has more of a whine, mostly when asking for food. He is very laid back and does not mind being picked up. She barely tolerates it. It is interesting how their personalities are so different.

  7. 7

    @Betty Cracker: How is your pup taking in the loss of her sister? And how have you been?

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    Happy Anniversary to all of you!

  9. 9
    Miss Bianca says:

    Aww. cute. So nice when an adoption story works out well! At the moment I have dogs but no cats, so like all the Internet I swoon over kitty pics!

  10. 10
    LAO says:

    Mazel Tov and a happy anniversary to you all.

  11. 11

    @Jerzy Russian: One of the things I find fascinating about Ric and Zooey is that although their coloring is so similar, they are very different in every other way. Zooey is very vocal, Ric more silent. Zooey has a range of musical meows, while Ric’s meows are scratchy and generally not impressive. I’ve wondered if sometime in his history before he was picked up, he was hit and his vocal cords damaged. But he makes up for it with a noise I call a growl-roar, usually emitted while he runs wildly around the house with his tail fluffed.

    ETA: Both make adorable chirps when they want petting.

  12. 12
    Cckids says:

    Congrats on your anniversary, may you enjoy many more! They are such handsome boys. I’m glad you all found each other.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    This is nice.

  14. 14
    Barbara says:

    Nice work!

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:

    Does not seem like a year. Many more to all of you.

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    Congrats – they are cute little guys!

    …aw, now I miss the two HUGE orange tabbies we had years ago…anyone want to lend me their Emotional Support Housecat(s)?

  18. 18
    geg6 says:

    Have the happiest of cativersaries! They are so cute. And I’m not really much of a cat person. But I find them adorable.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    Write this down. The daft dodger is a “street fighter” and the combat wounded, decorated Marine Corps Officer is a” buttoned-down Brahmin”. You can’t make this shit up.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @raven: You still talking about cats?

  21. 21
    Manyakitty says:

    Mazel tov! Gotcha day is the best day. 😻😻

  22. 22
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    But he makes up for it with a noise I call a growl-roar, usually emitted while he runs wildly around the house with his tail fluffed.

    That is exactly what our boy cat does! He also has the loudest purr I have ever heard in a cat. It sounds like something is loose inside him, like there is a loose ball bearing rattling around in his engine block.

  23. 23

    @raven: Who is writing this drivel?

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    What a great story! I remember your saying that they were fairly new in your life when you started blogging here last spring. Congratulations to Ric and Zooey on their Forever Home anniversary, and may you all celebrate many more together.

  25. 25
    J R in WV says:

    Thanks for rescuing those cute purr balls. They’re beautiful and contented looking.

    We have two cats also, one runs to fat and affectionate because she thinks it leads to food, the other is more active and slender, muscular, loves to be outside on a moonlit night. Often catches little rodents up to the occasional rat. Yes, there are rats on farms, sadly.

    You’re so furtunate (sic) to have such affectionate companions. Very handsome kitties!

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Who is writing this drivel?

    Ugh. Gloria Borger at CNN.

  27. 27
    Kristine says:

    Happy anniversary. Such a good first story of the day. 🐱

  28. 28
    Nicole says:

    What lovelies! My downstairs neighbor adopted a pair of black-and-white kitties about a year ago, too. The boy is pretty social, but the girl still hides most of the day. Though the last time I went down to visit she did come out from under the couch to give me a long look before running to the bedroom. I was very flattered. ;)

  29. 29
    geg6 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    She has taken the space in my circle of virulent hatred that used to be Jen Rubin’s. Just despise her.

  30. 30
    Yutsano says:

    KITTEHS!!!

    We’re celebrating with some salmon

    We’re talking wild caught from Alaska Pacific salmon yes?

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    They’re handsome boys. Congratulations to the three of you on the anniversary. Do they do this thing where they stand in front of you and look at you meaningfully, until you realise what they want and go do it? Bianca does that with me all the time.

  32. 32

    @Nicole: My guys are totally social. When they hear someone at the door, they run toward it. And then they sniff the person’s feet and whatever they may be carrying.

    @Yutsano: It’s from Costco, can’t recall if it was wild. But we had some yesterday, and they found it acceptable.

  33. 33
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Happy cativersary to you and your handsome guys. They are quite adorable. Will they have featured Caturday photos when you post on weekends?

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m not going to give them clicks. The fact is, Dems need our own media hacks.

  35. 35
    MomSense says:

    Happy cativersary! Such a nice story. The photos are very sweet.

  36. 36

    @Amir Khalid: They were eating too much kibble and getting fat, so I bought a Catit food tree, which they have to pull the kibbles out of. That taught them to use their paws if they want something. So they will stretch against my chair and paw at me when they want something, with increasing amounts of claw.

  37. 37

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: I have been taking altogether too many photos of them.

  38. 38
    catclub says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    and paw at me when they want something, with increasing amounts of claw.

    wakey wakey, in my case.

  39. 39

    @Yutsano: And some sushi grade aahi tuna. Nothing but the best.

  40. 40
    Annie says:

    Happy anniversary! They’re lovely cats.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @geg6:

    Yep, same here. Never liked her much to begin with. Decades ago she was a panelist on PBS’ Washington Week in Review, and she was my least-favorite of the regulars even then, but since going to CNN she’s become just awful (not that I watch, but every now and then she’ll float into my awareness like an unwanted malign spirit).

  42. 42
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @raven: If you made it up it would be to unbelievable.

  43. 43
    Yutsano says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I read it WHYYYYYYYY???

    @schrodingers_cat: Agreed. That might be complicated to get in New Mexico. At least in some sort of affordable fashion.

  44. 44
    Mel says:

    Congrats to all three of you, and many happy “Got-da-kittehs” days to come! Your kitty boys are absolutely beautiful, and they look so very happy!

    Sometimes, the challenging ones are the very best in the end. We adopted our sweet little girl Janie sight unseen, from a person who needed to re-home a cat “right away”. I had worked with rescue cats, feral cats, and had fostered (and foster-failed) former colony cats for decades, and I had never seen a sadder, more terrified cat than that poor little thing.

    She was so frightened that she wouldn’t even come out of fetal position when we transferred her into her new carrier. Overweight but undernourished, full of dandruff and dead hair, carrying a raging respiratory infection, and was so completely terrified of humans that she vomited and then curled into a ball and hid her face every time we got near her for the first day. She was a registered cat, and we suspect that she might have been used in some sort of breeding operation.

    The first few months were rough!! It took almost four years before she truly began to trust people, but as I write this she is snuggled up on my lap, purring in her sleep. She’s my quilting assistant, and the world’s best listener.

    Cheers for all the Zooeys and Janies out there, and thanks for sharing Zooey and Ric’s story and their beautiful photos. Seeing their sweet little faces really brightened the day.

  45. 45
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @raven: You have to watch out for those buttoned-down Brahmins. There’s a reason New England WASPs all have such a nasty reputation…

  46. 46
    MoxieM says:

    Lovely fellers. And also wonderful that they enjoy each other’s company! Rescue is happy-making

  47. 47
    Robin Gittelman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Barf . . . Yeah, except for the fact that he can’t bring himself to actually, in-person fire someone, and he’d cry for his mommy if anyone his own size actually physically confronted him. Our media really loves their mean, Republican daddies don’t they.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    Late to the party, but KITTEHS! I think Anne Laurie was saying they might have some Siamese/Oriental based on their body shapes. Our youngest cat Charlotte looks very similar to them and is also very vocal. She’s constantly testing new meows out on us to see if it gets her the stuff she wants any faster.

  49. 49
    Robin Gittelman says:

    BTW Beautiful kitties! I’m allergic so I just look at the pictures . . .

  50. 50

    @Mnemosyne: Ric has a Siamese/Oriental body shape, but Zooey is much looser, shorter-legged. It’s fascinating how different they are, beyond the very similar coloring.

  51. 51

    My cat Mal is officially four today (born on a Super Bowl evening). He’s grown up to be a big panfurr and a pain the ass to me and his mama Ocean.

  52. 52

    @SiubhanDuinne: WTF is a buttoned down Brahmin? If she knew her Sanskrit literature, she would know that the wily Brahmin is often the villain of the piece. He knows his stuff and knows where the bodies are buried.
    In the late Peshwai, Nana Phadnavis and Ram Shastri were the reason of the downfall of Ragunath Rao, who had managed to usurp the hereditary title of the Peshwa by assassinating his nephew who was next in line.
    Also Nana, kept both the British and the Portuguese and the French at bay either fighting against each other or with other Indian rulers in the late 18th century. The British had to wait until Nana died to defeat the Marathas.
    ETA: Nana, Ragunath Rao and Ram Shastri were all Brahmins BTW.

  53. 53
    Tazj says:

    Happy Anniversary! They’re two very beautiful and happy cats!
    Of of my two cats, the bigger one, is much more vocal than his brother. He cries for attention and to be petted. He has also taken to sleeping right near my feet at night, which can sometimes be a pain. I have to adjust myself to avoid kicking him. I have cat beds, and of course there are plenty of chairs and a couch, but why bother when you can sleep in the big bed right? His brother sleeps with my youngest in his bed.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    It’s possible (and common) for kittens in the same litter to have different fathers, because cat reproduction is weird like that (and female cats in heat are pretty slutty 😂).

  55. 55

    @SiubhanDuinne: Also too, wily Brahmins have brought down more than one hubris filled despot. So my money is on the Mr. M.
    The Hindi/Sanskrit word for cunning, kutil comes from Kaultilya (Chanakya) who was the Brahmin adviser of India’s first emperor, Chandragupta Maurya. His treatises on economics and politics are read even today.

  56. 56
    Tata says:

    Yay! Happy rescue cats are happy!

  57. 57
    laura says:

    Happy Cataversary to you….
    One of the best, BEST things about this blog is the unabashed love for critters that seems to be so widely shared.

  58. 58
    The Lodger says:

    @schrodingers_cat: She’s probably referring to Boston Brahmins. I don’t think she’s even aware that any other Brahmins exist.

  59. 59
    Miss Bianca says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I have to presume that the writer is referring to the so-called “Boston Brahmin”, and also that any knowledge of actual, ie Indian, Brahmins is limited to non-existent.

    ETA: Or what Lodger said.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Absolutely! My two litter mates, for instance. Mr. Baar has long black hair. Miss Willow has short hair and looks like an ocelot. Pretty cool, I think.

  61. 61

    @The Lodger: @Miss Bianca: Even so, the so called Boston Brahmins didn’t fall off the turnip truck either.

  62. 62
    MazeDancer says:

    Gorgeous story!

    Many congratulations to you and your beautiful kitties on your anniversary!

  63. 63
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @schrodingers_cat: No fooling; by and large the Boston version’s reputation for rectitude is built on pretty shaky ground. These are, after all, the people who got rich on the Triangle Trade and whose ancestors set their minds to extirpating as many Native Americans as possible so as to build their City on a Hill. But if you look down your nose at people sternly enough, they often fall for the BS.

  64. 64
    Gravenstone says:

    My bonded pair started life in the shelter. Had to be returned from their first homing attempt due to the dog harassing them (allegedly). They’d been back in the shelter long enough when I got them at 18 months of age that the fees were waived, so they were “free”. In the intervening four years, I’ve replaced four recliners and the living room carpet (which was aged anyway). But they’ve opened up so much over that time. The orange boy is the loudest cat I’ve ever met – loud (and varied) voice, loud purr, even walks loudly. His tabby sister was so much more reserved, much like your pair every interaction was done solely at her initiation. Now she’ll even present her belly for rubs (early attempts were – bloody). If only she would learn what scratching posts were and how to use them!

  65. 65
    gammyjill says:

    Seven years ago I also adopted a cat from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. He’s a magnificent Tuxie whose Shelter name was “Pit”. I immediately changed it to “Robin Obama” and he has fit beautifully into my cat household that at that time had two female cats. One of those cats died soon after “Robin” came, so I have two cats. The older one, “Alice Obama”, was adopted in 2008 from the Espanola Animal Shelter. The two cats adore each other – though they do fight – and are completely bonded. Also a great adoption story from Santa Fe (and Espinola).

  66. 66
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    In New England the term Brahmin usually reefers to A Cabot or a Lodge, or at least someone whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, or very shortly following that shipload. Button-down Brahmin usually means a white-shoe lawyer or perhaps a banker for old monied familes. Not a Doctor or Engineer, but someone who never actually does anything but gets highly paid for their expertise regardless of how little they do or accomplish.

    Nothing to do with Sanskrit at all, nor Indian high-caste folks either.

    ETA: It’s a little old-fashioned usage which is probably why you haven’t run into it before, but Senators from MA used to be called Brahmins if they were from the right families. Back in the ’50s and ’60s not so much more recently

    ETA2 I see I’m like the 4th person to explain this…sorry ’bout that.

  67. 67

    @J R in WV: I know what context she was using it in. I was analyzing it, using the actual word used. Obviously the initial comparison came from their similarities to Indian Brahmins.

  68. 68
    Mary G says:

    I am very late to the thread, but what a joy to read. My pair were very similar and still more reserved than yours with other people they don’t know, but little by little they relax and open up to new experiences. One is very skinny and one fat. I bought a cardboard box thing with holes in it to put kibble in so the fat one would have to work to eat. She is sweet but stupid and could not figure out how to work it. The scarily smart skinny one took exactly 24 hours to discover that if he flipped the box over, all the food fell out.

  69. 69
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G:

    She is sweet but stupid and could not figure out how to work it. The scarily smart skinny one took exactly 24 hours to discover that if he flipped the box over, all the food fell out.

    I laughed!

  70. 70
    barb 2 says:

    This is what I love about B.J.!

    Love for animals — from the white squirrel to all the furry family members cats, dogs, etc.

    Cats rule — dogs drool. (And I love both.)

  71. 71
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    What a great post!

    Luv it!

    Regarding Chairman Mao – should have named him Chairman Meow.

  72. 72
    Aleta says:

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks for this post.

    Neither was a great fan of close human interaction. Petting when they wanted it, yes, but no lapsitting, and they merely tolerated being picked up. I let them choose the times and methods of interaction.

    The parts that you wrote about their changes are interesting, especially giving them control of interaction. I have a cat now who (after 11 years here!) has just started to curl up half on my lap. She was a big biter/scratcher the first few years.

    Long story short, Zooey is no longer bitey and scratchy. Both cats present their bellies for rubbing and only occasionally attack the hand that pets them.

    That long story would also be interesting, since some of these cats that bite and scratch have terms that people can adapt to, if we can figure them out.

    This is a beautiful post.

  73. 73

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: I called him Chairman Meow from time to time.

  74. 74
    Msb says:

    Much continued joy to you all!

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