Friday, November 30, 2007

And baby makes 14

This comes as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me, but it did come as a surprise to me. A while back, we took a feral kitten in, had her spayed, and took care of her for a friend who was supposed to pick her up. That was two months ago. I guess it goes without saying we are keeping her. Without further ado, meet Phoebe:

She looks like a cross between Kiki, our tortie, and Olivia Finnoula Siobahn P.G., aka Kitters. If anyone is thinking about adopting a feral kitten, know that it can take a LONG long time for them to come around. These are not kittens that pounce and purr as soon as you bring them home; rather, they run and hide every time you enter the room and look for the easiest way out of your home. However, every day that Phoebe gets a little closer, rubs on my legs (marking me as her own); every little step is a huge milestone. This morning she let me pet her on the head and tail. That is big!

My mother, who used to head up a cat shelter, was concerned about this kitten when I first mentioned we'd be adopting her out. Since she was slightly older (about two months), she was really past the point of what cat specialists usually think of as the time frame for socializing a feral kitten. However, I knew that life for a cat on the streets of Costa Rica is not good (many are poisoned, shot, etc., or run over by cars, and otherwise have to hack it out on their own), so I was determined not to give up on her. And this morning I was rewarded by being able to pet her head. Only briefly, of course, and after months of much patience and kindness. Even our three-year-old son knows that he must be extremely gentle and quiet around her if he wants to win her over. I think he will. It's just a matter of time.

So if you're wondering about the title, that is 9 dogs and 5 cats. I never thought I'd have double digit animals, though I have always loved having animals in my life. Living in California, you have to basically fill out an affidavit sworn in by an attorney and two witnesses certifying that you will hand over your firstborn should any damage ever be done by a kitten you might want to adopt, when renting from a landlord who left the same carpet on the floor for the last 20 years, because he really cares that much about his house. Bah. When I was going to school at UCSC, I was advised by someone at the housing department to "leave my precious pets with my parents," never mind that I was a "returning" student (aka, all grown up with no place to go) and my singular parent lived 3,000 miles away. That really made me laugh. I thanked her for her help and sought a place on my own. The only place that would take me, esposo (then-novio), two cats and two Chihuahuas was a guy who rented a trailer in the Watsonville sticks. And I was more than willing to take it, when the guy renting an ex-crack house right near downtown Santa Cruz said we could move in the former garage if we wanted to. (Of course, we took the "apartment." It didn't get much better than that; how could we refuse? The other people who lived there made it the most wonderful place to live, actually, with the exception of Crazy Chris and her boyfriend and their crazy dog.)

We have a big, beautiful new home here just outside of Grecia now, and the landlord had not a single problem with us having 9 dogs and (at that point) 4 cats. He even said we could convert the dog pen in the back into a chicken coop (though I don't think I will after all -- keeping chickens can be heartbreaking if you really love them as pets). Can't complain. Life is good.

1 comment:

  1. She is a beauty. I am not surprised you are in the double digits, though. You have a big heart.