Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A good fit

Many moons ago our family suffered a loss. In England, Nonna had lost her ancient cat. Although he arrived as a stray, upon the expiry of his ninth life, he was no castaway.

The death of a pet leaves a hole in someone’s life. If that person also happens to be elderly, younger people worry. Nonna was resigned, so when she appeared for her annual visit, we decided to lure and charm her into weakness.

Hence we headed off to the Humane Society.

The brother kittens that chose us, viewed Nonna and her room as a refuge and sanctuary. Our children were on a steep learning curve, with Nonna as counselor. The primary lesson was a negative one, ‘don’t kill with love.’ Oh how kind they were to those cats every living, breathing minute of the day. I was glad for Nonna’s counter balance, as I was in a state of shock. The arrival of felines also saw the arrival of words, lots of them, all lumped together in whole sentences. Non-verbal no longer. It was me that was dumbfounded, speechless to correct or curtail as I basked in surplus syllables.

They carried them around like babies, upturned and stunned. They poured adoration upon them as well as a great deal of spittle. The soggy cats endured microscopic examination of their persons. How clever to have a tail! What magnificent teeth! Claws that were retractable. They were the source of endless entertainment.

We had a slew of "Social Stories" about how to be a pal to your puss. We practiced stroking. We practiced stroking in the right direction. We also spent an inordinate amount of time being cats and pretend play burst into the foreground in full technicolour.

All too soon, it was time for the cats to get physical, or rather, have a physical at the Vets. With the children left in the tender loving care of their father, Nonna and I sallied forth with cat basket, such that she too could experience first hand, the American way.

A visit to the vet is a protracted event, especially if you have two cats rather than one. Each in turn was taken away for a physical examination.

Upon return, the vet looked grave. She passed the brothers back to us to put them in their crate. Nonna and her walking cane leant against the wall to cuddle normal cat. I put my finger tips on the table whilst atypical cat hid under my then long hair.

“You know……..there’s no nice way to say this,” she said nicely, lowered head and soft body posture.
“Eh? Wot she say?”
“Oh gawd!”
The vet blinked but carried on, “I’m afraid he has some serious behavioural issues.”
“Eh? Wot she say?”
“He er……......he seems to have failed to have bonded to his mother.”
“Eh? Wot she say?”
“He um……exhibits dysfunctional and antisocial habits.”
“Eh? Wot she say?”
"Additionally he exhibits abnormally high levels of anxiety."
"Eh? Wot she say?"

The vet paused, presumably for the enormity of her message to sink in.

“Wot you do about dat den?” asked Nonna directly as she winked at me, “does e need….....…therapy?”

She giggled.

The vet did not.

I pursed my lips to contain my snort.

The vet looked at us uncertainly. “Well I certainly think that this is a little kitty that is gonna need some real special care.”

I removed atypical, together with his needle claws from the back of my neck, picked up the cat carrier to make our way to the ‘exorbitant payment area’ otherwise known as reception.

Nonna watched me as I wrote out a cheque for a minor mortgage on a fixer upper.
“Well phtt!” she exclaimed complete with accompanying hand gestures.
“Well what is dat for den! Dat is…….incredible.”
“Pretty standard out here I’m afraid.”
“No,...... not the bill …….although dat is also unbelievable.”
“Well……all I’m saying is……. dah cats………...dey ave come to the "right place" aven’t they!”


Osh said...

Maddy! We love that book! One of our all time favorites. And we have 2 out of 5 that would qualify for that special therapy...well maybe all 5 do if I am honest.

Osh said...

cats I mean, not people...

Anonymous said...

Lucky kitty found the right home.

I would have been laughing out loud at the vet along with Nonna.

J said...

Yes, the kitty found the right home. : ) I don't imagine you anticipated hearing words about social issues from the vet though! Oh, the irony of life...

Angela said...

When we brought our cat home they told us that she has a tendency to over-groom and that she had been on anti-depressants to curb the problem. I don't know how J and I made it through the 'you know she might have to be medicated...' We felt these kitties were well placed too. The other one must have failed to bond with her mother as well...she is an anti-social turd.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

social issues? huh? man, times sure have changed! enjoy the cats honey!!!

smiles, bee

Niksmom said...

LOL! My husband I constantly comment on how crazy our cats are and then acknowledge that they fit right in in our household! What counts is how they and they kids get on together. Seems like a good fit, indeed!

LceeL said...

Suddenly verbal!! How cool. And yes, it would seem the cats chose wisely.

happycfam said...

LOL! I don't know anything about cats, but this is pretty funny!

Thanks you for your kind comments on my daughter's blog!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Hi Maddy - love it - nursing my 17 year old cat . . . he is quite a character and has his own 'funny little ways' which you ignore at your peril.

Thank you for your comments on my blog - did you manage to find Purpelcoo . . .


Suzy said...

One of my dogs has "social issues".

But I adore her...

You do not find animals...they find you.



Jayne said...

We've got 5 cats and the 3 females are all nuts LOL.
I think they've been bonding with their mother (me) too much :P

Hammer said...

I've never met a cat without an antisocial behavioral problem. I think it is all part of their mystique.

Jocelyn said...

You get me every time. I don't even like cats.

But in this minute, I do.

mumkeepingsane said...

Oh Maddy! A post that made me laugh and cry...and it was about cats!!!

Laura said...

Oh no! Whatever will you do! Kidding. We brought home two adult cats last summer. They were from the same cat room at the adoption center, and I was sure that meant they got along. Not so. They still eye each other evilly and one will pounce on the other every chance she gets, although she does it a bit playfully. I think their issues are more for being abandoned as adults, though. You know, more cat psychology for you. Strangely enough, I'm not "working with" them at all -- whichever cat gets to the bed first gets to sleep on our bed, whichever cat gets to my lap first gets to sit there when I watch TV. Poor cats will never learn to behave normally, as I haven't worked with them hours a day in cat therapies!

Joeymom said...

Kind of like our cat- we're all diabetic. Including the cat. The vet make this huge deal about giving her shots, and I just said, "Can we use our regular needles?" My mom had a neurotic cat. In fact, the lady who had her gave her to mom specifically because she figured my mom could take care of it. Who knew cats could be autistic, too?

Michelle O'Neil said...

I am laughing here as our new kitten hides beneath the treadmill(at least someone uses it).

Nonna is a riot!

How many blogs do you have girl? I never even knew about this one until I clicked on your comment today.

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