Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

The New Cat

I’ll be honest here. The weeks leading up to Einstein’s euthanasia were stressful for me, but I was still marginally creative. Mainly with crocheting, but a little with my writing. After he died, though, I entered a severely depressive state wherein I didn’t feel like creating. This was from Wednesday the 4th of October. I came home numb, out of sorts, and depressed. The only reason why I created at all though was because I got out of the house and went up to the pride center to hang out to escape my empty home. Frankly, my apartment wasn’t the same without a little bundle of fur around. It was depressing. Honestly, I wouldn’t have believed how much a little cat could fill a home, no matter how small, if not for my experience with Einstein, and losing him was absolutely devastating for me.

Even with all that, though, I wasn’t sure about getting another cat right away. I kept telling my mom that I’d wait on getting another cat. Maybe a month or two. But I spent time on various pet adoption sites browsing the pics of their cats. Mom sometimes joined me, and we’d repeatedly go through the cats posted on the Salt Lake County Animal Services website. By Friday, I’d worked up a list of cats and kittens I was interested in checking out, should they be there still. Oh, and I’d made tentative plans to go with Mom to the shelter if my friends and I didn’t game, and Mom said she’d go with me to pay the fees for the new cat.

One of the things Mom did on Thursday was contact the Salt Lake County Animal Services about Einstein’s death. According to Mom, the head of the office (whose name I can’t spell based on how it sounds and can’t find anywhere on the website) was dismayed to hear of Einstein’s death and the reason for it. She even asked Mom for the name of the illness that took him, and Mom thinks that’s because the other kittens who were in the kennel cage with him also had Feline Infectious Peritonitis. As a result of that call Mom made, the director of Salt Lake County Animal Services agreed to waive the adoption fee, even offering to allow me to adopt two cats free of adoption fees if I wished. But Friday proved to be a wash for the trip. Mom and I both had rough nights of sleep, so even though my friends couldn’t game, we agreed to go Saturday.

So, on Saturday, Mom came over and helped me clean and disinfect my apartment to ensure my new wouldn’t come down with the same disease that took Einstein. By two that afternoon, we were on our way to the shelter. This required a trip by commuter train and a brief walk. When we arrived, I checked in and received permission to go look at the cats, and Mom and I went back.

Leery of getting a kitten as young as Einstein was when I adopted him, I didn’t spend much time looking at the younger kittens. Mom and I had agreed that we wanted one old enough to have had its rabies vaccination already, if I did get a kitten. For the most part, though, I looked at the adult cats, one year old and older. This time, there were a number of people in the cattery: An older couple who were in one of the cat colony rooms when Mom and I entered and a family with kids. It was quite busy back there, a lot of activity with the kids opening kennels to play with and cuddle the kittens in them.

I eventually moved into a little offshoot room where cats in individual kennels were. Nearly all these cats were at least one year old. After some observation and careful “testing” by tapping the bars of the kennels, we discovered a pair of neighboring cats who seemed interested in us. One was a black-furred female cat who was about two years old. The other was a white and grey-and-brown patchwork cat we’d seen online. The black cat was vocal and stuck her paw out the cage whenever we took our hands away. The patchwork cat was also female, and she was around nine years old, if I recall correctly; she tucked herself right up against the bars of her cage for attention, wanting to be touched. I honestly didn’t know which one of these two I wanted, but Mom suggested I not be hasty—she wasn’t going to rush me—and to look around some more.

Since I couldn’t decide on either of these two cats, I agreed, and we left the little offshoot room and returned to the main (brief) corridor where the cat colony rooms were off of. The family with the kids had moved on to a different kennel with kittens, and the older couple had moved to a different colony room. Noticing that the cats in the first two colony rooms weren’t really interested in Mom and me (or the older couple, who moved from the middle room to the left-hand room while I watched), I decided to go to room three, on the far right, close to where a staff entrance was.

The cats were more lively in this room, and two were right by the window beside the door. Both of them meowed (I couldn’t hear through the glass, but their mouths opened), and the smaller of the two started climbing this funky looking cat tree that seemed just to be wide rods covered in carpeting that stood beside the window. I looked into the window in the door and saw the other cats were interested as well, so opened the door and stepped in.

Immediately the smaller of the two talkative cats reached out for me. I turned to say something to Mom, and the cat first put both forepaws on my backpack (a type with one strap, meant to be slung crosswise over the body), then hopped up to climb up me. This was the last thing I’d expected, but I was amused and let the cat twine up over my shoulders and around the back of my head—by the way, this was before I even shut the door. Mom looked at me and said, “I think you’ve got your cat!”

Agreeing wholeheartedly, I asked Mom to go get an employee and shut the door so the other cats wouldn’t escape, remaining in the room. While I waited for the minute or so it took an employee to come fetch this cat, it continued to make loops around my head. Mom returned, and she pointed out some pictures hung on the wall perpendicular to the entrance, within view of the window, and opened the door to ask me which cat it was. I honestly could not determine from the pictures on the cards which cat had chosen me. It must be said that everyone who saw how this cat glommed me was amazed at its behavior; nobody had ever seen anything like it.

When the staff member came to fetch the cat, she said she was glad they’d finally been able to move him to the adoption rooms—he’d been in seclusion because he got into an altercation with another cat and ended up wounded and they had to keep him secluded to ensure the wound would heal. She told us the cat’s name was Hendrix and they thought he was seven months old; she’d bring him out to us if we went out to the front desk.

So Mom and I went back out to the main room. There, I signed the paperwork, Mom paid the licensing fee, and I received my new cat!

Hendrix!

Hendrix on Home Day 7 Oct 17

2 Comments

  1. Aw, he definitely chose you! Very sweet. Congrats on the new cat.

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