Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Round Two

Ever since we got our new cat, Licorice, he's been struggling with digestive issues. We weren't told about his diarrhea (in fact, we were told he was in good health) by the people at the animal shelter until after we filled out the paperwork and paid for him. We were given a bottle of two days worth of medicine to give him as we were getting ready to go. 

It turned out that whatever he has is a whole lot more serious than what they thought and led us to believe. Despite our feeding him a hypoallergenic diet, and giving him various treatments prescribed by our vet, there has been no improvement in the last month. So Monday we took him back to the animal shelter. I know it sounds harsh, but the animal shelter is a no-kill shelter with a veterinary clinic on-site. The cattery, where the older cats are housed, is a bright, open space with chairs and toys and individual cages for night time or when kitty needs a break. With Licorice being there, he can be monitored by the vet and shelter staff on a regular basis and maybe they can help him better than we've been able to. Still, it was a sad moment. He's a nice little cat.

When hubby left with Licorice, he had decided he was not going to get another cat from the shelter. I wasn't surprised, though, when I got a call from him at the shelter saying they had a cute little tabby cat and did I want it? Of course, I said. 

Twenty minutes later, I get a second call. The tabby, it turns out, has a health problem of some kind, but they don't know what because no one is there who can read the note.

"I don't think this is a good idea," I warned.

"I don't either," said my husband, "But there is a black and white cat that looks like Squeaky."

"You mean D'Artagnan?" I ask. I love D'Artagnan. D'Artagnan is the cat that followed me all around the first time we went to the shelter. I am all in favor of D'Artagnan as our new cat. Apparently, D'Artagnan is all in favor of being our new cat, too, because while John and the shelter personnel were trying to decipher the vet note on the tabby, D'Artagnan jumped up on the clipboard and made his presence known. 

So D'Artagnan came home with John and promptly lost all his swagger. "What is this place?" appeared to be his first thought. He dashed around the mudroom, leaped from the sink into the cat food bowl, scattering cat food everywhere, then dashed into the next room and found a hiding spot under the printer stand in the corner. Every so often, a plaintive "meow" could be heard, but that was about it.

At this point Truffle returned from his morning stroll and noticed the carrier. He sniffed it all over, probably detecting a new smell, and then explored the faint "meow" coming from the corner. He seemed to decide it wasn't worth his while to mess with the newcomer and went off for his afternoon nap.

Two hours later,  D'Artagnan was nowhere to be found. John was sure he had escaped from the house, which meant that we needed to change his name to Houdini, because the only person who had been in and out of the house in that time was John, and he was equally convinced he hadn't let the cat out. Truffle, tired of pointless bickering on the part of his household staff, settled the issue by crouching in front of the oak armoire in his "watching the mouse hole" position until he was sure we got the message. This gave John a use for his new flashlight, checking under the armoire, where, sure enough, D'Artagnan had taken refuge.  He finally emerged at 8PM.

After that unpromising beginning, D'Artagnan has made himself at home. It took him a false start or two to figure out where the litter was, but other than that we haven't had any problems. He and Truffle mostly ignore each other, with a hiss or growl when they happen to cross paths. We haven't had to close off the bedroom wing, though.

We're still holding out hope the shelter vets can figure out what is wrong with Licorice and either cure it or get it under control. John told them we'd be happy to take him back if they do. We've had five cats before. We can certainly deal with three.

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