In our own backyard...And now, there is oneAfter so many years of nursing along elderly cats, we both pretty much agreed we’d love to adopt a couple of youthful kittens. And I, remembering the loving and lively personality of my beloved orange cat, Marmalade, decided they should be orange.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Our house has been empty for nearly half a year now, since the last of our elderly cats, Princess, went to meet her Maker.
After the passing of Princess, we were cat-less for the first time in as many years as either of us could remember, and it felt strangely empty not to have a friendly face there to meet us at the door, or rub up against our legs as we got ready for work in the morning, or snuggle up against us as we fell asleep at night.
After so many years of nursing along elderly cats, we both pretty much agreed we’d love to adopt a couple of youthful kittens. And I, remembering the loving and lively personality of my beloved orange cat, Marmalade, decided they should be orange.
All winter long, we put off our urge to “adopt” until the spring kitten season got under way. Along about March, I started visiting the area animal shelters on a regular basis and reading the classified ads looking for long-haired orange kittens.
I was excited to receive an e-mailed photo of a kitten from a fellow who said he had an orange kitten to give away. When I asked where I could see it, he suggested I meet him at the end of some alley in Superior, and I panicked and never replied.
Another woman who had an orange kitten to give away turned out to be from Detroit Lakes, some three to four hours away, and yet another sent me a photo of an orange kitten, but by the time I contacted her, their little boy had gotten so attached to the kitten they had decided to keep it!
And then, one day last week, Ken was looking on the website of one of the local animal shelters when he saw the photo of a big, orange, long-haired cat that had just been put up for adoption after being on the lam in the city streets for who knows how long.
Though I’d had my heart set on adopting kittens, I agreed to go and look at him, and as soon as I saw him, I knew my heart was lost for certain. I gently lifted him out of the cage and he snuggled his big body up to mine and rubbed both sides of his face up against me as though claiming me as his own.
The lady at the shelter said I could put a deposit down to “reserve” him for 24 hours until I was able to show him to Ken and we made up our minds.
As the two of us left for the shelter the following day, we decided to bring along our cat carrier “just in case.”
“I feel as though I’m on my way to the hospital for the birth of a new baby,” Ken mused as we drove to the shelter.
When we arrived and went into the back room to take a look at the big, orange cat, my heart skipped yet another beat as I saw the sign on his cage.
“ADOPTION PENDING,” it said.
It suddenly seemed more real.
I couldn’t possibly imagine turning around and walking away from him, but as it turned out, we didn’t have to worry about it. He took to us as much as we took to him.
After paying his adoption fee, we put him in our carrier and he meowed loudly as we drove him home. He explored every square inch of our house and then plopped down in front of the fireplace and squeezed his eyes shut as though he’d always belonged there.
We decided to name him “Mufasa,” after the father lion in the Disney film, “The Lion King.”
As Ken was lounging on the couch in front of the television later that evening, he commented, “If he jumps up and curls up next to me, I think I’m really going to like him.”
But alas, that was not to happen, since everything was still so new to Mufasa and he wasn’t quite at ease just yet.
When we went to bed that night, he jumped briefly up on our bed and then disappeared back into the living room, and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night. The next morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I heard Ken exclaim from the bedroom, “Oh my god – look!”
Fearing that Mufasa may have had an accident on the floor, I held my breath in dread. But as I rounded the corner, I looked down to where Ken was pointing and saw the limp body of a dead mouse on our bedroom floor.
“I don’t just like this cat,” Ken exclaimed, “ – I love him!”