And Let There Be Ruby

I have a miniscule shadow, and her name is Ruby. She is thirteen weeks old, and she skitters all around the house like a rat on caffeine. Thor is warming up to her slowly– this morning he allowed her to rub against him and go under him to get to her food. Alice, our Queensland Heeler, wants to play but Ruby is too small for the way Alice plays. For now, they are either separated or heavily supervised.

Has any little creature ever purred so much?

We all loved each other immediately.
We all loved each other immediately. Here we are on the bathroom floor, where we introduced ourselves.

She is box trained, and I didn’t know cats could be spayed so young. I wonder if that will affect her little insides as she grows older? There is a local no-kill shelter, called Cat House on the Kings, and not long after Mister Pink died I started thinking about whether to go there or to the local SPCA.

You see, the death of Mister Pink affected all of us– but left me heartbroken. I mean, he was my cat. He chose me. I’m the one who feeds the animals and everybody loves everybody, but Thor purrs loudest for my daughter, Alice goes ape for my husband– and Mister Pink was mine. As soon as he was gone, there was a cat-shaped hole in my life, and lavishing extra attention on the other animals wasn’t quite the same because they didn’t really want it!

I tried to wait longer. I felt like the funeral meats were furnishing the wedding table. But Thor seemed lonely too, without his cohort to pester, and my daughter would get a kitten every day of her life if she could (Kittens! Glitter! Fairies!). My husband was in favor of, “Whatever,” and so I took that as consent.

Because I knew I’d be taking my daughter with me, and she is seven, I thought the SPCA might be a bit much for her. So many animals, and there is the pall of doom hanging over them all. Hell, I didn’t know if I was up for that, either. I would end up taking home an entire litter, probably.

At the Cat House on the Kings, there is no pall of doom because it is a no-kill shelter. While they are located in Parlier, every Saturday they bring an assortment of cats (and dogs) to a pet store here in town, and you can choose. There are older cats, teenagers, and kittens– all carefully labeled if they have special needs, or if they would do better with littermates, alone, or with or without dogs or children. Also, some of them are fostered. So while our Ruby was technically from Cat House on the Kings, she was actually fostered in a loving home, with people who pet her and gave her attention and played with her. You can tell. She is very people oriented and affectionate.

Another thing I liked, that I didn’t really expect when my daughter and I walked into the pet store, was that the ladies/foster moms asked a lot of questions. They were not going to give the animals away to just anybody. They assessed my daughter’s readiness, our household, and there was lots of paperwork to fill out. I got the sense that they would not have had a problem telling me (if it had turned out that we were an unsuitable fit), “No kitten for you!” and I liked that. Ruby’s foster mother was there, but there were three other ladies, too, who were all asking questions (and making conversation) but the inquisitiveness was purposeful. They are a no-kill shelter– and not in any hurry to get rid of anybody, it seems. Good for them!

Here is Ruby, as soon as we let her out of the cat carrier. She spent her first few hours in the bathroom, but has graduated to the rest of the house. Intrepid little thing!
Here is Ruby, as soon as we let her out of the cat carrier. She spent her first half hour in the bathroom, but has graduated to the rest of the house. Intrepid little thing!

So, for $50, we came home with a spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped kitten, a bunch of pet store coupons, and even a cat carrier. We had to promise not to declaw her or let her be an outside cat (some cats are specified as outdoor kitties, though), and if we decided we didn’t want to keep her, we also had to promise to bring her back to the Cat House on the Kings. If she gets sick in the next two months (or was that weeks? There was so much paperwork! I have filled out less to open a bank account, I think) we also contact the Cat House. And her boosters are free if we contact them and let them know we are coming.

We made the right decision. The scamprous little thing is already as attached to us as we are to her! She moves too fast for the camera on my phone, but sometime today she will have to take a nap– and then the snapshot parade will begin!

My daughter just woke up and said, “Already I feel we’ve had Ruby since I was born,” and there can’t be a better fit than that, can there?

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