Friday, 24 March 2017

There Is Now A Cat In My Family

I always thought of myself strictly as a dog person. I never thought that my family would own a cat. This was mostly due to the fact that we thought that my Dad was allergic to cats since he used to be allergic to several animals. He was allergic to the guinea pig that we had years ago and we didn't figure it out until the guinea pig died and my Dad's allergy symptoms and asthma symptoms decreased (we later tested him out with a skinny pig/hairless guinea pig in a pet shop but he even reacted to that!). He has always been okay with all of the other pets that we've had like dogs, rabbits, birds, and hamsters. He got allergy shots (never finished them but got enough of them to manage most of the allergies) when he was younger. I guess that's why he's okay with a lot of pets. That and the exposure that he's had since we have always lived with several pets at once. But we have still never owned a cat because we thought that he was still allergic to them. He always seemed fine, however, with the cats at my aunt and great-aunt's house. I always liked the cats at their house but I kept my strict dog person label because I had accepted that my family would never have one. I never even thought that I'd have a cat when I was older. I just really love dogs since I have had them for all of my life.

This year, my Mom suddenly seemed interested in visiting cats in adoption centres and I soon found out why. Not only was she thinking about volunteering at one, but she was also thinking about actually fostering a cat. We visited three different adoption centres, visiting two of them several times. I opened myself up to the idea of having a cat. It would be fun! Cats are different from dogs. They don't require as much attention and they just do their own thing. They aren't as rough as dogs and they can be very cuddly. I became quite excited but I couldn't get my hopes up because we still didn't know if my Dad's allergies would act up and there was also the fact that my Mom was thinking of fostering a cat which meant that it would go to another home if someone wanted to adopt it. I'll tell you the truth, I didn't think that I could deal with fostering a cat. I think anyone that fosters pets is absolutely amazing because a lot of people will actually foster several pets (whether they be dogs or cats) at a time, giving them a loving and caring home until they can be adopted. But I get really attached to my pets. Fostering a cat would mean that there was a possibility that the cat would be given away and then I would be sad. I know that people are probably thinking "Well, you just have to get used to that if you choose to foster a pet." I understand this. But when I get a pet, it becomes family. And having to give it away would be really hard. We once had a horse that we had to sell to someone else because he was not trained enough for us to handle him but that wasn't hard because I never got attached to him enough. Of course I loved him, but we didn't spend a ton of extra time with him because he wasn't safe enough to ride and I was kind of scared because I didn't have a lot of experience with horses (my Mom was the one who had experience with horses).

We didn't end up fostering a cat, though, because we adopted one! My Mom met a really nice tuxedo cat named Pingu one time when she was visiting an adoption centre and, after looking up more information about him through the online posting that the adoption centre put on the internet for each of their cats, she wanted to go back to see him with all of us. He was found in one of the neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Sudbury and ended up in the animal shelter for a few weeks before ending up at the adoption centre. My Mom told me that they keep the animals at the shelter for a few weeks just in case the animal escaped from a home and has owners who come looking for them. It gives the possible owners a chance to claim back their pet. If nobody claims the pet, then they end up in an adoption shelter. Pingu was neutered and had his shots updated before going to the adoption centre. When we met him, we all loved him. He was such a sweetheart. We could tell that he was nervous but he let us pick him up and hold him without any kind of struggle. We got my Dad to hold him to test him out and my Dad was fine! If my Dad would have reacted, it would have been instant. We decided to adopt him. It was March 13th. We bought a starter kit but we couldn't bring Pingu home until the next day, March 14th, since the day that we adopted him was just too busy for us. We took advantage of this time by buying cat supplies, preparing the downstairs bathroom for him, and I read a booklet about caring for cats. We decided that we would keep the name given to him at the adoption centre because Pingu was the name of a claymation TV show about a penguin that my brother and I used to watch as kids and we thought it was such a cute name.

When we brought him home the next day, we put him in the downstairs bathroom and kept him there for the next few days. He had everything he needed: food, water, litter box, blankets, scratching post/tree, and toys. There is even a window in that bathroom that has a ledge so he can sit and look outside. We wanted him to adjust to his litter box and food and water dishes in his new home. We didn't want to stress him out with a house that has a main floor and a basement plus several other pets. We would visit him in the bathroom which is now his bathroom. He was so sweet when we'd visit him. If we were sitting, he would often walk over to us and climb up into our laps to cuddle. After a few days, we started letting him out for short amounts of time to let him start to explore a bit. He started with the basement and my Mom started bringing him upstairs, with him eventually going upstairs on his own. He got to meet our other pets: our dog, our rabbit, our birds, and our fish. Our dog was very interested in Pingu but Pingu would hiss at him or swat at him if he got too close. Our rabbit was scared of Pingu. The first time he saw him, our rabbit was in his own cage but he was still scared and he stomped. One time, our rabbit was out hopping around the living room and when he saw the cat he became frightened and raced back to his cage. Our pets still all have to get adjusted to Pingu and Pingu still needs to get used to our other pets but we see little signs of all of them starting to adjust to each other.

So far, Pingu has really been adjusting to our house. We are now seeing his curious, playful side. He loves exploring. He doesn't really like playing with little balls or little plush toys but he loves chasing the light from a laser pointer and he also enjoys stealing larger stuffed animals or pieces of clothing to play with. He is also quite vocal. He often meows while he's walking around. He also meows every time we pick him up as if he is protesting but he never bites us or scratches us. When he's exploring, he prefers to cuddle by his own choice. If we ignore him and let him do his own thing while he's touring the house, he'll sometimes jump up onto our laps to crawl up and rest. Sometimes he'll just jump up onto an empty chair or the couch to curl up for a nap. He has his playful times and his nap times, just like our dog and rabbit. He has his own little personality and it's ending up to be very cute. I have fallen in love with this cat, just like I have with all of my pets, and he has become a part of our family. I can now say that I am both a dog and a cat person (as well as a rabbit person). Having a cat, if only for a few weeks so far, has shown me how amazing these animals are. Now, hopefully his presence will keep the mice out of the house too.


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