People seem to hope for a birthday to be memorable. This year, I was hoping for a low-key, relaxing sort of day. I didn't get it.
It was the first day in several that I could sleep in, which I tried my best to do. When we finally woke up, my wonderful husband showered me with gifts and I opened the cards I had received. We agreed to go out for breakfast and hit up the Little Falls antique shops. Everything was off to a perfect start.
But, then, I heard a call from the bathroom. Dave heard a cat meowing. "Well, sure, we've got cats," I said. He explained that it was coming from outside, and that it was loud and consistent. Still in my PJs, I headed outside to inspect further. After walking down off of our porch, I heard the nearby, high-pitched meow, turning around to see her (we thought) mulling about around the back of our house.
I knew immediately that she couldn't be a stray - or, at least, not a feral stray. She was way too affectionate, walking up to me and rubbing on my legs immediately. In retrospect, I suppose it could have been that I smelled like two male cats and she was in heat...but it wasn't "that type" of affection she was showing.
Eventually, Dave joined us outside, and we watched her wander up our porch stairs, back down and around the front of the house, casually enjoying the gorgeous day. The boys jumped onto their perch to further inspect, and Winston immediately fell in love. Exactly the way Davy Jones used to, with stars and everything. Or he wanted to eat the intruder. Either way, he was majorly interested. Beardslee seemed wary at first, but shortly seemed to be tilting his head in a sweet curious way.
We discussed what to do. We may be softies, but we take issue with cats who are a) possibly not fixed and b) allowed to roam free. Studies show that they have much shorter life spans...and, honestly, we take it HARD when we see a flattened cat on the side of the road. Like, let's take the day off to mourn sort of hard. (Not that we do.) So, we decided to call the humane society when they opened -- at noon, unfortunately (there went the lovely morning we had planned). It turned out that they couldn't take anymore cats publicly, but if we were to call animal control, they would be legally obligated to take her. My heart strings were tugging. She was so very sweet and beautiful, and there seemed to be a strange sign that she found us on my birthday, but I wanted any possible owners the opportunity to pick her up.
So, we made the very difficult decision to call animal control. Dave put the call in, and my heart slowly started to break. When they came and the little one fought not to go in the cage, the last piece of my heart broke. I quickly thrust her into the holder and briskly turned away, sobbing.
Two months later, and we had visited a few times...and, of course, no other owner had. We had named her "Abigail" (after Abigail Adams - if you haven't seen "John Adams", you MUST!), but the humane society quickly renamed her...Albert. Yep, apparently Albert had been fixed, and we saw zero evidence of his manhood. Oops. In my defense, Winston and Beardslee are the only male animals I've ever owned, so because they still have *ahem* "evidence" of what was "once there", I was misinformed. Let's blame our little well-endowed boys on this one. ;-)
After hours of conversation and days of saying "We'll talk more later", I couldn't wait any longer. We called and set up a pick-up (that afternoon!) and Dave called for a vet appointment for the next day. So, he got picked up by Mama - which isn't how Dave and I usually do things, but time was of the essence.
The next day, before bringing him to his appointment, Dave and I went through lists of English names that might go with our currently-Anglo boys. Sure, Winston is mostly "Wee Wee" (unless he's in trouble...which is A LOT of the time) and Beardslee is oftentimes "Boo", but Albert didn't fit this lil' guy's cute face, huge blue-yellow (yes, blue-yellow) eyes, and slight feistiness. It was between Jasper and another one that we can't seem to remember, so we decided to call Dave's mom for the final say (I voted Jasper, Dave voted the one that even HE can't remember now, ha). We sent her a picture and put in the call - Jasper it is! (I did a little victory dance.) It made sense, since the vowel sounds in "Albert" are similar to those in "Jasper", so it wouldn't be a difficult transition (to have a name with his prior owners, then the HS, then with us). Plus, I had been watching my old "Avonlea" DVDs and the name was on my mind - anyone know who I'm talking about? A thousand points to you, if so!
After getting his shots and check-over, Jasper was sequestered in our guest room for the drugs to take effect and for any parasites/fleas (luckily, there weren't any!) to fall off...and to acclimate him with his brothers a little at a time.
It's been a couple of weeks already, and the transition has been a lot smoother than when Winston came to live. We've noticed similarities that Jasper shares with Winston (such as his body language and energy; Beardslee's a sleeper and lover, not a prowler and fighter) as well as with Beardslee (FOOOOOOOOD!!!! Although all 3 boys are officially on diets. Oh, and a whork thing - I'm thinking Jasper's is because his crappy coat needs to come out...and he's eating lots of it). While there's no real fighting or hissing going on (like on Day #1), the strange thing is that Winston bats at Jasper (and he doesn't fight back) and Jasper tends to bat a bit at Beardslee (who doesn't fight back). I'd say that the dynamic will be different in a month...and even more different in 6 months.
So, we're officially outnumbered, and I've promised to my mother that "this is it." Seriously, the next addition should be a child...but not anytime soon. ;-)
There were so many possible titles for this post that I seriously considered this one (of course, only because it was in my head when we picked Jasper up - and I borrowed this CD from my best friend in high school and listened the crap out of it...seriously, a song named "I Like Chinese"? And, yes, I know the song is annoying.):