Dance, Kittens, Dance: A Fur-baby Story

As promised in my last post, “Updating Life,” this is the story of our two Meezers, Jitterbug and Lindyhop, but mostly about Jitterbug.

I found Jitters first. I’d been checking every place I could think of for potential fur-babies.

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“Sophie” in the shelter

Pretty quickly I found PetFinder. Great website because it partners with a lot of shelters and you can search by animal, breed, age, gender, and distance. Jitters was listed as Sophie and was quite a ways away (a good two hour drive at least), but she was absolutely gorgeous so I had to give her shelter a call.

The lady that ran the shelter was honest with me.

She felt that Jitters would never be a social cat. Jitters wouldn’t interact with her at all and would hiss when she would try to pet her. She’d never bitten the lady, but then, the lady hadn’t really given her the opportunity. We could have her for free, but it was with the understanding that we would never have a nice friendly cat that would cuddle and purr. Her history was largely unknown, except that she’d been found with her sister, Suki, and brought to the shelter.

Well, I wasn’t daunted by that, and neither was my roommate. My family had once said I could tame bobcats, and I doubted I’d lost that touch. And besides, free Siamese cat. Look at her, she’s gorgeous! So we made the drive.

After a good 5 hour trip, we eventually made it home with our new friend. Except our new friend hardly acknowledged our existence. She wouldn’t eat, play, groom, or do much of anything except for hide in the corner of the couch and make herself as small as possible.

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Jitters’s first night–a scared little jellybean
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Making a claim

We should have kept her in the bathroom for the first few days, but we let her roam free on the first night. I thought she was too scared to move from her spot. At some point after we’d gone to bed, she found a way to hide behind the couch. After that, we kept her in the bathroom, where she tried hiding behind the toilet or would sit in the bathtub as the faucet dripped on her. We got her purring a little bit in there.

Her favorite place was under the couch, so we devised ever increasingly determined ways of keeping her out from under the couch. All failed. Jitters is an incredibly smart cat. She would pull out blankets stuffed underneath the couch to make room for herself and she learned how to turn on the bathroom light and would open cupboards to find new hiding places. She even knocked over the treat bag so they spilled out and she could eat as many as she wanted.

She slowly started coming out of her shell, though. She would run when we came near, and we would play extended games of chase that only ended when she decided she would let us touch her or we gave up. But when we did get to pet her, she’d purr more and more willingly, and even cuddle a little bit.

Since it had been the plan to adopt a second cat, and we felt that Jitters would be a lot less jittery if she had a playmate and friend, we started looking around for another cat, preferably a Siamese, though we kept our eyes open, not expecting to get so lucky twice.

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Lindy’s first day

As it turns out, our luck held. I found a second Siamese on PetFinder, a lynx-point named Snow, at a local shelter. Given the adoption cost of that shelter against the driving costs to pick up Jitters, we basically got them for the same amount. We adopted her and renamed her Lindyhop, or Lindy. And Lindy loves everyone.

Well,  Jitters was not too keen on having a friend. Their first introduction occurred with lots of growling and hissing, on her part. No outright fights, but Lindy was smart enough to know when Jitters was telling her to stay away and Jitters wouldn’t pursue her. We kept them mostly apart and they were only in the same room together when one of us was home.

For a little while, Jitters became angry at pretty much everything. She would bite and scratch and hiss and wouldn’t let anyone close. I’m thinking there were simply too many changes too quickly.

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Time passed and her anger went away. Jitters started accepting Lindy’s existence and let her get close, and then Lindy started working her magic on Jitters. Pretty soon they were fast friends. Perhaps not bffs, but close enough.

Fast forward a few weeks and Jitters has laid a claim on me and I can see Lindy starting to claim my roommate. Jitters will jump on to the couch with me of her own volition and place her paw on my leg, purring and purring for attention, and she’ll follow me around the apartment wherever I am, and she’s even starting to crawl into my lap of her own will.

And suddenly, my roommate and I are cat parents.

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