Picture it, Philadelphia, Memorial Day Weekend, 2009.
I was a little over a month into homeownership and decide to hit the local pet shelter to look, just look at the cats. One does not simply walk into a pet shelter and walk out again empty handed. But I get ahead of myself.
I took a couple circuits. There was Ray Charles, the orange stripped kitten with no eyes. And there was Trouble, a smokey grey kitten with three legs. There were others, with all their legs and eyes, but seven-plus years on, I couldn’t tell you.
Trouble had my eye. She seemed like a sweet little thing. But having never owned a cat, I wasn’t sure I was ready to jump in with one with three legs, even thought she seemed quite active and capable.
But I continued along and spotted this blue-eyed, blond cat in one of the upper cages. I’d never seen a blond cat, not to mention a blond cat with a hodge-podge of other markings. And those blue eyes. I read the card about Skye, just over a year old, had been with one family but it just didn’t work out, didn’t like other cats. No biggie, one cat would be more than enough (and all my condo bylaws allowed–I did do that much research).
So I asked one of the people there if I could take a closer look, and the girl pulled her out and Skye just kind of chilled, like, yup, whatevs. I can’t remember if I held her or not, but I did ask for more clarification about why she’d been brought back, like was it a behavior issue. But no, just not a good fit.
I said thanks, Skye went back in the cage, and I continued around, stopped by Trouble’s cage, then went and stood in front of Skye’s. Somehow I knew she was the one.
So an adoption fee and money for a plastic crate later, Skye and I stepped out into the bright Philadelphia sunshine.
Now this was before I’d gotten smart and programmed a couple cab companies into my phone. Everyone I tried to flag was occupied. So, I gave up and started walking, thinking I’d grab one at some point.
By the end of 20 long, hot city blocks, we arrived at my condo. I was a sweaty mess, Skye was crying like “What the fuck are you doing to me, crazy human?” (probably part of the reason we have issues getting her into her carrier when we have to hit the vet; although, the vet and tech have NO trouble, jerks). Did I mention the carrier was awkward as hell and lugging that plus 12 lbs. of cat 20-odd blocks in the heat left us both worn the hell out? Yeah, she used to be 12 lbs. Ha!
Got in the door, got to the elevator, and just as the doors were closing, the door came free on the carrier, and I got my first taste of just how damn much Skye sheds. Add in my sweat and some of her puke… Somehow, I got us both into my condo. Not sure if I managed to get her back in the carrier or just wrangled it, her, and my keys.
Skye went and hid. I stripped down, rinsed off, and realized that, fuck me, I had a cat, a carrier, and nothing else. No litter, no food, nothing. There were tears. Especially when I realized Steph was out camping in the woods for the weekend and out of touch. So I rang up Deb, who was out doing something with her family, had a bit of a melt down and asked for advice on what the hell I was supposed to do. Get cleaned up, go get food and litter. And I did just that, making sure I knew where Skye was hiding (under the bed) before trudging a mile down into the city and back again. Why didn’t I call a cab? Yeah, I still wonder that. I might have hailed one back because food and litter would’ve been heavy. *shrug*
Then I got home, Skye was still under the bed, and I realized I didn’t have a litter pan. So, I pulled apart the carrier of doom, placed the bottom on a towel, filled it with litter, and used one of my large slotted plastic spoons as a scoop.
Eventually I got a real litter tray that went between the wall and my washer/dryer unit before I upgraded to a larger one and moved the litter under the bathroom sink. I still haven’t decided if Skye was more annoyed by the new washer/dryer because I moved the litter or because she could no longer go behind it and hide (that was a fun day the first time she did that! I ran around my floor looking for her before it occurred to me that maybe there was one place I hadn’t looked.).
We’ve had our ups and downs, but never downs as bad as that long walk home. Lord, what an idiot. Me, not her, obviously. She’s got me well trained. Wakes me up at 5 am for food, pees in the tub, sometimes by the door (mainly due to marking her territory and if I’ve done something to annoy her). I’ve learned to deal with scarf and barf and vet bills that make my eyes roll back when I let them talk me into getting her teeth cleaned.
I wouldn’t trade her for anything. She’s no lap cat, but she gets cuddly in bed from time to time, and likes to follow me everywhere until she realizes I’m going to be around all day and then hies off to curl up under the bed or in the bed under all the covers or in the closet or behind the bathroom door or in the tub if she hasn’t peed in it already…
So, yeah, that’s the story of how I got Skye.