Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If you ever want proof that I'm an incurable sucker

...all you need to do is look at Rhett.

While living in Windsor I went with Sara one day to help her rescue a kitten who was sick and going to be put down. I was absolutely NOT going to go home with another animal. I was merely tagging along for the ride.

I came home an hour later having adopted Rhett.

He had been in a tiny 2x2x2 crate at the humane society for a few weeks already and was an older cat. When I walked past his crate he reached out with his paw (and claws). I was hooked literally and figuratively. I opened the door and he purred and meowed with all his might. He wriggled around in my arms like he was trying to make sure as many square inches of his body as was possible were touching me and being petted. He nearly fell out of my arms a few times. I don't think I've ever seen a creature who was more happy just to be held.

With fresh tooth marks on my hands and arms from his zealous love bites I gladly whipped out my debit card and decided I couldn't leave without him.*

I named him Rhett, but the name doesn't suit him at all. He's a Gilligan. He loves everyone and everything but isn't among the brainiacs of the animal world. He often sees a nail in the wall and thinks it's a spider and will pounce on it. Repeatedly. He bites things (and people) when he's hungry. If someone came into our house right now and paid attention to him he'd leave in a second to go live with them, and forget he ever lived here. Not maliciously or anything, he'd just be so excited he'd forget about us.

The twist, of course on this new plan was that Miss Scarlett (aka Miss. Hissy, Miss. Pissy, or Miss. Crankypants) already ruled the roost** at home. Thankfully I knew bringing Rhett home wouldn't be smooth so no great expectations.

His first few days Rhett lived in the TINY bathroom of my Windsor apartment. He was un-tutored which meant he was fond of spraying, as adult males do. It also meant the pink monster (or red rocket) would occasionally pop up when I was petting him. This led to me running from the bathroom a couple of times.

Scarlett spent the first two weeks on a stakeout outside the bathroom door, hissing and growling to welcome him. When he was finally released from the confines of the bathroom after a trip to the vet's, she spent the next months chasing him to beat him up for intruding on HER space.

Nearly two years later I catch him coming to see her when she's sleeping, hoping for a quick few licks on the head or someone to snuggle up to. She's still fond of biting his ear, but it's more of an affectionate bite now than an "I'm going to tear you to shreds, dummy" bite.

He was a skinny little cat with wiry, coarse hair when I got him. He's now a plump sausage shaped cat who still loves nothing more than to curl up on you, purring loudly, flailing wildly. He's a master at both breaking into bags of expensive diet cat food, and none-too-stealthily-but-very-persistently eating from the dogs' bowls. He goes after cat toys with such focus it's as though he's possessed. He loves sleeping like Big Bird, with his paws stretched over his head.

The moment I come home Rhett comes racing for the door, belly jiggling and meowing the whole way as though he's telling me about his day. When he gets within a few feet he usually flops on the floor and rolls around on his belly meowing. It's like he's doing an impression of bacon frying. He couldn't be happier. It's as though his brain has some wires mixed up which make him permanently happy, for no reason. There isn't a mean bone in his body or a mean thought in his head (Dave would correct me and say there are no thoughts in his head).

I'm so glad I ignored all common sense and didn't leave him at the shelter that day, almost two years ago now.


*well, actually the shelter had a policy where you had to wait 24 hours before picking up an animal, and it was a Saturday so I actually did leave that day but came back on Monday to get him.

**if she could talk she'd point out it was her house.

***This fact also meant that the pink monster (aka red rocket) would show up if you pet him too much and made for some awkward moments with me running from the bathroom yelling EW!


Kristin said...

Oh, I love your cat.. we had a gorgeous tabby many moons ago and I still miss her!

sunshine scribe said...

Ohh he his too cute! How could you not be an incurable sucker around him?!?

wordgirl said...

You're just like my husband. He cannot resist caring for a stray animal...and then adopting it.

TB said...

Awwwww, just awwwwww. I love stories like that! And of course you know now I want another cat.

Mrs. Chicky said...

To paraphrase: An impression of bacon frying?

Ha! Perfect. He sounds like a wonderful pet.

And that is why I now avoid shelters like the plague. I simply do not have the room in my house for more living things.

elaine said...

My glasses still bare the mark of Rhett's hunger....little bugger....

elaine said...

Rhett truly is a lover and not a fighter...and he has the best temperment between my cats and yours...he truly is a sweetheart.

Heather said...

Kitten: I love him too. I have two tabbies and am convinced they're the cutest cats. I'm easily swayted

Sunshine: it's almost unbelievable how cute he can be (save at 4am when he's either stomping on us to get up and feed him or chewing on the plants).

wordgirl: I'd hate to think what a house of someone like me and your husband would look like. Luckily Dave reminds me "we can't get another one" on a regular basis.

TB: You should totally get another! All kinds of animals need good homes! (But after you move!)

Mrs. Chicky: he really is great. I'm officially not allowed to go to shelters, but Dave does indulge me every time we go to PetSmart (which in this house is way-too-freaking-often) where I can go ooh and aw at the kitties waiting to be adopted there.

Elaine: I don't think there's a surface of this house that doesn't bear the mark of Rhett's "I'm hungry, I'll chew this!" habits. And he is a complete sweetheart, no question.

Nancy said...

I rescued a cat like this too. My older cat was about 1 year old and living with my former college roommate when I got her -- none of the 4 girls who'd adopted her could keep her after having her for a year and they were going to return her to the shelter (!) To me, the ultimate in irresponsibility. I offered to drive her home to NC to find her a new home. Well, you can guess what happened next -- we bonded during the 6 hour car ride and have been together ever since!

Casi will be 15 years old next month (wow!)