Chipping Away at Everest

Best. Birthday. Ever!

This is what Faye happily sighed the night of her birthday as she was laying down to sleep. She had had a very busy and full day, and was so ready to sleep, but the excitement was still high and Mr. Sandman was nowhere to be seen.

She was so excited because together, we had worn down Everest.

And by Everest I mean Jeffrey's resolve to never have another cat.

We have had 3-ish since we got married. Our first kitty was Basil. He was a kitten who liked to pee on the carpet. An indoor/outdoor cat. One day Jeffrey found pee on the carpet, yelled at him, and he ran away, never to be seen again.

Next, our friend was renting out our basement and had a kitten. I can't remember its name, but we just called him Kitty. He was incredible with Keith! Best cat for a baby I had ever seen. Our friend had been deployed and so had left the cat with us. We were going to move to a house with a dog so couldn't take the cat with us and so had to find a new home for him. I was so sad to see him go.

Our same friend came home, bought a house and got himself another cat. He then deployed again, this time for a year, and so asked us to house/kitty sit. The cat's name was Duchess. She hated Keith. He was 2 when we moved into the house and she wouldn't let Keith walk down the hall. She would arch her back and hiss and claw at the air if he got too close. It really made potty training hard since she wouldn't let him go into the bathroom unless I was there. I remember laughing at the absurdity of it, but Keith was genuinely frightened of her, and she was very obvious in her dislike of him and so tensions ran high and Keith was very relieved when we moved.

At the same time we got Basil, our first cat, my mom got his brother who she named Spooky. Spooky is the meanest cat I have ever met. She hisses at and scratches or bites anyone who comes near her or touches her. My mother is the only one who is allowed in the same room with that cat. My kids are terrified of her because she doesn't give any warnings before lashing out.

For all these reasons, Jeffrey has staunchly held firm to his resolve of No Cats Allowed.

And for nearly a year, Faye has been begging for a cat. Like water, she patiently chipped away at his determination, and with her ability to wrap her daddy around her finger, she convinced him to let her get a cat.

Except she didn't know it.

On the morning of her birthday we dropped Keith off at school and I told her we were going to go for a drive. I do that sometimes. Just take a drive into the mountains because they calm me, and the kids and I talk about whatever enters our brains. That morning, however, Faye was a bungee cord in her seat, bouncing up and down and laughing with excitement. She had no idea where we were going, but as with all people on their birthdays, she could sense something wonderful was about to happen.

The van wound through the city and then up into the foothills of the mountains where a shelter is located. When we arrived, I was satisfied to see it was a very unrevealing building. There was no hint as to what was inside, so my surprise was going to be complete. That morning I had prearranged with one of the workers, and when we got there she wordlessly she led us to the back room, past all the cute as could be dogs (which very nearly shook my resolve. if we had a fence around our yard, I may have caved and come home with a dog instead of a cat) and into the cat room. Faye and Beth both both squealed in unison once the cuddly mass registered in their minds. Beth did her excited high legged quick march in place thing that she does when things are particularly wonderful, and both girls looked around with large eyes.

When I was finally able to tear myself away from Simon, because it was quite evident that Faye wanted nothing to do with him, *sniff* I looked over to where she and Beth were chasing cats around the room, ecstatically stroking the kitties with enthusiasm which would have made Elmyra Duff seem gentle.

The room was crawling with cats. Little kittens, elderly cats and all the in-between ones, too. I instantly fell in love with a slate gray cat and desperately wanted to adopt him. I knew it was impossible, though, as this outing was for Faye, Jeffrey would probably never let me go places alone if I came home with two cats.  The slate gray cat is named Simon, the worker told me. He and I had bonded and it was so hard to have him nuzzle me with his head and climb into my lap, looking at my lovingly, because I knew I wouldn't be taking him home with me. I am still pining for that sweet cat (so if anyone is interested in a short haired cat that is cuddly and sweet tempered and loves kids, I can recommend an incredible one named Simon.)

I intervened.

Faye was in rapture. She ran from one victim to the next, too excited to make up her mind. Together we took a deep breath and told the worker what it was we were looking for. A female kitten that would be good with kids. All of the kittens in the room were male, though, so the worker told us there were a few more that were getting ready to go in to be fixed and she thought she knew which one would suit our needs, and Faye would love. She brought in a gorgeous little girl kitty that had the same bond with Faye that Simon and I share. I knew there would be no way we could leave without signing the adoption papers for that little kitten. The kitty and the birthday girl  locked eyes and didn't want to be parted, but she had to go back to get her surgery, and we had to get home to get other birthday things done.

Like Jet Li, She was The One

They told us we could come back and get her later that day after she had her surgery and they gave us all kinds of instructions on how to take care of her. Faye could barely contain her excitement all day. I had to ask her several times if she needed to use the bathroom because she was dancing around and could not hold still. It wasn't the potty dance, it was pure excitement. Finally, centuries later 3:00 came and we could go pick up Faye's new best friend. It was heaven for both of them, I think.

After vetoing a few names, Faye finally settled on Tai Li (or Ty Lee, the jury is still out on the spelling). She was so drugged up the poor kitty had no idea what was going on, which made her that much more appealing to Faye. She could hold her and cuddle her and love her forever and the kitty didn't care, or try to get away.

Friends for life, that is what they are.

Beth, too. Tai Li really loves Beth and puts up with the eye poking and the extra mauling around and cuddling and being made into a pillow by the baby. She (the kitten) is surprisingly patient and good with the baby, much like Kitty was. I am so glad we got a good one and not a mean one like my mom's cat!

We have had the kitty for a week now, and Faye has really surprised me with how responsible she is. She checks the food and water every day (a few times a day, actually), and even cleans out the littler box less frequently, but she still does it.

Tai Li is adjusting quite nicely. Everyone loves her to pieces, and she just fits with our family. The day before we got her, Keith, who didn't know we were planning on coming home with a cat, told me he was afraid of cats and really didn't like them. The day after we got our kitty, Keith rushed home from school just to see her, and when he walked in the door, all rosy cheeked from his hurry, he sighed when he saw her and let slip how much he loves her. It really was quite a tender moment.

As with all cats, Tai Li has a love for the keyboard when I am on the computer. It makes me laugh. When she sees a keyboard in use, she instantly makes a bee line for it, plops down right where it is being used and makes herself comfortable, regardless of the moving fingers beneath her. She looks so much like my cat Topsie from when I was growing up, I have a soft spot for her.

It is a good thing I have a soft spot, though, because currently, she is banished to the bathroom with her litter box and food. She has been relieving herself around my piano, thankfully not on it, and so is not allowed to come out (except to cuddle with Faye) until she learns to use the litter box. I have enough bums (the kind you sit on, not the vagrant kind) to clean up after, I don't need to add to it.

And so, Faye's fifth birthday will go down in the history books as being the best. birthday. ever.

Just ask Tai Li.


Crystal Collier said…
So cute. (Shame on the kitty for using the area around your piano as a litter box!) I'm glad you found an adorable family pet. That's one luxury my family will never have. Sadly.
Emmy said…
Awe she really is a cute kitty! And what a wonderful surprise. Hope she figures out the liter box quickly

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