So I haven’t posted for the past few days for two reasons: 1) I’ve had three office interviews in the past two days, so I’ve been busy researching the companies, dressing myself in my most professional attire, catching subways headed to all over Manhattan (and Brooklyn, too), taking draining copy editing tests, and writing thank you notes in a timely fashion. And 2) Well, this is the main reason:
We welcomed Ali, a 2-year-old tortie (that’s tortoiseshell, for those of you who don’t speak cat-person language) into our East 82nd home, on Sunday afternoon! So yes, I am going to write an entire blog post about my cat, which I do realize is probably the most antisocial thing a person can do. However, it has recently come to my attention that today is World Cat Day, so I don’t think this post could be any more timely.
I’ve wanted a cat for ages, pretty much since I left Florida to go to college in Texas and couldn’t see my family’s three cats anymore. When I moved off-campus my junior year, I really wanted a cat, but I thought it would be cruel to adopt as a super-busy student. Plus, kind of important detail, two of my three roommates were allergic. No bueno.
When we got to NYC a little over a month ago, I immediately started researching cat adoption agencies. Perhaps a little hasty on my part, but I was thrilled to discover Anjellicle Cats Rescue, a Manhattan-based no-kill non-profit organization that gets sweet kitties to loving homes. I was even more thrilled to learn that every Saturday afternoon at our neighborhood’s Petco, they have an adoption event where you can meet some of the cats who need a home. We went the second Saturday we were here…and at least two more Saturdays after that.
We met Ali the first time we went to an adoption event and noticed she was very friendly, but for whatever reason, we kept looking around. We knew we wanted an adult cat (at least 1 year old) and one who would be OK being an only cat that would have to spend workday hours at home by him or herself. But we also wanted a cat who is sociable and friendly when people are around. Being extra-cute couldn’t hurt either. That’s a pretty tall order, right?
I don’t remember exactly when I developed a strange fixation on Ali, but it might have been after one Saturday a volunteer let us open up her cage in Petco, where she had been living for four months, and interact with her. She was very outgoing and such a flirt! She clearly loved to be loved on, but would continually sashay to the back of her cage and look coquettishly over her shoulder, before casually deciding to grace us with her presence again.
Also, she has the most gorgeous coloring. When I was a kid, I really wanted a calico cat; we always had tabbies. Once I even bought this stuffed animal mommy calico cat that came with a whole litter of calico kittens. Rather creatively, I named her Callie the Calico Cat. I mistakenly thought Ali was also a calico at first, but with a little research, I learned that because the splotches of orange on her mostly black fur are blended in and not distinct splotches (like cow’s spots, for lack of a better analogy), she’s a tortoiseshell. Torties can also be identified by the fact that any white fur they have is exclusively on their bellies/undersides.
These cats also frequently have a “split face” of orange and black fur, divided by the bridge of the nose. Interestingly enough, most torties and calicos are female because the gene that causes their fur to be so wacky (read: AWESOME) is linked to an X-chromosome. There, everything you ever wanted to know about torties and then some.
Before we made the big decision to adopt this little furry one, I did a little more research about this specific cat. According to the Anjellicle website, Ali was found in a Home Depot parking lot in Queens. With more research, I learned she was removed from her rescuer’s home a few months ago because the foster parent was going to declaw her, which is against Anjellicle’s strict no-declawing policy because the surgery is very inhumane to the cats and leaves them practically defenseless if, God forbid, they find themselves on the street again.
I also got in contact with her rescuer via email and learned she was “very easygoing” when in a home environment. Facebook stalking Ali on Anjellicle’s page (I have problems) told me that she was a volunteer favorite, as we were told in person several times at each of the adoption events. She was also described as a “Barbie doll cat” because she comes with her own hairbrush. 🙂
I started to have a growing preoccupation with Ali and visited her a couple of times when I was in the area–hey, the Petco is right near my metro station; it’s almost TOO convenient for cat-stalking. Sean also started to think about her more and more, and finally we submitted the adoption application. A couple of days later, we were approved after both our personal references (our moms, haha…the best people to say how we are with cats) gave us stellar recommendations. After an hour-long cat care seminar early Sunday afternoon, two kind Anjellicle volunteers brought Ali to our apartment, bearing a welcome package of her favorite dry and canned food, a few toys, a cat bed, and cat-attracting litter, as well as a special spray to make her relax.
The first two days, she was very skittish–always circling around us when being petted, as if on guard, and frequently hiding under the bed for an hour or more at a time. Over time, as we spoiled her with love and games and treats, she began to trust us and spend less time under the bed.
It is now Ali’s fourth day here with us on East 82nd and I don’t think she has gone under the bed ONCE in the past 24 hours. Instead, she likes to sleep on the couch, one of the living room windowsills, or on the floor in little crannies, like under the table where I keep an overflowing container of WSJs and Time magazines. Silly kitty! You take her out of a horribly cramped environment and she still wants to squeeze herself into the tiniest places. Like behind the TV, or on top of the fridge behind our cereal and paper napkin supply. Ahem.
She looooves to be petted and brushed, and will purr like crazy while you do so. She’s also fairly playful and will randomly start batting her toys around the room. She likes to be where people are, too, like a little puppy dog. If I have been out for several hours for interviews or errands, she leaps from her current perch (usually by the window) and then proceeds to follow me around until I show her my undying devotion, or whatever it is cats want from their humans. Even when I disappear behind the bathroom door for a few minutes, she will be sitting just outside, alert and ready, when I come back out.
Another fun fact: this girl loves YouTube. I noticed yesterday that while I was on my laptop, her eyes were carefully following the motions of the mouse on the screen. I remembered that our Florida cats used to love that old Microsoft aquarium screensaver and would bat at the fish as they swam by on the screen. Sadly, that screensaver isn’t on the latest version of Windows, but I found out there is a whole YouTube channel filled with videos for cats. No, really. We watched half of the chickadee one, and she loved it! She was pawing at the screen, and then investigating around the laptop to see where the birds had flown off to. Occasionally, she would step onto the keyboard to examine the screen closer, and naturally, the video would exit out of full-screen, the Start menu would pop up, and the video would stop. Then she just looked at me like, “What happened?” Cats: they are hilarious.
Also, if you think I’m crazy, at least 28,000 other crazies watched the chickadee video–just the chickadee video–with their feline friends. Although maybe I’m the craziest because I videotaped my cat on my phone while she was watching YouTube. In my defense, Sean was working late again and I didn’t want him to miss out on this cuteness.
Also, please check out her super-stylish plaid collar. We got it so we could have an ID tag on her with our contact info, after seeing too many “LOST KITTY” signs around the neighborhood. It came with a little bell that I thought would be annoying but is actually really helpful if she continues to hide in weird places, like on top of the fridge. Really, how many places can there be to hide in a small NYC apartment? A lot, apparently.
Did I mention the collar makes her super-stylish? She’s the hipster-est.
Anyway, I’m interested to see how she does with guests over. She is most comfortable with me right now out of the two of us because I am home more, but my guess is that after all of her adoption events and volunteer interaction, she’ll be just fine as soon as she fully adapts to her new, spacious (by cat standards) home.
We’re soooo happy we adopted her, as she has both good looks AND a great personality. 😉 She doesn’t bite or attack us, even when she felt a little overwhelmed at first. She has used her scratching post religiously since discovering it, and she is clearly no scaredy-cat. She has already made our lives so much more joyful and brought a lot of laughter to our place. I can only hope she is as happy as we are with her new living situation and family.
If all her purring and delicate “kneading” of the ground tell me anything, I think she will be just fine here! 🙂
If anyone in New York is looking for a cat, they should 100 percent check out Anjellicle Cats Rescue! They are run by an army of passionate volunteers who will jump in to help you if you need anything. Both the ladies who dropped Ali off eagerly offered to cat-sit in the future–I think partially because they were so sad to see Ali go. It’s a little selfish of us to keep her all to ourselves, really. (She’s the best. Did I mention that yet?)
Also, Anjellicle Cats totally gets its name from the T.S. Eliot poem, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. If you are going to buy a book of cat poetry, this should be the edition because it is illustrated by Edward Gorey, who is made of macabre and awesome. Don’t believe me? Check out this.
Anyhow, you might have seen parts of the T.S. Eliot poem (“Jellicle Cats come out to-night/Jellicle Cats come one come all:/The Jellicle Moon is shining bright/Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball”) in “The Song of the Jellicles” in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical Cats. Which in my opinion, is the creepiest musical ever. And I love cats. Something about the makeup and costuming, I think.
Not to ramble too much more here, but if you’re like me and wondering what the heck a “jellicle” cat is, apparently it’s Eliot’s conjunction of the phrase “dear little cats.” If you say it quickly in a British accent, this almost makes sense.
So what are your favorite cat care tips? Please feel free to share! I will also accept cute/humorous cat photos and videos, as long as they are not from Cats.
And because I simply can’t resist, here’s one more picture of my new favorite whiskered beast: