It is pretty well established that my hubby is a big softie with a heart made of marshmallow. He is the one who 15 years ago, when Em was a young toddler, who insisted we get a cat – Padme was at a Farm and Fleet in a box for the taking. When we got her home, we discovered she didn’t even know how to eat, poor baby. Then, a couple weeks later, he saw Neera and insisted we get her, because I like gray cats. Right.
Padme is (and Neera was) a pretty typical cat: throwing up and having the occasional logistical urinary issues. Padme had a particularly memorable incident with our toaster when our pug died, either out of grief or spite: who knows how a cat’s mind works. I won’t go into detail – the memory is still disturbing. So, he has long sworn that once they both head off for kitty heaven, he would NEVER have another cat. Ever. Don’t even ask.
Was I shocked the other morning when he walked into the bedroom with a tiny little kitten he found as he was leaving for work, saying ‘Look what I found!’ ? No, not really. When I was less than enthusiastic in the pre-dawn light, he said he would just put it back out on the porch with a little food and water. He sent me a couple emails through the morning asking if she was still out there and didn’t I think she was awfully cute, so I finally caved and went out on the porch and halfheartedly called.
When this sweet little white baby came dashing out of the bushes and threw herself at me, I knew all was lost. I took her inside to Em, who knew nothing of what had transpired, making her her wildest dream came true: to open her door and have a kitten handed to her. So, we are all in the throes of new kitten love – she is sweet, angelic, incredibly affectionate – and we aren’t thinking clearly ahead to the next 15 years of cat life really will be. (That is how they do it, you know… you get them when they are tiny and adorable, then when they grow up and aren’t so tiny or adorable they pee in your toaster. You are already attached to them and responsible for their well being and won’t break your daughter’s heart by chucking them out on their ear.)
Em immediately dubbed her ‘Marshmallow’ – when I told her her father’s heart was a marshmallow, the name was inevitable. We are calling her Mallie for short and she has installed herself quite nicely into our life.
I am thinking she is about 12 weeks old and having done a bit of research, I think she is a Russian white – or basically, a Russian blue who is white. So, she is the same type (give or take) that the dearly recently departed Neera was. Em feels there is a kind of connection between Neera and this little one so that makes her happy. Furthermore, the description fits her to a T and bodes well for the future:
The Russians are gentle and affectionate cats that will never get bored entertaining you and your family. They do not, however, tend to be destructive like some other breeds. The Russians are intelligent, quiet, and sensitive. They can easily learn how to open doors, closets, and drawers. They can also train their people to perform simple tasks such as throwing toys so that the Russians can retrieve them. Loyal and devoted, the Russians make really good companions for your entire family. They are quiet and clean, with a shy streak.
Mallie is so affectionate – she would rather snuggle than play. She is very ‘zen’, nothing much seems to phase her – not even Padme’s unrelenting hatred or Sasha thinking she is a profound threat and trying to protect us from all 3 pounds of her. She follows us around almost like a dog. And she is filling out her skinny little ribs and belly after having access to food, which she takes advantage of eagerly. She didn’t love a bath but is now pure white with the pinkest little nose and ears.
All that is to say, she just might be a perfect companion animal for Em and now is the right time to integrate her into Em’s life. (Padme is 14, and as such, is a senior cat. Em just shakes her head when you mention that Padme won’t live forever but we all know that the day is coming, even if she has years longer.) Mallie should stay small – 7- 9 pounds is the projected size for a female of the breed and Russians are even more or less hypoallergenic. Low maintenance, loyal, affectionate – what more can be asked of an animal?
So, our streak of rescuing animals in need who are exactly what we need continues. Mallie apparently followed our son home the other night when he was out for a run and just never left, so I guess this just gets chalked up as a God Thing.
The only concerns we have are that she might actually belong to someone else because she is so friendly and that Padme really loathes her. We are hoping to just get Padme to the point where she tolerates Mallie, which, frankly, is about all she did with Neera. So far they just gaze at each other across the room – Padme with furious growls, hisses and hateful looks; Mallie with her zen-like Sphinx stare and mysterious Mona Lisa smile. We are slowly letting them adapt to each other’s presence and hope they adjust with a little time and some tried and true tips for helping cats adjust. We really aren’t concerned with Sasha at this point – he seems to be over wanting to nibble on her and is far more afraid of her than she is of him. I am hoping for Em’s sake that nobody claims Mallie – she would give her up if she knew Mallie had a family who loved and missed her, but it would break Em’s heart.
Em is in heaven and I am sure she will be inspired to blog about our new addition. But, on a serious note, a sweet, loving cat is friend, confidant, heating pad, distraction from pain, cause for healing laughter, a reason to smile everyday and someone who depends on you: in short, a welcome addition to the toolbox of living with EDS. So, Mallie will be a wonderful companion for Em and the rest of us will just tolerate her. Yeah, right. 😉