Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our New Baby

We have become new parents again!
We would like to introduce our newest baby:

Louie L’Amour Matchette
Born: June 7, 2012.

We were not planning on adopting, but fate intervened and such as it is.

Louie is a joy and a delight and we all adore him.  He is such a sweet and good-natured baby.  After only a couple of nights at home, he was sleeping through the night, cuddled up between Joe and me.  He still cries when he needs something, but is easily pacified.  There is evidence of his arrival everywhere – new toys, new furniture, new attire.  It’s been so long since we’ve had a baby in the house, I couldn’t help myself.  The kids are just as bad - they each had to get him something.  Joe is just happy that his brood is content with the new addition.

Here is our sweet baby boy…  

Our sweet boy!

Since we weren’t planning to adopt another kitty, you are probably wondering how in the world did we end up with one since the majority of the family is actually jonesin’ for a dog?  Josie’s letters to Santa for the past two years have had repeated pleas for a Golden Retriever puppy!  I, too, am one of the “Let’s get a dog” proponents.  I have even made Joe promise that he will get Josie a dog before she turns sixteen although I’m sure Jamie wouldn’t say no if one ended up in his Christmas stocking either.

The story of how we came to adopt Louie probably started back in October of 2011 when my beloved Sneakers died.  Not a day has gone by that I don’t miss that big fuzzy boy.  Often times when I’m on the treadmill in the early hours of the morning, I will look up, expecting him to come padding into the sunroom to greet me with his sweet chirp, his tail gently waving, a trick that I think he learned as a kitten from my Golden Retriever Buddy.    

I regularly go to PetSmart to buy the girls’ (Tessa and Murphy, not Michelle and Josie) cat food.  Of course, me being me, I MUST stop in and pet the kitties when I am there.  I feel like if I can give them a few moments of socialization and sweetness, perhaps it will help them get adopted.  Translation:  I am a HUGE sucker for animals!

During my October visit, there was a cage of three kittens right by the door.  There were two females and one little boy - an orange tabby.  Their descriptions read that they were all friendly.  I, of course, put my hand up to their cage.  Zoe, a brown tabby, wanted nothing to do with me.  Stella, an all black female, at least came over and gave me a perfunctory nuzzle and mew.  Louie, on the other hand, climbed the cage.  He purred.  He mewed at me when I would walk away.  There was a beautiful older cat in another cage with a sign that read, “VERY friendly!”  I tried wheedling him down off of his perch to pet him, but this “very friendly” cat was not interested in me.  Okay.  No skin off of my nose.  I was sure that Louie, with his engaging personality, would have not difficulties getting himself adopted.

Fast forward to November.  Louie and his sisters were still there!  This time, neither girl could be bothered with me, but ah, Louie was exactly the same.  He even added reaching his paw out of his cage as far as he could to reach out to me as I walked away to his repertoire.  I couldn’t understand how such a sweet kitty hadn’t been adopted yet.  I even went home that afternoon and told Jamie and Josie about him.

Louie's paper picture
As I was flipping through the Sunday paper the weekend before Christmas, I came across the section where the paper has pictures of the animals up for adoption from the local shelters.  There was Louie!  I relayed my story to Joe about meeting Louie and what a sweetie he was.  The kids wanted to go and see him – TODAY!  Michelle has always wanted an orange tabby.  Who was I to point out that she already had a cat? 

Joe agreed to just “go and meet him” after church.  I told Joe that if Louie was gone, that was fine with me, but I hated the thought of him languishing in a cage at PetSmart for another month. 

PetSmart was crowded and loud with all of the animals up for adoption and the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers.  Louie and his sisters were still there all right.   I asked a young woman if we could get Louie out.  She told me that we could only get him out if we were serious about adopting him.  I looked at Joe and he gave his consent.  While we waited for someone to get him out, the young woman peppered us with questions – questions about our home, what kinds of animals we’d had, our cat history, why we were so interested in Louie, etc.  Turns out, she was Louie’s foster mom and that she’d had him since the day he was born.  She admitted that she was very attached to him and was very picky about who she would allow to adopt him.

As we all took turns holding, petting and cuddling Louie, the young woman continued with her barrage of questions.  Apparently, our kitty owner pedigree was good enough.  Our only question: if we adopted him, could she keep him until we got back from Christmas vacation?  The answer was yes, and with a little paperwork and an exchange of phone numbers, we had adopted a new kitten. 

Louie loves his dad best!
We got home from our vacation on December 30th at 4:15pm.  By 5:00pm, Louie was home.  We quarantined him in our bathroom until he used the litter box and to give Tessa and Murphy time to get used to his scent.  One by one Joe and the kids came in with Louie and me.  One by one, they were as smitten with him as I was. 

That night, we let him out of the bathroom and he cried until we put him on our bed where he promptly settled in between the two of us, purring.  Tessa slept under the bed that night, but every night since, they both sleep on our bed – Tessa in her usual spot by my feet and Louie curled up between us or stretched out at one of our sides, purring.

Louie & Jamie, chillin'
Louie is the most friendly, laid-back, and mellow kitty that we’ve had since Tasha.  While Sneakers was friendly and Tessa is super-sweet, neither one was mellow or laid-back with everyone.  Louie has all the personality traits of the cats that we have loved best, all rolled into one orange ball of purring fur.  I love walking around the house with him purring on my shoulder.  Joe and Jamie love sitting with Louie lounging on his back in their laps.  The girls love to play with him.  And, he is always purring!  I joke that he’s like the primer buttons on a lawnmower – as soon as you touch him, he’s purring.  If only a lawn mower started so easily.  Louie will seek us out by mewing and is happy to be where we are. 

Mic and Louie
Josie loves Louie even
though he isn't a puppy.
The furry girls are still getting used to him.  We decided that Louie was not going to be declawed.  I haven’t had a cat that wasn’t declawed since my first cat, Tigger, when I was a small child.  Joe’s cats were never declawed.  We figured that if Murphy was going to try to bully a kitten like she did Tessa, we’d better give him a fighting chance.  It actually has become a family joke.  Whenever Murphy would walk by one of us before we got Louie, we told her, “Oooh!  You have no idea how your life is going to change!”   Honestly, we were hoping that Louie would knock the snot out of her and hopefully become Tessa’s protector.   Seriously.  Murphy is a big bully, but she is Michelle’s cat and we, therefore, try to make the best of it.
Louie knows that Tessa is the boss!

Tessa and Louie took very little time to get used to one another.  He is already two pounds bigger than she is, but my Tessa doesn’t let that stop her.  During the first week Louie would occasionally growl at her in an attempt to assert his dominance to which Tessa just gave him an icy glare and he backed down.  Or, a couple of times when she’s been very near to me, I’ve heard her give a very low, very motherly “you’d better not even try it” kind of noise from deep in her throat.  Louie is not stupid.  Whatever he is doing, he immediately ceases and desists.  Tessa is boss and that’s that!  Well, except when there is peanut butter involved.  I discovered that our little boy LOVES peanut butter and will do just about anything to get it!!!  He even stole a peanut butter pretzel right out of my hand and polished off the whole thing in about a minute flat.

An example of how mellow
he is - half under the mattress
Now, Murphy, well…  Their relationship is still a work in progress.  Murphy makes a lot of noise, but she hasn’t plucked up the courage to get close to Louie yet.  I know a blowup is coming; I’m just not sure how it’s going to pan out.   

The only advantage that Murphy will have is that we think that Louie might have some hearing problems.  He doesn’t respond to sounds that usually drive cats wild – crinkly cellophane, here kitty, kitty, etc.  He relies very much on his sight and he watches our faces constantly.  He does hear some sounds, but not nearly all that one would expect a healthy kitten to hear.  The vet said that Louie had a lot of wax in his ears and gave us some drops.  If the hearing problems persist after he’s done with the ear drops, the damage will likely be permanent.  But, she said, of all the families that could have a special needs kitty, we were probably one of the best.  I am happy to report that his hearing does seem to be improving, but he still doesn’t respond as quickly or as intensely to sounds like a normal hearing kitty does.
My 'Lil Louie

Trying out the treadmill
We don’t care.  We are thrilled to have a new baby in the house.  We all laugh at his antics and think it’s very apropos that he seems to always have a streak of bike chain grease on various parts of his body.  Joe told Louie the other day as he was holding him on his back and as Louie’s purred loudly that he was “shaping up to be a pretty good cat”.  And, this morning, as Joe stood smiling and tickling Louie’s chin while Louie purred his big booming purr, I told him that he was getting to be as dopey about that kitten as I was.  He just nodded and continued.

This was in the paper the day we got Louie.
Ah, I do love having a baby in the house again. :0)

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