In late May, Neilson and I were walking to the subway in his neighborhood and came across a real sweet kitty. He came right up to us and we petted him for a long time. We debated whether he was a stray. He was dirty and little skinny--but not emaciated and had no fear of humans and was sitting in front of the stoop of a townhouse. It was hard to leave him, but we didn't want to steal someone's pet. Also, did Audrey really want another cat? Neilson contacted one of the neighborhood cat ladies, Vivian, who didn't know about him, suggesting he wasn't a stray. (She and her partner in cat care keep pretty close tabs on the feline population of Vinegar Hill). So that was a relief.
But then Vivian called Neilson a month later, right when I was in the middle of my NEH workshop. The cat was a stray and was now living in her basement. (She has a lot of cats, so he couldn't stay in her apartment). He was very affectionate--thus she had named him Romeo.
I felt so torn. If it has just been me, no question--he would come home with me. But what about Audrey? Also I was going to be in and out of town all of July. I talked it over with Tracie, who was, reasonably, most concerned about Audrey. Vivian suggested I could take Romeo home and give things a try--but we all know it is very unlikely I would be able to give a kitty away. We called a few times to set up a visit, but never when Vivian was home, and she always called when I couldn't come over. I kept hoping we would hear Romeo had a found a great home, thus ending my dilemma.
Our last call went unreturned for over a week, when Neilson got a call from Linda, the other cat lady. She told him Romeo was now in a shelter--a no-kill shelter, but still depressing. It was Kitty-Kind, which adopts cats out of the Petco on Union Square--and if any of you have seen those animals, you know they do not look happy. This was upsetting news. Linda did say she knew someone who was thinking of adopting him, but when Neilson talked to that woman (Susan), it didn't sound likely. She already had a lot of cats and is a cat rescue lady herself. I eventually went online to see if Romeo was listed on the shelter's website. I half-hoped he would be available/half-hoped he had been adopted. I saw this picture:
Not a chipper kitty.
I sent an e-mail to see if he had been adopted that went unreturned. So yesterday, I went up to Union Square to see if he was there. And he was. Sweet as ever, but not happy at all in his little cage. So unhappy that it was noted on his "chart." So at this point, you can probably guess where this is going. I filled out the initial paperwork--there was supposed to be an interview and screening process, so I assumed it would be a week or so before I knew if he was coming home. But after I explained the whole seeing him on the street story, the woman in charge decided he could just come home with me that night. But she suggested I "foster with intent to adopt" in case it doesn't work with Audrey. (I asked how he was with other cats and was told he is "deferential." He lived on the street for at least a month or two in a neighborhood full of feral cats and had no evidence of being in a fight).
He is really a calm guy. There was some mewing when he was first put in the cage and while I waited on the street for a taxi. But as soon as we were moving, he settled right down. And there has been no hiding under the furniture, hissing, etc. I have changed his name to Dugan, which is my great, great grandmother's maiden name. (Neilson's neighborhood was originally named Vinegar Hill to attract Irish immigrants, so it seemed appropriate.)
Dugan and Audrey have not actually met yet. The newcomer is upstairs. I wanted to give him some time to adjust--plus, I think he might have a little cold and want that to clear up. I'm hoping he and Audrey make friends or at least are willing to be peaceful companions. I think it will be ok--while Audrey, in someways, seems to like being a single kitty, she also gets incredibly lonely when I'm away (even just at work) and often looks a little bored. And if worse comes to worse, we can always have an upstairs/downstairs situation, with each kitty having his and her own apartment. (Yes, I realize that is obnoxious).
I tried to outrun pet fate, but it proved impossible. I took some cute pictures of him last night, but seem to have misplaced my camera somewhere in my apartment. As soon as I find it, be ready for the deluge.