How To Love A Cat by Nancy Malcolm
We filled out mountains of paperwork, completed a background check, paid our fee, did a home-visit to the foster parent and solemnly swore to care for her until the end of time. We knew we would be a good match, but did they?
Emmy Lynn came to us through an adoption agency. She had been born during Hurricane Harvey and transplanted to Austin shortly thereafter. We have always been partial to little black cats, so after our Blackie left this earth, we waited one year to make sure we were ready.
“She’s shy,” the foster parent kept saying, but she also had two other cats and a loud, hyperactive Lab living there, too. We persevered and finally got to hold her for a minute or so before saying yes, we wanted to adopt. A week later, we were bringing her home, where she promptly hid inside our leather couch for two days.
“She’s shy,” we mused.
She finally crept out from the couch and began purring, rubbing our legs, eating, and pooping. Then, over night she began racing around the house, demanding snacks and kicking her litter out of the box.
“Remember, she’s just a kitten,” Boo smiled. “She needs our love and support.”
“I don’t get a minute to myself,” I countered. “She follows me around the house, wanting me to carry her everywhere and is only happy if I sit still and pet her.”
“I’m busy,” I retorted. (Busy being retired) “She’s like a toddler.”
In the morning during my sittin ugly time, she would sit on my lap while I did my prayers and daily reader. If I dared to get up for more coffee, she would chew on my Bible and try to bite me when I took it away. Get thee behind me, Satan!
She would race from room to room, jump on counters, and at Christmas she jumped up into the tree trying to bite the lights. At one point, I called the adoption agency behavior hotline. I was anonymous, but I felt ashamed as I kept asking, “Is this normal? I don’t know what to do. I got a water bottle to spritz her when she acts up….”
“Oh No,” she interrupted. “Absolutely no spray bottles!!!”
The hotline worker kept repeating that she is a kitten and simply doing what kittens do. “The only acceptable discipline for her is ‘time-out’, she said.
“How do I do that?”
“You go in another room for a few minutes and she will eventually understand that Mommy will not accept her behavior.”
“Thank you,” I said without meaning it, and I promptly went to my room and shut the door.
The next day, I went to the swanky pet store in our neighborhood and asked for help in keeping this little kitty happy and entertained. Money was no object as I purchased several ‘never fails’ and ‘guaranteed’ toys and gadgets. I vowed to stay calm and renew my patience with this adorable, bad to the bone kitty, and s l o w l y she adjusted to life and we have adjusted to her.
Emmy has charmed the grandkids and trained them to her liking. She will play fetch with her soft felt balls, even bringing them back, and dropping it at my feet. She sleeps with her tongue out and still is the happiest in my arms or on my lap. She sits in the ivy in the front yard and waits for mothers pushing strollers so she can greet the children, and she climbs up between the comforter and sheets on the guest bed to nap when no one is home. If we go out of town, she is always forgiving and charms her sitters with good behavior.
She is delightful, funny, loving and loyal. She’s our little black kitty and this we know to be true…In a perfect world every cat would have a home and every home would have a cat.