Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Scene In Which Puff the Kitty Gets A Home

He showed up sometime in the late part of summer/early fall, when the days were still nice and long and sunny. He liked to skulk around the backyard of our condo and hide in the tall landscaping (where, I might add, he scared the CRAP out of me the first time I ever saw him!).
By day you could find him lounging around the backyard, occasionally napping on one of the lawn chairs and using our wooden deck as a scratching post.

And then the inevitable happened.

My well-intentioned neighbor began to put food out for him. As you can imagine, this was met with great gusto, appreciation, meowing, and..... hissing.

Yep. Our little backyard-crasher loved long as we kept our distance.

Time wore on. Well-intentioned neighbor christened the cat Creampuff (at the time, we kind of thought he was a she). The weather got chillier. The feeding schedule got more and more regular. The hissing continued.

And then the inevitable happened. Again.

I got attached.

Because though he still hissed at us, as Creampuff grew more and more used to seeing us around, he grew bolder, and after three weeks of coaxing and making sweet baby voices at him, he finally rewarded me with a rub against my legs.

Followed, quickly, by a swat.


As the days got even shorter and colder the third inevitable thing happened. My well-intentioned neighbor, who travels often for work, was planning to be gone...and I volunteered to take over the Creampuff-care.

(Ahem. You know where this was going to wind up.)

The next thing I knew, I was as close to a cat owner as my ridiculously allergic sinuses were ever going to let me be. I fretted over whether he was warm enough and procured an outdoor igloo from a friend for him to live in. I fed him twice a day and switched him from wet food to dry for better health. I grew sad when he'd show up on my porch and I'd have to close the door on him. We nicknamed him Puff, Puffy, the Puffster, Fluff, and so on.

In return, Creampuff adopted me. He faithfully came to my porch two, three, four times a day- napping on the rug in front of the door until well into the evening. If I came around the back of the house and found him there, he'd leap from his perch and follow me to the front of the house. And even though he still hissed occasionally, he meowed his appreciation every chance he got and rubbed my legs with reckless abandon.

And then he disappeared.

One Wednesday morning, I woke up and he never came by for his breakfast. His little brown bowl of food went untouched that day, that night, and straight on through Thanksgiving the next day. By Friday, when we left for Chicago for the weekend, I was despairing whether Creampuff had decided to move on, and realizing that I'd gotten waaaay too attached to the little guy over the past months. Despite abundant food and water, Creampuff stayed away Friday....Saturday.....Sunday.....

......and then, late on Sunday night, Creampuff came hobbling back shortly after we returned. His cute little face was a little matted up, and he was limping with a front paw held in the air pathetically.

I kind of cry just remembering it.

Cute Boy, who is even more ridiculously allergic than I am, pleaded on my behalf with his roommate to let us use their mudroom area to house the Puffster. Once we opened that door for him he rushed right in and never looked back- he wanted to be in the house with us so badly!

Puff stayed in the mudroom for two nights, showing his appreciation for the hospitality by coming down with a bout of ickykittypoopies and stinking up the place when he wasn't meowing to be let ALL THE WAY in to the house so that he could, presumeably, cuddle with us or hiss at us til his heart's content.

On Tuesday morning I loaded him into the kitty carrier (through the strategic use of yummy canned food placed inside, heavy boots and a swift knee!) and took him to our vet, where the Week O'Fun for Creampuff began.

Since all our housing options had been exhausted, Creampuff stayed with the vet for a week. He received antibiotics for his injured leg, a bath, flea treatment, neuter surgery, vaccines, and another bath.

And then, thanks to the kindness and generosity of two great people (ok they are Cute Boy's parents but I am totally not sucking up at all by calling them great because really? they are, and furthermore, they are probably not reading my blog!) CREAMPUFF FOUND A HOME!!

On Monday I went to the vet's office to take him to his new digs, and let me tell you, if this heartwarming little story has got you thinking that you want to go out and adopt like five cats, I will give you a whole bunch of reasons why you should think about it really hard.

Like several hundred reasons.

Like six hundred reasons.


In the end, though, it was all worth it. Because, as it turns out, Puff was just waiting for someone to take him in and love him. During his week at the vet's office, he mellowed to the point where the staff members were able to pick him up without being swatted or hissed at, and he even was able to be petted. When I arrived to pick him up, I went to see him in his kennel before they loaded him into the carrier and he LET ME PET HIM!! At that moment, I knew that every penny I'd spent on this little sweetie was all worth it, and I wanted to cry and take him home with me and spend all night cuddling with him and Finn.

But Puff, despite his new goodnaturedness, is still a fan of keeping it real.

So in thanks for all we had done for him over the past months, he allowed me to stroke his little head and back for exactly 30 seconds while he purred cutely, then turned his head around and bit me on the hand.

That's how I know he appreciated it.

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