When my girlfriend, now wife, moved in together four or so years ago, we each had a top tier requirement of where we lived. For me, it was having in-unit washer and dryer. For her, it was pets allowed because she wanted a cat. Now, I had grown up with dogs and had never owned a cat, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I trusted, though that my then girlfriend knew what she was doing.
We adopted Ember through a rescue called Happy Jack Cats. She had been put on sale on Craigslist for $5, an exchange that of course seemed rather shady. Happy Jack saw the post, paid the sketchy person their money, and put her up for adoption. One of their requirements for adoption was proof that we were allowed to have her in our apartment. This wouldn’t be a problem of course because we specifically picked this apartment complex because it stated in the add that pets were allowed, and in the lease that pets required approval from the owner. Little did I know that the “owner” was not the property management company… I was ignorant to how this worked and thought that our property manager would need to approve our pet, which I didn’t think would be a problem. Turns out, each building in our complex is owned by different people (some may own multiple, I don’t know). Our owner happens to not like cats and denied our request. I didn’t accept that, though. Other units in our building had dogs, and it was bologna that he was going to deny us simply because he didn’t like cats. I seem calm discussing it now, but believe you me, I was seeing red at the time. The injustice of it all! After some back and forth, we were approved for the cat, paid our deposit, brought proof to Happy Jack Cats, paid the adoption fee, and took Ember home. If only I could express to her how I went to bat for her even before bringing her home!
Ember was of course pretty shaken by all the sudden change. She was two and a half months old when we adopted her, and I could have her comfortably sit on one of my hands. We worried about her curiosity, so we confined her to our bedroom at first. She immediately hid under the bed and stayed there for several hours. My wife had built some clothes piles around the spaces under the bed, leaving a space for her to exit of course, so that she’d feel more protected. Slowly, Ember began wandering about the room, coming up onto the bed, and warming up to us. I was happy that we didn’t have to litter train her, and she found her box right away.
Expanding her reach of the apartment wasn’t much of a process after she got used to us. We have a couple of places she could wedge herself into, which I was nervous about, so we put some barricades up until she was too big for those spaces. The one panic inducing incident we had is when she went under the fold out couch and up into it. All those springs and metal rods and such, I was afraid she was going to get hurt. Other than that, though, she was fine.
Bonding with Ember came easy and it came fast. She was (/is) a cat who loves to play and loves food, two easy ways to connect with our new pet! One of those early bonding moments came one late night after an exhausting shift. At the time I was working until around 11:30PM so I didn’t get home until close to midnight. When I came into the quiet house, ready to flop into bed, I heard a rustling in the kitchen. I rounded the couch to find my new kitten playing with a piece of plastic trash she had found. I sat on the ground and watched as she bat around the trash, jumped after it like it was prey, and skid her little back paws across the kitchen floor to chase it around. This seemingly minuscule moment signaled to me that our new family member was feeling plenty comfortable in her new home.
Another of these moments came when one morning I woke up to find that Ember had curled herself up between my wife and I’s pillows and slept there during the night. She looked so small, so comfortable, and like she belonged there.
Now that Ember is full fledged member of the Llanes tribe, she has a whole set of mannerisms that keep my wife and I entertained at all times. They include (but are not limited to):
- Greeting my wife and I when we get home with a flop on the floor and immediate request for tummy pets
- Asking to be picked up by putting her front paws up on you much in the same way a toddler holds up their arms
- Genuine excitement (usually including tiny meows, and a jog to the food bowl) when the words “wet food” are uttered
- Always being positioned in such a way that she can see my wife and I with a simple turn of the head, even if we’re in different rooms
- Opening her mouth just the slightest bit when she’s really enjoying some pets