Less than four months ago Kris entered my life for fostering, until adopted. (See One of Those Weeks.)
This new-to-me animal was a declawed, 12-year-old cat who bit, hissed, wouldn’t drink from a bowl (only the water from a bathtub faucet for him) or permit touching. Once he finally started eating, it was only kitty junk food. This did not bode well for adoption. Still, three weeks later determined to see him adopted before I became attached, I took him to be shown.
“He’s beautiful,” all the volunteers said. He was. (And is.) It was also obvious he was unhappy. As I sat there unable to leave, I discovered it was already too late. I couldn’t let anyone adopt him. After some discussion amongst the volunteers for a new name, three out of the four of us said, in unison, “Einstein.” Einstein it was.
I like to pretend that having saved him from the gallows (as I was recently informed) I have the upper hand in our relationship. That may be a stretch.
The bathtub faucet is not left running, however anytime someone takes a shower, Einstein jumps on the bathtub rim, walks between the shower curtain and liner, positions himself so he can lean across to lap up the water dripping out of the faucet. Since he goes to such lengths to drink, I let him. That’s probably a draw.
So he has access to “running” water, the fountain a friend gifted Einstein is kept on the kitchen floor. Who am I to keep a cat from his gift? He wins that round.
If you’ve never read the ingredients in regular cat food, brace yourself, you may be shocked. It took a bit of doing, but no more junk kitty food for Einstein. Now it’s high-end, good-for-him, gluten-free cat food. I won that round.
The cat who wouldn’t be touched is a chest cat. He wants you horizontal so he can climb on your chest and get in your face. He “insists” (by head butting until you comply) you rub and pet him. Soon as he’s had his fill, he jumps off, and you’re free to move again. Yes it’s on his time, but the purring and petting is so soothing…what do you think? A draw?
Einstein’s a talker. When he decides he has what to say, you better hold him for the duration of the conversation. He meows. You respond, “Oh really?” He meows again. You say, “And then what happened?” He meows his reply. When he’s meowed his piece he leaves. As I prefer my cats seen but not heard, he wins that round.
He refused to eat or drink from plastic dishes. I bought him glass. He won that round.
In the end it doesn’t matter who has the upper hand (or paw). Sometimes a smile, a touch, a kind word, or the offer of a quiet place to rest can make the difference between life and death. The only thing I had to offer a very frightened, traumatized cat was the latter, never imagining the difference such a small thing would make in both our lives.
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