Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A vist from the Cat Police, and a decision (almost) made

My sadness over the loss of Tess has shifted.  I'm not dwelling so much on the trauma of her death and am better able to remember her funny, quirky ways with affection rather than tears.  I still miss her and always will but, over the last two weeks, I've become aware of missing a generic cat presence as well.  I miss The Cat, but now I also miss having A Cat.  The Rural Retreat is too empty without one.  If you can bear reading something else as lengthy as this post, this blog entry perfectly encapsulates what I feel about getting another cat.

Kitten posed by model
Fortunately, Bassman agrees, and we have made some preliminary steps towards sourcing our next feline companions.  Yes, that's plural.  This time, I AM having two cats.  Actually, following a visit yesterday to the SSPCA, it may be three...I only wanted two.  And I said to the staff person, 'Don't show me the kittens!'  To be fair, she didn't.  But while I was getting acquainted with a petite 2-year old black cat who had been living as a stray and who had given birth to an entire litter of still-born kittens and who was HATING everyone and everything (yep, I'm a sucker for a challenge) but who flung herself against the door of her unit and shouted at me as soon as I walked into the room and who let me stroke her head and who kept head butting my hand and leg in an attempt to get my attention, I happened to glance up and there was a teeny tiny grey and white kitten with its face pressed against the glass of the room at the far end.  Her sister (a teeny tiny grey kitten) was equally gorgeous.  And the black cat apparently didn't hate there may be a black cat and some kittens coming to live at the Rural Retreat!

But first, I had a home visit today from the local Cats Protection rehoming officer whom I had contacted a couple of days ago.  I have supported Cats Protection for years and think that, in theory, they do an amazing and much needed job.  I haven't, however, experienced that amazingness for myself.  When I was looking for the cat who became Tess all those years ago, I phoned CP but they never phoned me back.  This time, I made it as far as the home visit but I think that's as far as it's going to go.  I suspect that we are going to be turned down as prospective cat owners.

The visit didn't start well.  The first thing that the rehoming officer said to me was, 'You're really hard to find here.  No, really, you are VERY hard to find.'  She sounded most annoyed.  Then she gave me a limp fish handshake, marched into the house, sat on the sofa without being invited to do so, did a big hair swish (which didn't work so well on hair that was more than a bit dandelion-like in texture), and said, 'So, what did your last cat die from?  Was it hit by a car?' 

That set the tone for the interview.  She snapped accusatory questions at me and I snapped defensive answers back at her.  She insisted that the B-road that runs at the bottom of the garden was a 'very busy road' and did not seem to believe me that none of the previous cats had died of road traffic accident related injuries.  She made assumptions about what I wanted - 'How many cats do you want? You'll want one. What? You want two???'  and 'Do you want a cat or kittens?  You'll want kittens.  What?  You'd rather have a cat???'  We disagreed over the need to keep cats indoors at night, which is a Cats Protection requirement and which I don't feel is necessary in a semi-rural location.  And she said that the house was 'quite small, isn't it?' and then was taken aback when I drew her attention to the staircase leading to the upstairs. 

The interview ended with her telling me that there now would be a meeting about whether to approve me and that I'd hear 'sometime soon,' and with me telling her that it didn't sound like I was the kind of person that they were looking for and that I was happy to get my cats from the SSPCA.  Bitch.

If I'm being charitable (but why should I be?), I know that she is acting from a position of passion about doing the best thing for the cats in her care.  I understand the need for her to ask the questions that she was asking.  It was her condescending, aggressive, confrontational way of going about it that I objected to.  I also objected to her limp handshake and the way she kept swishing her hair, but perhaps that's not really relevant.

She's much prettier than this in real life!
Even if we get approved, I'm going to say no thanks.  The SSPCA has been helpful and welcoming; they actually ask the same questions as Cats Protection, but do it in an entirely different way...and anyway, I seem to have fallen for a shouty, demanding, traumatised puss with an attitude who has decided that I'm the one for her. 

Anyone see any parallels?


  1. Limp handshake AND swishing her hair, you're absolutely right to object!
    As to falling for a shouty, demanding, traumatised puss with attitude, well that's what you're great at so why fight it? And with kittens too... sounds like a perfect combination xx

    1. Kittens...I hadn't even thought about kittens, they're too much work and they get into everything! But once I had the grey & white one crawling up my leg and the grey one purring in my hand...kind of hard to say no!

  2. And as you know, grey is my positively favourite cat colour. I don't think I'd be able to resist! Good luck!

  3. Holy instinct says "boot that lady out of the house" :)..perhaps after saying "how long have they employed you to do this job so far? Would you like to keep it?"...or perhaps "I heard from the local cats over here that you're quite the bitch!"...

    Anyway, congrats on the newcomers...super cute!