A few weeks before Mim died, John and I took a little walk to Petco Unleashed in our neighborhood to get her a heated bed. We walked in and there was Emily, Dilly and Mim's foster Mom! And there were a dozen or so cats looking for families. I wanted to start volunteering with them the next weekend, but felt like Mim needed all of our attention.
We put Mim to sleep in early February, and by March I felt like I was ready to start volunteering. To be honest, in addition to missing Mim, my life felt a tiny bit void of all the "taking care" of her activities I had been doing for months (feeding, baths, medicine, cuddles). I thought this was the perfect way to fill that void and help out some cute cats, too.
That first Sunday that I went as I walked out the door, John looked at me and said "Babe, remember while you're there that I don't think I'm really ready for another cat yet." I thought he was nuts. Clearly we weren't ready for another cat. We just spent 7 months of our lives basically running a cat hospice. "I'm not ready either," I said to him as I marched out the door.
That first weekend was hard for me. I loved being with the cats and the other volunteers but even considering the possibility that we might get another cat made my heart hurt.
I volunteered a bunch in March and I got to know the cats and saw them off to new families as they got adopted, which made me so happy.
But then the fourth weekend that I volunteered a new cat named Lucy came to the event.
I spent almost the entire day in front of her cage with the door open petting her while she slept and throwing her tiny ball across her cage for her to chase. John and I had been talking all month about whether or not we should consider getting another cat or if it felt like it was too soon. I took a picture of Lucy and sent it to him with the message "I think we're in trouble."
One of the other volunteers came over to me and I told her how much I loved her. She asked me if I had held her at all during the day and when I said no she yelled "But you already texted your husband? Pick that cat up!"
When I got home that night John and I talked about it. Did Dilly really want another cat in the house? She didn't really love Mim a lot, but maybe that was because she was so sick? Do we want another cat? Are we really thinking this through? Are we insane for treating a cat adoption like we're having a baby? Will everyone think we're crazy because Lucy only has one eye?
Oh right. I didn't mention that, did I? Lucy only had one eye. And it just so happened to be her left eye. And don't ya know, Dilly is missing her left leg. Everyone will think we're nuts. But did we really care?
The next weekend, John came with me to the event and Lucy's foster Mom brought her to meet him. We talked to her about how Lucy was with other cats and the three of us stood in the Petco bathroom staring at her while Lucy tried to get herself into the sink. She lived with other cats and she played with them nicely and liked to cozy. She ate whatever her foster Mom gave her she slept through the night. Other than her missing eye, she was perfectly, 100%, gold standard healthy. And that was a big deal for us.
"Lets take her home," John said. And that was that.
I had to work the event for the rest of the day, and John took her home. I kept getting texts from John "I put her in the bathroom!" "Dilly is smelling under the door!" "She is letting me hold her!"
The other volunteers recommended that we keep her and Dilly separate for at least a week. We kept Lucy in the bathroom for 24 hours and then she wanted out and Dilly wanted in, so we gave it a go. It took a few days, but slowly but surely they started warming up to each other. I'm sure smooshing them together as though they loved each other, helped too!
We both decided we didn't like the name Lucy so we spent four days emailing, calling and texting each other names we thought we liked. I wanted to name her Earl like Earl Grey tea. John said no she couldn't have a boy's name. Shannon suggested P'Earl (which I LOVED) and John promptly vetoed. Finally, John picked a name (from Conan the Destroyer, I kid you not) and I liked it! And I gave her a middle name even though John swears cats don't need middle names.
Zula is such a talker! After Mim died, our house felt too quiet without her meows. Zula literally just walks around the house yelling all the time, so that has been a really great addition.
And now Zula and Dilly are best friends! They chase each other around the house like two lunatics and they follow me where ever I go in our house. Last week I opened the bathroom door one morning to find them waiting for me.