Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Meet a Cat - Zimmy
Way back when we lived in the big house Aidan and Bella were my cats that I had before Brian. They were pretty tight, especially now that we have 5 cats and none of them cuddle, I miss the days seeing Aidan and Bella draped on each other.
I also had a real job back then that made me cry and everything. Oh those were the days. One day Brian called me at work (on a freaking land line people! it was that long ago) and said there were kittens living behind his office. Brian works downtown in this cute tiny little building that has a small fenced yard in the back, and a mom cat found her way back there with two tiny little kittens. There are multiple restaurants nearby and birds and other creatures. One of Brian's employees brought in a huge bag of cat food and they would feed the mom cat every day. I would camp out in Brian's office window that overlooks the back yard, hoping to catch a glipse of the kittens. Then I would slowly creep into the kitchen and try to open the backdoor without the mom cat hearing me and take pictures. She was pretty quick so all I got were shadowy photos of them in then impossibly tiny area between Brian's building and the building next door, like 6 or 8 inches wide, not much at all.
One day Brian's office caught one of the kittens and every one was like what do we do, what do we do, so Brian calls me again and I said if they are still nursing then he needs to put the kitten back outside.
This, my friends, is my biggest cat mistake of all time and I'm going to tell you why.
I have caught multiple cats since Zimmy and I have learned the trick. The moment you see a kitten eat the slightest morsel of cat food it's time to grab that cat. You cannot wait until they never nurse again because I've seen kittens almost the size of their mommas still nursing, it's incredible. You can't wait or they will get too feral. You want that sweet spot between can sort of eat regular food and still wobbles around not knowing there's a scary human hovering over them.
When Brian called me, that was the sweet spot and he had Zimmy in his hands, perfect Zimmy in his hands, and he put him back outside. We waited about 2 or 3 more weeks, maybe more, and borrowed a trap from animal control and we were ready to catch both kittens and catch & release the mom cat. One of the employees was going to take the other kitten and we were going to keep Zimmy.
Brian caught two other cats before catching one of the cats we were trying to catch. One we are pretty certain is Zimmy's dad because he was so gigantic when Brian opened the trap door this huge black butt wiggled his way backwards out of the crate in such a way that we still laugh about it to this day. And Zimmy seems to have inherited that giant cat's rear end.
I don't remember the order that we caught the two kittens and the mom but we brought them all to a vet in a bordering county. I can't remember what she charged us but I think the mom cat was free if we paid for the kittens. The kittens were very sick with the eye thing Grayson had (and actually has today). This was where I made my second cat mistake. I kept the kittens together in the front, upstairs bathroom (oh yes, I used to have 3 bathrooms) and they kept swapping the sickness back and forth and prolonged the illness. Also the other kitten, not Zimmy, hated me, I mean really HATED me and that rubbed off on Zimmy who thought perhaps maybe the lady with the feather wand was okay until his sister would hiss and freak out and then he'd start shaking. Oh it was awful, awful times. Plus I was only there after work and I'd sit in that bathroom for like 2 hours every night trying to socialize them.
I should have either separated them, good lord we had the space, or given Mia to her new momma. The plan was to get them healthy and then give Mia to Brian's employee but they ended up never really getting better so she had to give her medicine anyway. By then it was even more weeks later, 2 weeks or so and Zimmy still had only hung out with me only when another cat was hissing and hating me.
Even then I moved Zimmy into the front bedroom for another week or so for his eye to heal and he was practically adult before he saw anyone but me or saw another cat. He immediately took to Aidan and Bella but he is one scared cat. He spends most of the time hiding and the rest of the time relentlessly wanting affection, like constant, overkill, one might say.
The mom cat was the only cat we've ever tried catch and release. We brought her back to Brian's office after her surgery, she was pretty pissed and you could tell she was really lonely. The next day she was gone, we never saw her again.
When Andy joined the family a few years later Andy immediately became head honcho cat and Aidan suffered the brunt of that because he used to be head honcho. A couple years later, Aidan doesn't really care anymore, so Andy takes the bulk of his aggression out on Zimmy. I'm not sure why.
Zimmy is like the sweetest cat of all time. It's not all the time but it's there. Fox has become Andy's right hand man so he is almost as bad.
Because Zimmy is somewhere between scared silly and wanting to be loved he spends a lot of time laying in the hallway watching us. We call him our threshold kitty because that's usually where he is ready to flee if necessary but happy to hang out in the meantime.
I'm pretty certain Zimmy is the most beautiful cat I've ever seen. I love photographing him because he is so pretty and isn't hyper and will hold a pose waiting for my fumbling fingers. I always feel a little sad that Zimmy is such a timid cat and I could have grabbed him earlier and he'd be a completely different cat. But I think at the same time he's very loved and happy and he's so lucky to have the life that he does, I just wish I could have made it a little better for him.