The Cat Project: Epic Fail

The Birman

Nearly 13 years ago we moved from Lancaster, PA to Florida. After we got moved into our new home in the Ocala National Forest, a lady from the church we were attending told us we needed a cat, and she knew where she could get one for us. Someone else in the church had a ten-year-old rescued Birman cat.This cat got on her husband’s nerves by making too much noise.

So, Baby Doll (she told us that was her name even though her former person told us it was “Jo-jo”) moved in. We didn’t see her for about three days; we just saw the evidence that she was alive. When she reappeared, Baby Doll gave us to understand that she was now in charge of supervising the whole family. She made it clear, however, that her primary project was my youngest daughter.

Baby Doll ruled with an iron fist encased in a velvet paw. She’d been declawed – a practice with which I do not agree – but she never allowed that to get in the way when she chastised us. Most people  thought  some of the things she said were rude, but she just sniffed and said, “It’s only rude if it isn’t true.” She spent much time recording her wisdom on DVDs for future generations; we still refer to them.

For eight years she loved us with all of her heart, looked after us, and kept us in line with her wise eyes. She had a purr you could hear anywhere in the house. In 2007, her 18th year of life, she supervised the choosing  and approval of spouses for each of our three children. Really. Shortly thereafter, she went into a decline. Even when her muscles became nearly paralyzed, she fought for life; we had to help her on her way. After she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we grieved long and much for her.

The Quest

We should have recognized that she could not be replaced, but last spring our tortie passed on, and we began to search for another Birman rescue. Meanwhile, the alpha female of our feral colony was killed by pit bulls. We missed her, but she left us one of her progeny, a young white and yellow tom cat who gave us to understand that he would not be opposed to moving into the house with us. We adopted him, called him George Bailey (it was Christmas), and he has been a thing of beauty, and a joy ever since then. (He has been studying Baby Dolls DVDs to great advantage. I am convinced that she was somehow involved.)

Not long ago, we got an alert from one of our sources that there was a Birman cat rescue available for adoption. They hoped they could place her and another cat who was being fostered with her.

We drove for close to two hours to see the cat. She was beautiful. But. They wanted us to take both, but I felt not quite comfortable.  One, because the “Birman” was a mixed breed cat with seal point coloring. Two, the other cat who had been touted as also a Birman was nothing of the sort. She was a really, big cat with beautiful blue eyes, and I could hardly pick her up. I felt they had not been honest, and felt the tiniest bit cheated. I was ready to walk away. But we both really wanted a Birman, and Mr. Price told me we could take both. And after the time and effort we had made to get there, I hated to walk away. So, we brought them home.

The Long Month

It was apparent to me when we arrived home that I should have listened more closely to the Voice that was nudging me to just go home.  The larger cat never did interact with our other fur babies. She spent most of her time cowering in a corner, or eating her face off. The Birman-ish cat did get along fine after a couple of weeks, but the logistics of caring for them both when one was not fitting in was a problem.

After some extended conversations with the folks from whom we adopted the cats, and we had valiantly attempted various strategies to get it to work, we admitted defeat. We asked several times if we could keep the Birmanesque cat, but they would have none of it. So, this past Wednesday, I packed them up, and returned them to their foster daddy. As a dear friend of mine noted, we discovered the difference between when God works something out, (George Bailey) and when we try to make something work out.

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About Susan P

Reader, writer, mother, grandmother, wife, traveler...
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