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Sugar Bowl Mix: I was wrong

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I was wrong

I'm participating in Mama Kat's writing prompt: A time you were wrong.

The stench was putrid in the room full of fourteen rescue kittens looking for homes. Kitten poop and pee. Too many cats together in too little space with no windows. It was hard to be in there for more than five minutes. But we stayed. A whole thirty minutes. I wanted a snuggly, confident, loud little Meeser. Like the two Siamese cats I'd had for years.

I chose one who snuggled against me and purred.

Katie wanted a crazed but beautiful little girl. Tim and I said no. We didn't want a crazed kitten.

Caroline took to a shy, lanky, blue-eyed baby with stripes on his face, legs and tail. And ears that were too big for his head. He didn't want to be held. He shook in fear the whole time he sat on her lap. He didn't utter a sound the entire time we were there.

I didn't want him.

"Let her have him," Tim said. "She empathizes with his shyness."

We took him.

We named him Cooper.

(We also took the one I wanted. We lost him a few months later.)

To our surprise Cooper didn't hide or shake when we brought him home.

But he nipped and he swatted. Not a lot. But enough that it was annoying.

He didn't melt into me when I picked him up. Instead, he held both his paws out in front of him, as though in defense.

For a while I wondered if he was missing his vocal chords. That was weird. A cat without a voice. When he finally talked it was a high-pitched, small sound. Not really a meow. More of a squeak.

I felt guilty about not liking him more. I even wrote a post about him: The Coopie-McCoops ProblemHe's not a super cat, I said. He's the girls' cat, not mine.

We almost lost him to a long piece of a toy horse harness. A lot of fluids, barium and a night at the vet's helped him pass it. Almost losing him made me appreciate him a little more.

Showing his shaved leg from the IV 
He started sleeping with me. He's snuggly with me at night. I like the feeling of him there. When it's cold he curls up close to my head. When it's hot he stretches out like a cat sausage, all his legs up in the air. He's a sound sleeper. So sound that I've accidentally pushed him off the bed. Twice.

So a year has passed and his creamy body has given way to stripes. He's grown into his ears and paws. He rarely nips. He rarely swats. He's with me all the time. He lets the new kitten snuggle with him. He doesn't scratch the furniture. He doesn't chew on anything. He doesn't jump on the counters or the table or steal food.

This morning Caroline was home sick. Cooper climbed onto her lap and snuggled down for a long snooze. The first time he's ever done that.

I was wrong about Cooper.

The way he looks at me out of those blue eyes. The way he's with me all the time. The way he sleeps with me. The way he's chosen Caroline as his special family member. The way he tolerates Katie when she carries him, his legs dangling. The way he put up with Katie forcing him into a paper cat house she made. The way he's sensitive. The way it's taken him all this time to grow his confidence. All of it.

He's ours to stay. My guilt is gone.

I want Cooper now and if I had to do it over I'd pick him again.

Have you ever been unsure of an animal you've adopted?

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