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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The rest of the story: Zoe needs a new companion

Our guest blogger today is Diane Quinn from Las Vegas.  Diane recently lost her beloved cat Zorro, and successfully introduced a new kitty.  I asked her about this experience and she was kind enough to put "pen to paper".

You last met me when our beloved cat, Zorro, died unexpectedly of a heart condition.  (See EveryCloud Can Have a Silver Lining blog post.)  I introduced you to the Poppy Foundation and explained the outstanding work they do for unhealthy and unadoptable cats.  What I later learned is that our vet, who houses the Poppy Foundation in her hospital, also takes in feline patients when their human owners can no longer keep them.

In the weeks that followed Zorro’s death, we watched as our female Ragdoll, Zoe, went through a disturbing grieving process. Her personality changed, she pulled fur patches off the back of her neck, and she hid a lot under the bed, something she had never done before. She stopped sleeping with us as well. Our normally perky diva was depressed.  Fortunately, after about two months, she seemed almost like her old self again.

I came to realize that Zoe had never been an “only” cat before, and I wondered if she would be happy without a feline companion.  Then I began to think about what would happen when we traveled.  Even though we have two caring friends who stop in and cat sit, I had deep concerns about how she would manage basically by herself for a week at a time.

After a lengthy discussion with my husband who was resistant to getting another cat, he agreed to let me call the Poppy Foundation to see if they had a mature male at least five years old that needed a home. Zoe was about to turn nine, and we didn’t want a large age gap. Turns out they had three candidates.  As we were driving to the foundation, my husband said, “You know, I’d like to have a black cat with green eyes.”  At that point, color was the least of my worries as I focused on age, a personality fit and solid house training. 

When we walked into the Poppy Foundation there sitting on a chair all by himself was a black cat with green eyes. The volunteers told us that his name was BamBam, that he was their official greeter, and that he was one of our candidates. After we met the other two worthy felines, we had to make a decision. We both agreed that charming BamBam was the best suited for our home and as Zoe’s companion. 

We came back four days later to get him after he had a physical, dental work, updated shots and was groomed.  The Poppy Foundation never allows an adoption without knowing the adopter’s background and making sure the cat is in perfect health. 

This event was almost two months ago. The first thing my husband insisted on was giving our new black kitty a “manly” name more suited for his age—Rocky! It took just a matter of days to introduce him to our home. It was obvious that he was happy to find a real home again where he didn’t have to compete for attention.  Zoe was put out at first and exerted her diva personality in mostly non-aggressive ways.  Lucky for us, Rocky’s super friendly and loving personality won her over more quickly than we could ever have expected.

Zoe and Rocky are the best of buddies. They play together, watch birds and lizards side-by-side at the screen doors, and lick and love each other frequently.  Sure, they might have a territorial disagreement on occasion, but after a little boxing match, one usually gives in without any aggression.  More important is that we can go away now without guilt knowing that they have each other for loving companionship.

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