Stephanie has had many cats over the years and considers each one special.
My Furry Little Friend
When I moved out of my parents' house into an apartment, I knew I'd be getting a cat. I actually grew up with dogs, but when I was fifteen, my older sister adopted a kitten from her friend's litter. Pixel was temperamental to say the least, but he was an adorable little bundle of fur anyway. He started a trend in my household and, to make a long story short, by the time I moved out, my parents had six cats.
I absolutely loved having all the kitties around, so there was no question that I'd be looking for a furry companion. It was just a matter of waiting till I was settled and finding the right cat. I hadn't quite managed the first part when Tex entered my life, but there's no doubt that he was the perfect cat.
All images belong to author.
Tex's Entrance Into My Life
Love at first sight
After I’d been in my apartment for a couple of weeks, I started looking online at our local animal shelter’s website. They have pictures and info about all of the pets available for adoption. I wasn’t seriously considering getting anyone yet, but it was fun to browse through the pictures and start thinking about who might be a good fit. I was looking for a slightly older cat because kittens seem to have a better chance of being adopted, so I wanted to give an adult cat a chance. There was a few cats who fit the bill, but it was still hypothetical at that point.
Six weeks after I had moved, my mom dragged me down to the pet store to see a cat up for adoption. (All the cats at this pet store are actually from the animal shelter.) I had seen this particular cat, Pumpkin, on the website and felt quite sorry for her. She was 11 years old and had been up for adoption for nearly three months. We went in to visit with her, but she wasn’t particularly interested in me. We figured this was probably because she had seen so many people come and go that she couldn’t be bothered with someone new. What’s the point when you know they won’t take you home, anyway?
Despite her indifference, I still felt bad for Pumpkin. The poor girl needed a good home and I knew I could give her that. But, I just didn't feel a connection. So, while I hadn't made any final decision about her, I thought I'd see some of the other cats while I was there. I asked to see Tommy, a 4 year old orange tabby. He came into the room and was certainly playful, but he was much more interested in the room itself than in me. As cute as he was, he just didn't seem like the right cat.
Next, I asked to see Tex. I'd seen him (along with Tommy and Pumpkin) on the website and he had popped out at me every time. He was also 4 years old, which was just about the age I was hoping for. As soon as they opened the cage door, he jumped out and came right over to me. Unlike Tommy, he was quite intrigued by this new person in the room. I was already liking him and when I pet his back right at the base of his tail, he flopped over onto the floor. Right at that second, I fell in love. (I actually call him "my little flopper" sometimes.) We played with some of the toys in the room and even though he explored the whole space, he kept coming back to investigate me. He was the perfect cat, but the problem was, I still felt sorry for Pumpkin.
When Tex went back into his cage, I started mulling over the dilemma. I felt a strong connection to Tex, but I couldn't help feeling like if I didn't adopt Pumpkin, I would be just one more person who had rejected her. I think we spent a good twenty minutes in the pet store while I tried to figure out what to do. As I was finally deciding I should get Pumpkin and give her a good home, a woman from the Humane Society came in with a new kitten. I told her my decision and could hardly believe her response. Somehow, after being at the store for nearly three months, Pumpkin had just been adopted by someone else in those few minutes.
Actually, it wasn't a complete shock. When my mom and I had arrived at the store, a young couple had been looking at Pumpkin and it was obvious the girl was quite infatuated with her. However, the timing still seemed unreal. Since I no longer needed to feel guilty about leaving Pumpkin behind, I knew I wanted to adopt Tex. We didn't waste any time calling the Humane Society and going across town to sign the paper work. Three days later, Tex came home.
Our First Few Days
The Humane Society is only a five minute drive from my apartment, and that’s if I get the one traffic light red. However, it was five minutes too long for Tex. He spent the whole car ride crying. As soon as I got into my apartment and opened his box, he shot across the room. He had no idea what to make of his new place or everything that was happening. To try and make him feel better, I opened the Temptations cat treats I had bought. BIG mistake. He immediately snapped them up and he has never forgotten them. I stopped giving them to him a few years ago (he now gets an arthritis chew treat, which he also loves), but he used to have every expectation of getting them several times a day. In the mornings, he would charge into the kitchen as soon as I was up, waiting very impatiently for his morning fix.
Regardless of the consequences, the treat seemed to calm him down some and he began to explore his new home a little. He even sat in front of the balcony door and enjoyed the fresh fall air. He wasn’t too sure about being picked up, but then again, he will still only tolerate this for a minute or two at a time. You can see my first attempts at holding him in this image and the one above. In the above picture especially, he’s trying his best to get away.
What was especially interesting about his first few days with me was that he wouldn’t leave me alone. Literally. He would sit within a few feet of wherever I was and if I got up, he came with me. If I so much as shifted slightly he perked up, wanting to know what I was doing. This habit didn’t die easily. For months he would be my shadow, almost always following me wherever I went. If I took a shower, he would be outside the bathroom door when I came out—every single time. It took well over a year for him to stay asleep if I got up. He came with the name Tex, and I really never considered changing it, but I quite often wonder if he should have been named Shadow.
Tex's First Christmas Present
When I was little, I was fascinated by the cat trees I saw in pet stores. Even though we didn’t get a cat till I was in high school, I just loved these unique structures. My parents’ house has lots of places for the cats to look outside, but my own place is a bit limited. The window ledge is alright, but it’s not wide enough for Tex to lie down on. This gives me the perfect excuse to have a cat tree! For his first Christmas, we were both quite surprised by my parents’ gift of a huge cat tree. It’s not especially fancy (certainly not compared to some of the ones available!), but he loves it. And, to be honest, so do I.
The top of the tree is quite high and for a long time he didn’t even attempt to get on it. He was content to sit on the middle portion and watch the cars going by on the street. However, eventually he worked up the courage to take the leap to the top. He now pretty much refuses to sit on the middle shelf!
Tex loves to curl up in the linen closet!
Our Time Together
Tex loves his playtime. Especially late at night, he's thrilled to chase around all the toys I throw for him. He has one ball he especially loves to chase and he never seems to grow tired of it. When it rolls by him, he leaps into the air and pounces on it. He's also a big fan of his toy mice. He often crouches behind a box or chair and waits till I toss a toy, then captures his prey. I love watching him; he is so animated and it's a great bonding time. Even when I'm tired at night, I try to make sure we have a bit of time for playing. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share. It's one of the drawbacks of living alone. The picture here instead is of him flopping over enjoying a good back scratch.
This year, I knew without a doubt what to get Tex for Christmas. Sometimes when I watch T.V., he glances at it, but barely gives it more than a passing thought. However, this fall I was watching T.V. one morning and an infomercial for The Cat's Meow came on. Tex was lying on the coffee table between me and the T.V. First, he turned his head and kept his eyes glued on the screen, which was unusual. Then, he actually got right off the coffee table, went over to the T.V., and put his paws up on the screen. He has never done anything like that before. I knew exactly what he wanted for Christmas! His interest in The Cat's Meow comes and goes, but he definitely likes it.
The Cat's Meow
Pictures of Tex
What do you think of Tex? Let me know here! Or share your own kitty story.