Now that HRH has made his own introduction, I present to you the newest member of our family: Gryffindor.
Gryffindor is a five-month-old ginger tabby. Some of you knew Gulliver, HRH’s big orange cat who used to perch on his shoulders. We lost Gully in October 2005 to kidney failure, and HRH has taken a long time to get over it. If — and it was a big if — HRH ever got another cat, it would have to be one with as much personality, and who clicked with him as well as Gully had. This kitten, whoever he would be, had big boots to fill. This past January HRH said to me that perhaps, if there was an orange kitten out there who needed rescuing, just maybe he would be ready to welcome another one into his heart and home… assuming there was that spark.
This past weekend, HRH met this little fellow in person, and watched him very critically. The kitten was friendly, well-grounded, not completely freaked out by Liam (this was important — we weren’t going to force a cat into our home if he didn’t get along with the boy, no matter how well the cat and HRH hit it off), and, most importantly… there was a connection made between HRH and the ginger kitten.
We signed the papers and brought him home. The highlight of the journey back was Liam lifting the edge of the blanket we’d snugged around the carrier, in response to a single tiny mew. He peeked in and said in the most tender voice I have ever heard him use, “It’s okay, buddy, we’ll be home soon.” Gryffindor spent a lot of his first afternoon with us under the comfy chair, watching the room. When Liam napped, he came out to play with a bit of string. And after the nap, he allowed HRH to hold him and met Liam properly. Over the next day he explored more and more of the room, and was even bold enough to try my office and the kitchen door.
What do the current feline residents think? Maggie has displayed a “whatever” attitude; if he gets too close she Looks at him and hisses half-heartedly. Nix and Cricket have cornered him once or twice by staring at him across the room, and make creaky noises when they see him in the same area, but other than that things are going very well indeed. He is open and cheerful and willing to meet them. He has shown himself to be a tremendously loud purrer, and very willing to be scratched and petted. Today he climbed up on HRH’s shoulder and rode along to the kitchen with him. I think there are wonderful things ahead for us all.
Did we need another cat? No. But it has always seemed mildly unfair that the cats we have all decided that they belong to me. And Maggie is the only one who will allow Liam to pick her up and cuddle her. She’s getting on; I don’t know how much more she’ll be able to take. It made sense to find a kitten who would grow up with Liam and not run from him the way the cats-who-can-no-longer-be-referred-to-as-‘the-kittens’ do. We felt it was time for us to give another abandoned or unwanted creature a place to be loved and kept safe. And with HRH finally coming to a point where he was ready for another cat, and the fortuitous discovery of a ginger kitten on the Animal Rescue Network (who ended up being adopted by someone else before our screening process was completed in early January, but they told us about this one they’d just rescued and who hadn’t even been catalogued yet), things simply happened in the right way at the right time. All of our cats have been rescued in one way or another, but this is the first time I’ve worked with a shelter. I cannot recommend the ARN highly enough; their principals and their commitment to placing their animals in the right kind of homes are admirable.
So here’s to many years of love and joy with Gryffindor, our newest member of the family. May we give him the home he’s always dreamed of, and may he live a long, happy life with us.
Oh, and those big boots the next cat would have to fill? Gryffindor has huge paws. And huge ears. And a very long tail. We suspect that he’s going to be a big boy, just as Gully was. He will never replace Gulliver in our hearts, but he seems to be a more than worthy successor, with a definite personality of his own.