Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

The arrival of Tristan

Neva posted some pictures on facebook on Saturday. She and her husband had rescued a young cat, and he needed a home. They are way beyond overloaded at her home, and anyone who has read her blog knows this.

My cat, Tempest, loves being an only child. Typical of cats, I’d guess. I’ve been thinking for months that I needed to rescue another cat. There’s a lot of guilt. Guilt knowing that Tempest is happy as an only-child, guilt thinking of all the animals needing rescue. I had come to the conclusion that if I took in another cat, I needed to make it a special needs cat, a cat who would have a hard time finding a home.

I had it in my head that I would rescue a blind cat. A special need that is given no chance at most shelters, but which is actually fairly easy to handle, from what I’ve read.

But Saturday Neva posted about Tristan. She told me that he loves other cats, and she also told me that his shyness would require a lot of work to get him to trust, and that shyness was the number one reason that cats get passed over or returned, in her experience with rescue.

So Tristan came to live with me yesterday. He’s a tiny bundle of cuteness. He loves to be held, he purrs constantly. He seems to be doing well in his new situation. For now he is living in my bathroom. I need to give him time before I let him loose in the rest of the condo, where he could find some impossibly small cranny to wiggle into, and I need to give Tempest time to get used to the idea. She’s afraid of him right now.

Tempest voices her opinion on Tristan from on top of the cat tree

Tempest voices her opinion on Tristan from on top of the cat tree

The thing is, I feel like I’ve cheated. Tristan is a feral kitten, somewhere around 3 or 4 months old, who had been living in the yard of a building across the street from where Sean works. Sean had to work hard to trap him, and it was clear from Tristan’s skinniness that he’d been on his own for a while. But when they brought him to my place, and we all trooped into my bathroom and they scooped out the little guy and put him in my lap, he started purring. He’s stopped a couple times since he arrived, but mostly he purrs non-stop.

He loves to be held. He doesn’t mind being held upside down, and will actually flip himself on his back when he’s in my lap. He loves to play. I’m not sure he knew how to play with toys when he first got here, but he’s all over it now. Neva and Sean brought a toy for him when they brought him to my place; a squeaky mouse on a string that hangs from the door. I can hear him playing with that constantly. He also plays with the other toys I’d brought in that I thought he might enjoy. One of them is a giant plush toy; my hope is to get him to associate the playful biting and scratching as something to do to the plush toy, not to me!

He wants to play not only near me, but on me. He wants to climb my legs and jump from my legs to the floor and back again. He is already learning how to weave through my feet. He wants to be touching me all the time.

In other words, I’ve somehow accidentally cheated. I got the feral kitten who was easy! (Plus I think Neva and Sean did the hard work before he came to me.)

And so despite my best intentions of taking in a difficult to place cat, I have ended up with the cutest fluffiest friendliest little kitten anyone can imagine.

It’s hard to complain.


11 responses to “The arrival of Tristan

  1. trktos September 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    You could always think of it as “temporarily cheating” – give Tristan a chance to settle in, Tempest a chance to get used to him and start thinking about kitty #3! 😉

  2. Deb September 8, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    lol! That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. “Maybe Tristan would make it easier for another cat to settle in with Tempest.”

  3. kayten September 9, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Your story sounds sooo similar to mine. I too adopted a 4 month old timid feral kitten, an “un-adoptable”. He was the same way, always purring and so lovey dovey. I also felt as if it were too easy. I was prepared for a the long arduous task of socializing a feral kitten, and it turned out to be easy and kind of second nature and also amazingly rewarding. Congrats! He sounds happy already.

  4. trktos September 9, 2009 at 10:02 am

    i have to say, i had no idea i’d get the graphical winky face. how un-technically-cool.

    but, yep, tristan will soften tempest up – certainly she’d get used to a kitten faster than an older cat? especially one with a disability?

    haha, how big’s your condo again?

    i completely understand the sentiment, though – i sort of want to adopt a deaf dog.

  5. Deb September 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    @kayten, that’s so funny that you had the same experience as I’ve had with Tristan! How is your little guy around new people? That will be telling, I think. My other cat is bold as can be, right up until someone new walks in, or it thunders. I forget sometimes that she isn’t always bold!

    @trktos, I would bet that Tempest will get used to a kitten faster than she has to older cats (did some months-long cat sitting for some coworkers a few years back), but I’ve also heard that most cats take to cats-with-disabilities quickly also. I guess they’re less of a threat? You never really know until you try it! My condo is less than 700 sq ft. 😮

    I know you know about the deaf dog blog. I think they’re on twitter too. At least, I get tweets about deaf dogs needing to be adopted. It breaks my heart. I hate that whenever the slightest thing is “off”, people don’t want to adopt that particular cat or dog. Tempest has a very crooked tail, and when I adopted her from the humane society the shelter working made sure to point out her “defect”. Because, I was shocked at the time to hear, some people would return a 13 week old kitten to the shelter if they got her home and found that she wasn’t perfect.

    (The truth, as Tempest would be quick to point out, is that she IS perfect, crooked tail and all. lol.)

  6. greentangle September 10, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Tristan is a cutie.

    I took in a feral kitten five years ago who was very friendly with me right from the start, but he still hides whenever someone else comes in the apartment. He’ll usually even get down from a window if someone walks by outside.

    Unfortunately, I have to give him up in a few weeks. He spent a trial couple weeks with the people who are taking him and was friendly with them–it seems like it’s just new people in his space he’s afraid of, not necessarily the new people themselves.

  7. Mary Martin September 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks for the story. I’ve been so out of touch I had no idea of the Neva connection. Of course, I always favor adopting those who are considered unadoptable (like black ferals). I look forward to hearing more about the Tristan/Tempest journey to peaceful roommateness.

  8. LIP September 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Long time no talk to. Tristan is a cutie, poor Tempest’s picture had me cracking up. Hope you and the cats are doing okay.

  9. Deb September 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    @greentangle – I have a feeling Tristan is going to be like your cat. The condo maintenance men were walking by my living room the other day and Tristan ran under the bed. I haven’t seen yet how he’ll be with other people, but I’m betting he’ll hide first. That’s how Tempest is too, though!

    @Mary – the journey to Tristan/Tempest peaceful roommateness would be going faster if Tristan wasn’t so convinced that the way to win Tempest’s heart was to attack her! He’s trying to play, she’s not amused. But really they’re doing well. And I have a flip (very simple camcorder) so I might have some cute videos to share at some point!

    @LIP – wow, a name from the past! Good to see you poke your head in here. Hope you and Ida and all the gang are doing well!

  10. johanna September 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Awww, so adorable!

    If intercat relations need a bit of help, there’s a lot of good info in this article. Also, if more advanced measures are required, the book Cat vs. Cat may be useful!

    Good luck. Awwwwww new kitty!!!

  11. Deb September 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    johanna, that was a great article! I can see that it would have likely helped things along with tristan and tempest because the first greetings tempest made to tristan without hisses were after he’d eaten and she wanted to sniff him to see what he’d been eating! I think I’ll pick up a copy of that book too, just to learn a bit more. The T’s are doing really well now, though Tempest isn’t all that interested in the pounce-play that Tristan seems to want! But he’s actually learning to not do that. He is young and wants attention from her, so he’s going to learn the rules she sets out, I think.

    I really appreciate these resources! 🙂

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