Ryan and I have a problem. We adopted Sophie in June, but it’s not working out. She isn’t getting along very well with d’Artagnan and Paisley, and doesn’t seem completely comfortable here. Worst of all – and not unrelated – her toilet habits are driving us to distraction. Specifically, she pees. On everything.
So far nothing important has been ruined, but our laundry load is astounding (and disgusting).
When we adopted her, her foster family said that if things didn’t work out with Sophie that they would take her back, no questions asked, a week from them or five years from then. It was one of the things that helped us make the decision to bring her home – it was a safe gamble.
That is, it would have been. But when we called the phone number this morning to talk to Sophie’s foster mom, it was disconnected.
We couldn’t get through to the humane society, who organized the adoption. We’re hoping they’d have updated contact information – there’s no way we’d take Sophie to the pound. But they’re not answering their phone today. Ryan and I began thinking about alternative options, and decided to swing by Boise’s one and only no-kill shelter, Simply Cats. They’ve got a new facility in southwest Boise, and I’d always wanted to check it out.
We pulled up in the parking lot of a shiny new building and immediately saw an appealing feature – an entire wall of chicken wire, behind which cats lounged on kitty condos, watching birds gather on the strategically-placed feeders. We walked around the side of the building to see the cats before we went in… and that’s when we met Kingston.
He was in the second “room” down, sitting on the top perch of a condo, watching us as we approached. Mostly black, with attractively placed white splotches.
“Hello,” he said as we drew near.
I’m not being facetious. That damn cat said “hello.”
At first I thought it was just a strange meow, so I said “hello” back.
“Hello,” he repeated, clear as day. Bewitched, I kept saying “hello” and he kept re-greeting me, probably wondering why I didn’t get past the greetings and get to the small talk.
“Is that for real?” Ryan asked, his face an open pane of astonishment, I’m sure just like mine.
“Hello,” I said to the cat.
“I love you,” he told me.
This was just too much. We started howling with amazed laughter. “I love you,” said Ryan.
“I love you,” repeated Kingston.
“I love you,” I said.
“Hello,” he replied. Then, “I love you.”
At a certain point there was no longer any point continuing the conversation, because we were too breathless with laughter to keep it up. We walked into the shelter and met the two employees within.
At first we kept it to business, asking about surrendering Sophie. There’s a waiting list to surrender a cat there, but they told us how to get on it. It’s expensive, too – $150. Worth it, I think, in saved dry cleaning bills and the price of cleaning products… plus, five minutes in Simply Cats and we were sure that there was no other place (other than her foster home) that we would ever take our cat. I’ll get back to that, though.
“Can we take a look around?” we asked.
“Of course,” the volunteers said.
“Uhm,” I ventured, “are you aware that you have a talking cat?”
They laughed. “Oh, definitely. That’s Kingston. In fact, the news is going to come down and film a segment about him in a few days.” Apparently he’d arrived (a week or so ago) with the greeting in his repertoire, and a volunteer had worked with him to teach him the endearment.
We went in to see Kingston in person. What a talker! He loved all over us and reminded us, over and over, that he was happy to see us and felt very fondly about us. Sleek and obviously happy, Kingston seemed to me to be an older cat – maybe in his “tweens.” He shared a room with three other cats of similar age and temperament.
“We really can’t,” I said.
“No,” Ryan said. “We can’t.”
We took a tour of the other cat rooms and met many charming and sweet felines, some permanent residents due to age or health problems, some waiting for the right home. One, a 13-year-old orange tabby with diabetes, helped himself to a perch on my shoulder and quite made himself at home.
This story does not end with Ryan and I trading Sophie for Kingston. (What a callous sentence….) No; Kingston is still a resident at 2833 S. Victory View, where I imagine he’ll greet each of the visitors until the day of his television debut; at that time he might as well pack his bags and sit back to watch the stampede of people eager to adopt him. We’re not even on the waiting list for Sophie yet, because the person we need to talk to is out sick this week. Basically, we accomplished absolutely nothing – other than witnessing something rather miraculous. Talking cats. What will this crazy world put before me next?