Two months ago, after days of hand-feeding and hoping and remembering and crying and realizing it was the end, we said goodbye to our beautiful Russian Blue kitten, Dash. Her ashes – along with her collar and a few tufts of fur – currently sit in a box on a windowsill where she can enjoy the sunbeams until she’s laid to rest permanently. Two ceramic pawprints with her name in raised letters sit on my computer table, where she would climb up for snuggles, as a testament that says “Dash was here.”
But Dash WAS here, and a hole opened up in our little kitty kingdom. The Boy cat and Jenny consoled each other somewhat, but they each grieved in their own ways. Annie started pacing back and forth in front of me while I was on the phone, demanding my attention, something only Dasher ever did. I could hear the echo of Dash’s meow at unexpected moments and it stabbed me in the heart, while Ben sought comfort in the other critters. We knew, very quickly, that we needed to give another Russian Blue a good home.
And we quickly found one.
We saw Wolf’s picture on the SCARS Web site only a few weeks after Dasher’s death, and we knew she was the kitty we could help, and she was the kitty who could help fill that empty space. The look on her face, and the fact that she needed to be around other kitties told us that we would all be a perfect fit. From the instant we met her, she allowed us to play with her, to pick her up, to show us her sassy side. At only six months old, she showed us that she wasn’t afraid to holdd her own against more dominant cats, and she clearly needed other kitties so she wouldn’t feel like she was all by herself.
From the moment we brought her home, she possessed such confidence and security. She did not spend one minute hiding, but instead made herself comfortable on the arms of our couches, watching everything around her, as if to ccalmly tell the other kitties, “I’m here, I’m exploring, I’m figuring out my own place in this pecking order… you, deal with it.” Within only a few weeks, she went from a clumsy uncoordinated six-month-old kitten to a growing, purring, playful bundle of energy. She and the Boy wrestled and played not long after Wolfie came home, and the difference in the Boy, too, was startling.
It’s fun, learning how to communicate with a new, young cat. We’d taken for granted the quirks of Annie, Dash and Wayne, knowing on instinct their favorite toys or when they preferred snuggles or how they liked to tell us to please for the love of God change the litter boxes. Wolfie through all of that into disarray. We learned very quickly that the way to her heart is toy mice, that she and the Boy will stand side by side when food is poured into the bowls, that her favorite sound is the sound her claws make while she tries to climb up the window screens. She has different meows that we’re still trying to decipher, but most of them seem to indicate a brief, “Hi! I’m here!” She doesn’t seem to like the bell on her collar or her license tag, as evidenced by the fact that she can crane her neck down and bite at the tag at any opportunity. Wolfie has no interest in going outside, but she loves to spend hours in the breeze by the back door.
But why would I say she is a blind-friendly cat?
With me, she is not silent. Ever. She actually comes to her name about 80% of the time. The rest of the time, when I call her, she will announce her presence with a quick meow or a jingle of her collar. If I put my hand down after calling her, she will put her nose up against my fingers, then let me pick her up for a snuggle. Even if I’m near her, petting another kitty, her loud kittenish purr gives her location away instantly. She communicates in her own way with Ben, of course, but I’ve learned she only seems to do these things with me, as though she understands that if she wants to get my attention, tactile and verbal cues are the way to do it.
Wolfie will never replace Dash, not really. But some of her quirks make it feel like Dasher is still here with us. Sometimes, we have to stop ourselves from calling Wolf “Dash”. That gets easier with time, and as Wolf grows into a more confident, stronger kitty. She’s slid herself into our kitty kingdom almost seamlessly; and even though she and Dasher never met, I think they would’ve been friends.
Welcome home, Wolfie. We’re happy to have given you a fur-ever home. Thank you for loving us, for making us laugh, for keeping us on our toes. And Dasher… if you sent us this kitty, thank you, too, sweet girl. Enjoy your sunbeams.