I wasn’t planning on getting another cat. I really wasn’t. The house does not lack for felines, as everyone knows, and the last thing we need is another one.
And you can’t replace a cat like Ben. You shouldn’t even try.
Since Ben’s passing, there’s been a void. Not an emotional void so much as…well…a power vacuum.
Ben ruled with an iron fist. Without him, the house is like a small, backward country who has lost its dictator. The cats are confused, the second-in-command has taken over and is a bit stressed out by it, and the police are running roughshod over the populace.
(And by “police” I mean the beagle, who is slowly learning that there are no cats who will stand up to him now, and so is getting increasingly likely to chase a cat down the hall or to shove his face in when two cats are having a friendly tussle.)
And then I was at PetSmart, buying dog food, which is located next to the cat adoption center, and I saw him.
He was looking regal and villainous. His name—I kid you not—was “Prince Sergio.” His description said “I’m very nice, as long as I am in charge. I have to be the dominant cat.” (It repeated in this fashion for about another paragraph.)
I thought “Well….it can’t hurt to ask.”
So after several phone calls with his foster, and a meeting where he proved inquisitive and affectionate…well, there’s a one-eyed Russian in my master bathroom. (His name has already been shortened down to “Sergei” because it’s easier.) “Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys” muttered Kevin, lugging his carrier up the stairs.
(The one concern is that he’s not terribly fond of dogs. When I asked about this, they explained that cats who are on the bottom row of cages at the pet store get people who think it’s cute to let their dogs lunge at the cages. There is not a hell deep enough, obviously, but while most cats are either frightened or ignore it completely, Sergei would beat on the glass and demand they come into the cage and say that, which frankly seems like a perfectly valid response. His other experience with dogs is that he ignores them unless they attempt to get up in his face, in which case they will be smacked. This was Ben’s opinion as well.)
What we know about him is that he’s 3 years old and was found at a small travel hotel in Virginia. The family who ran the hotel had been feeding him, and he had taken to breaking into the rooms while the maids were cleaning so that he could sleep on the beds.
Obviously we can’t know for sure, but I’d say it’s pretty obvious he was dumped by somebody—Kevin thinks it’s probably because of his eye.
As you can see in the photo, he’s got a bad eye. I’m gonna take him into my vet for a second opinion, but the vet who examined him said that he probably had an infection as a kitten and the eye didn’t develop properly. It’s blind, rather underdeveloped, and recessed, with a film over it, so mostly what you see is a blank pink space.
Because of this, he was practically unadoptable. He’s gorgeous and friendly and got some interest, but apparently small children would burst into tears and so forth. (It’s ugly, I won’t lie, but odds are good we won’t even notice in a week.) He had been in foster care for over a year and they had given up putting him on display at the stores, except that his foster was moving apartments and several of her cats had to get relocated for the duration.
When we came to pick him up, half the staff of the PetSmart came up to find out who was adopting Sergio—long-term cats like that tend to develop fans. They were grabbing people from the back and dragging them up to meet the people who were taking Sergio home, telling me what a great cat he was. His cat bed and stuffed rat were comped by the manager. I heard several anecdotes. “He’s sensitive about his eye,” one told me. “He won’t even look at you if he thinks you’re talking about his eye.” (Oooo…kay….)
The descriptions say he’s part Russian Blue—joking aside, I’m somewhat skeptical, as his good eye is gold and his coat isn’t as short and dense as that sort of breed. He does have the classic lavender paw pads, however, as opposed to gray, so I can’t rule out that there’s a Russian Blue somewhere in his background. Most likely, however, he’s a plain ‘ol American domestic shorthair with a blue coat…but when he’s looking regal, there is a definite “I am the Tsar of All Russias! Bow before me, peasant!” air about him.
He and Angus are currently glaring at one another through the crack in the bathroom door. They’ve had two smack-fests already, and Angus’s body language has changed from “INTERLOPER!” to “I think I’ll go over here for a bit.” While Sergei is not in Ben’s weight class and does not have that worthy’s indomitable “I WILL DESTROY YOU!” tendencies, I rather suspect that he will be in charge of the house before the week is out.
And if all goes well, perhaps things will finally get back to normal in our small nation, and the trains will again run on time.