On the day we went to pick up the cats, the weather was absolutely boiling. We were in the middle of a heatwave that appeared likely to continue for several weeks. It certainly wasn’t the most ideal time to be keeping all your windows and doors closed to keep cats inside but I was as excited as anything! We loaded the cats’ cages and some treats into the boot and set off. On the way, I marked July 15th as ‘Cat Parent Anniversary Day’ in our calendars with a yearly notification. Much eye-rolling went on from my boyfriend.
We met the fosterer again at the door and she showed us in. We had brought cash to pay the adoption fee (£80 for two cats) which we handed over. Then we were ushered over to a table where all the adoption paperwork was waiting for us. Some of the documents included:
- Adoption agreement.
- Medical records containing check-up details and FIV/FeLV test results.
- Donation card that could be presented at the fosterer’s local vet for the second part of the vaccination to be performed for free.
- Charlie’s and Socks’s microchip details so we could transfer them to our home address.
- Details about the pet insurance cover (first four weeks covered for free by PetPlan).
- Helpful information we could use for support.
While we were filling in the forms, the fosterer went to fetch the cats for us. She swiftly re-appeared at the door with Charlie’s airline crate in her arms. She put the cage down at the end of the table and left again. I slowly peered at Charlie. He had an unimpressed expression on his face as if he had been interrupted from something very important… probably a wash, as we later found out, he takes much pride in his gleaming white coat. Then he noticed me looking at him and his mild expression turned to such a look of outrage that I had to try very hard not to burst out laughing. It was almost like, “Not you two again!”.
The fosterer then brought Socks through, saying she was a bit harder to catch. Socks was definitely not thrilled to be in a new cage but the fosterer made it much better by putting towels in that smelt like the shelter (a smell they were used to). We both took a cat each (I opted for Socks to avoid back injury lifting Charlie) and then loaded them in the car. I remember the moment when we secured their cages then got in the front seats and looked at each other as reality hit us. Our family had just doubled!
While Socks remained silent for the journey home apart from the odd adorable mew, Charlie howled like a werewolf all the way. It didn’t matter if you talked to him, he would not stop howling. When we got home, I rushed to see he was ok only to find that he was just lying on his front in a very relaxed, chilled-out pose in his cage. He obviously wasn’t that upset then!
Cats Protection recommends that you set the cats up in one room at first to let the cats slowly get used to their new home. They tell you to expect the cats to hide a lot and that they could take a long time to trust their new environment. I had all these thoughts in mind when I picked the lounge as their initial base. It was perfect as it was at the back of the house, so it was quiet, and it had a view of the garden in case they got bored being in the room for so long. We both opened the cages and stood back, holding our breath, trying not to scare or stress the cats.
After a pause that felt like a lifetime, Charlie came out of his cage first. He casually took three steps forward, had a very brief scan of his new surroundings and then plonked himself down on the floor in a sort of ‘beached whale’ impression. Socks then flew out of her cage like a firework, running across the sofa tops, kicking off the walls and then hiding behind the chairs. I quickly found out that there was a lot of dust behind the sofa.
We left the cats alone in the lounge together so that they would have some peace and quiet to settle. Socks wasn’t as confident around us at first but she was definitely interested in us. Charlie was extremely confident around us. He just wanted food and to also let us know that he had claimed one of the sofas as his own. Within about two hours, he had had enough of the lounge and was trying to escape into the rest of the house. We decided to let them both out and to feed them in the kitchen.
Dinner time was the first clue that we may have some interesting times ahead! Both cats jumped on the worktop and had to be told to get down. Charlie howled at us, hassled us, wrapped his paws round our legs desperately and purred like thunder. We realised that they probably lived feeling hungry for a long time. When we put the food down, they both ate like dogs. Not a single biscuit was left.
When we were making our own food, Charlie stuck to us like glue, not leaving the kitchen and trying to jump up on the side if he fancied anything we were preparing. I was convinced that, if a tin was opened, he would hear it a mile off and come running. When we tried to sit and eat our dinner, we were constantly pestered until we shooed them off enough times for them to realise they weren’t getting anything. Socks learnt this very quickly, while Charlie was ever hopeful. Luckily, this behaviour was trained out of him in a few weeks but I was really worried at the time that he would always be like this. We still have the odd occasion where a guest comes round and Charlie tries it on though (particularly when it comes to yoghurt)!
At night time when we headed to bed, the cats followed up the stairs. We were both keen for the cats to stay out of the bedrooms at night but Charlie had other ideas. He jumped on the end of our bed as soon as he worked out where we slept. You may think this sounds really cute, but actually he just wanted to follow the first one of us who left the room back down to the kitchen for more food. “Come on, mate”, my boyfriend said, “your bed is downstairs”. Eventually we had to shut him out of the bedroom, much to his disapproval. I fell asleep listening to them both thundering up and down the stairs as if they were racing each other. I wondered what state the house would be in when I came down in the morning…
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