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Introducing Cambria

Goldstein or Whitworth?

A week ago today, I brought home my new furry bundle of joy, Cambria. I didn’t intentionally set out to upend Matt’s plans for a pair of kittens in November, but he’s (yes, he’s a boy) clearly not the pair of 5-10-month-old kittens we planned to adopt in November.

It began on Saturday, when I spotted him on the Humane Society website while surfing around to get an idea as to the number and ages of available kittens this time of the year. There he was—possessed of enough tabby markings to make me feel a connection but with a color pattern totally different from Percival and Tristan. Plus, he was clearly a Siamese mix, and I am attracted to this breed due to their devotion to humans. I don’t care if a cat is lazy or active, scared or bossy, quiet or talkative; I only care that they bond with me and my family.

By Sunday, I had talked a reluctant Matt into heading to the Fern Creek Feeder’s Supply to go visit him. Cambria was scared enough to spend most of his time in his litter box, but craved human attention enough that he purred like an outboard motor the entire time. An ill advised attempt to get him out of his cage so I could interact with him ended with Cambria scurrying under a break-room table at the pet-store while I cleared out the mouse-traps and dead roaches from under him.

Meanwhile, Simon fell in love with a pair of very young black kittens. While they rolled around and play fought, Simon jumped, squealed, clapped, and laughed. As my eye went from the scared adult to the crazy kittens, I thought to myself:

“Matt was totally right. Just look at Simon; we really should get a pair of kittens.”

Which is funny, because Matt’s immediate thought was:

“Oh good God, look at Simon. I’m so not interested in dealing with that 24/7! I forgot that kittens are crazy.”

So that ball was in my court. Did I feel a bond? I wasn’t sure. Monday, I called the Humane Society to get more background on Cambria. The outreach adoption staffer called him a Siamese/Tonkinese mix, said he was 2 ½ years old, and that he had been surrendered because his owner could not afford him. I was hoping to learn a bit more about his personality and history from the staffers that evaluated him.

When I finally got Amy at the main shelter on the line, Cambria’s fate was sealed immediately. Turns out the little guy ended up at the Metro Louisville shelter about seven months ago at the age of two. Then he was transferred to the Humane Society due to overcrowding at the city shelter. Then was adopted and returned. Twice.

Yes, twice. This beautiful sensitive and change-resistant creature had, in seven short months, lived at the Metro shelter, the Humane Society, a home, back at the Humane Society, a home again, back at the Humane Society, and then in a small cage at a pet store. One adopter said they couldn’t afford him, the other reported trouble with allergies. Regardless, returns make would-be adopters nervous and lower an animal’s odds of finding a home.

This little guy desperately needed a break, and I think I needed to feel needed. My house is pretty quiet. I am patient. Matt is patient and gentle. Simon is loving and gentle. And I could only hope that five years of doing outreach adoption for the San Francisco SPCA taught me a few things about cats.  By the time I got off the phone with Amy, I had already dragged the carrier upstairs. My mind was made up; this cat was going home for good.

It’s going to be a long, slow process for Cambria to fully settle in, but I can tell he’s sweet and wants to be home. After spending the better part of two days under my bed, he began exploring my bedroom room, sharing the bed, and hopping into window sills by mid-week. By Thursday I started introducing him to the rest of the house, and by the weekend (with houseguests even!) he was comfortable enough down-stairs that I could move his food and water dishes to the kitchen.

He likes to be rubbed on the chin and cheek. He’s a moderate talker. He’s wary of loud noises or too rapid movements. He will let Simon pet him if I’m around to supervise, but dives under the bed if Simon moves too quickly or if he hears Simon bounding up the stairs. He likes to sleep at the foot of my bed and in Tristan’s favorite cat tree. He’s generally healthy, but months of confinement and free feeding have left him about two pounds over-weight. Given his slight build, we need to start working on that right away to keep him limber.

I don’t know yet exactly who he is, but we’ve got many years ahead of us to learn each other’s quirks. Because above all and most importantly, what he is is mine/ours and home.

About the name: Cambria was his name at the Metro shelter, and the Humane Society has no information about how he ended up at the Metro shelter. So this could have been his name for seven months or for two and a half years—no one knows. The name is nice enough (it’s the Latin version of the traditional name for Wales), if a bit feminine. We’re going to stick with it in case he knows it and call him Cam, as in the River Cam, for short.

One Response to “Introducing Cambria”

  1. Amanda says:

    Congrats on the new kitty! He’s a real beauty and will be a joy in your life. You dodged a bullet on the kittens–I’m fostering two puppies right now, and let me tell you it’s good they’re so cute. I’m exhausted. I forgot how much WORK little things are.

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