This morning EJ and I adopted the newest member of our family.
We had intended for the new cat to join Annie and Madeline in the garage so this morning I closed off the pet door after I made sure that both cats were in the garage. I always keep new outside cats shut up in the garage for a few days they can understand that this is their new home. I think of it as the cats resetting their internal GPS. Since I can’t prevent the other cats from entering the garage, I shut them in as well, which gives them all time to adjust to each other.
EJ and I set off at 9 a.m. The temperature was 41 degrees and it was somewhat rainy–mostly just sprinkles that dotted the windshield. We drove through some very beautiful scenery, but the whole region is breathtakingly beautiful so there really is no ugly or commonplace scenery. And often we see unexpected sights. Like a Yak. Today we saw a Yak in a barn yard.
The cat’s name is Nina, but I always like to rename our pets with a name that we choose–maybe because so many of our pets came with names that we didn’t particularly like. Nina is a cute name, but renaming our pets has become a habit and a tradition over the years. As we drove to pick up our new cat, I told EJ that I wanted her to have an old-fashioned name like Annie and Madeline. We tend to have “theme” names; it just kind of happens. When JJ was tiny, we named our pets with names ending in “cat”: We had Tom Cat, Bob Cat, Ellie Cat, Kit Kat, and Fraidy Cat. When JJ was old enough to watch Star Wars, we named our cats Luke, Han, and Anakin. We still have Luke and Anakin, although when we found out that Anakin was actually a female, we changed her name to Annie. Now we are naming our female cats old-fashioned names. Yesterday I googled “old-fashioned names for girls” and picked out the ones that I thought were prettiest: Clara, Elsa, Lucy, Amelia, Willa.
The owner of Nina lives in a beautiful rural area about an hour away from us. As we crested a hill and EJ slowed to pull into her driveway, I exclaimed, “Wow! This area looks just like Farmville!” Farmville is a virtual farm game on Facebook in which players cultivate their farms by plowing, planting and harvesting crops and trees. Players also care for their farm animals: milking their cows and collecting eggs from their chickens. I played it for a few months when I first got on Facebook. Today I thought that if Farmville were real, it would look just like this area.
When we arrived at our destination, the cat’s owner invited us into her home and gave us Nina to hold. She snuggled in our arms. We put her in the cat carrier we had brought along. I held the carrier on my lap on the drive home, poking my fingers through the wire door. The cat constantly rubbed up against my fingers and purred. Every black cat that we have owned has been very loving and cuddly. As we drove along, EJ and I decided that the cat was so cuddly that she belonged in the house, not the garage.
One the drive home, I asked the cat if she wanted to be named Clara or Amelia. Then I asked EJ, “Can you think of any other old-fashioned names you like?” He suggested two names, one of which was “Josette.” He said the cat reminded him of Josette, a beautiful dark-haired French-Canadian woman in The Northwoods Reader, a collection of stories set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I exclaimed that the name Josette was beautiful and unique, and just perfect for our new cat. So Nina became Josette.
We have learned over the years that new cats react in different ways when we first bring them home. Some cats are very timid and they hide out until they get used to their new surroundings. Ellie Cat hid out for a week before she felt safe enough to explore. Other cats are bolder and immediately start exploring. When we set down the carrier and opened the door, Josette reacted boldly, exploring all the rooms of the house. Little Bear was the first to encounter her, and he stared at her curiously. Josette hissed a bit, but there was no major conflict. At this writing, I’m not sure any of the other cats are aware of her presence. They’ve all been sleeping all afternoon. Our dog, Danny, has seen her, but he seems totally uninterested in her.
Josette looks very much like Little Bear, but her eyes are more orange than Little Bear’s eyes. She also has a few bare spots. The owner said that the vet thought she was allergic to the worm medicine. Her owner said she is a good mouser. I’ve heard it said that females are better mousers than males, and that has certainly been our feline experience. So while Madeline is reducing the mouse and shrew population outside, Josette can be keeping our house mouse-free.
In a couple of hours we are going to the Owl Prowl at the nature area as part of my birthday celebration. (For those who don’t know, EJ and I decided to take turns celebrating our birthdays frequently throughout the year.) I can’t wait to go on the night walk. There is a 60% chance of rain this afternoon and a 50% chance of rain or snow this evening. Hopefully, it won’t be too wet and cold on our night walk, but I expect it will be fun even if it is. I’ll write about our experience tomorrow…