Riley is my cat. He came from a pet shop. I know, I know, I know it should have been a rescue kitty, but I, and others I knew, had been refused by a rescue centre and charity as it was not their policy to home a cat with people who work for a living. Bizarre, really, considering that one of the great things about cats is that they don’t require your attention 24/7. I wasn’t working on an oil rig, for goodness sake, just a local job. And, if you don’t work, how on earth can you afford vets fees?
Aaaaaanyway. It looked like the rescue option was not open to me. It was winter, and for many reasons I badly needed a kitten. I chose him, then had to wait a week ’til he was old enough. During that week I found out that the pet shop had possibly got a reputation for ’dodgy’ pets. I stressed. I already had pet-shop-purchase guilt as it was (Catholic school training, it never leaves you). And now I might have purchased a flawed feline. Don’t get me wrong – flawed was not a problem, but suffering/ailing/life-limited was. I’d had enough of that kind of thing both from pusscats and people in the recent past to just not have to do it again right then. But having chosen him I would take him no matter what. So, a stressy, have-I-done-the right-thing kind of week ensued, followed by a collection day trip to the pet shop in the most miserable mid-November rain.
There he was, in a nice spacious cage with, presumably, other siblings. I hope they were family because they were being way too familiar otherwise. At least three of them were sitting on him, one on top of the other. No casual slumping or leaning on a small amount of body surface like paw on paw, or head on belly, oh no. This was full on one on one on one…like a kitty layer cake. Or the princess and the pea mattresses. Either my boy was smart and keeping nice and cosy, right? Or, was he was the lowest in the pecking order and in imminent danger of crush injury? If the former, how smart and lucky was I?? If the latter, clearly I had arrived just in time. To be honest, I’m still not sure which it was…as I type this he has just sat with his tail immersed in his water bowl and failed to even notice.
Aaaaaanyway, we got him home. His adoptive sister took one look at him, hissed loudly, and took herself off upstairs. She stayed there for EXACTLY one week. Can cats count? And sulk? And count whilst sulking? Such skills! So, she was set up in the lovely Hotel du Chat. En suite facilities (litter tray) and all meals delivered. For A WEEK. Actually she evaluated the situation completely accurately. The boy was gonna plague her, treat her as a plaything and show absolutely no respect for her seniority or generous girth. But they did become friends, eventually.
So the boy settled himself in. He was a little bit wary, obviously, but then had a good explore, found the litter tray so we knew he was trained, and just generally did all the things a kitten does on day one in a new home. He wrecked stuff. But he did it cute.
And so to bed. As the Princess was staying in her upstairs retreat, I decided to spend the night on the sofa to prevent any wee small hours confrontations. The Boy huddled into the corner at my feet. He spent the whole night there, so by morning I was soooooo proud of him, having stayed quiet and good. My feeling of wellbeing was short-lived. Once I was up and about it became clear that he took those wee small hours literally and just wee’d where he was. Ah well, it was an old sofa and he was way too cute to be cross with. Ever!
Regarding the pet shop, I do not know if it was the one people had mentioned as having had problems. The shop is several miles away from where I live. In my opinion they seemed to be very responsible. I am not a first-time cat owner and have had previous rescue cats. My kitten had been vet checked, was litter trained, socialised to people and seemed happy and healthy. He is now much older, has had no health problems and is a total delight.
I still firmly support rescue centres and charities and all the fantastic work they do and would always first try to take a rescue pet if I could. But, once on the planet, they all need a home, no matter where or how they started out.