Zen the Cat

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When we got her, she was svelt. They said she was over a year old, we think she was younger than that.

This is the story of Zen... that's the name we gave to our rather mellow cat.

Picking out Zen

We tend to get cats from shelters. And about a year after we lost our other cat, Scotty (since he was a Scottish Fold), we decided to go cat shopping. So a quick visit and my wife was looking at kittens, but the shelter was recommending we get two since they were siblings, and so on. Yeah, I get that cats can benefit from some like-kind socialization, and we've have cat pairs before. But we weren't looking to jump in and get two... and cats are sort of like russian roulette: you never know what you're going to get. And they live long enough that it's a lot of obligation. So two cats doubles the odds of get Kitty-Satan, all wrapped in fur, fangs and claws.

I suggested we look at some more mature cats, as we might know more about what we were getting. And while walking on that side of the shelter, one little cat saw me, got up, came to the front of the cage and started pawing the glass for me to pet/play with it. So we got the attendant and said we wanted to meet that one.

They put us in a room, and the lady came in with the cat, and read the paperwork, and said, "this one was separated because she's very skittish and not very people friendly". And she put her down. The cat trotted over to me, rolled over on my feet and exposed her tummy for a rub, which I cautiously gave her. (Some cats throw out the invite, only to shred you for taking it). Not Zen, she closed her eyes and was in kitty heaven. I picked her up and she went completely limp, happy to be held. The attendant watching this exchange was sitting slack jawed, and was looking back and forth between the paperwork and what it said, and what she just saw. (This was not a shy and timid cat -- at least with me).

So we picked her. They said she was over a year old and was just a small cat. Yeah. They lied. I think based on how much she grew, she was at about 6 months or something. But we put her in the cage and took her home. Instead of mewing she quietly curled up in the carrier and went half to sleep (eyes open, a little bored and meditative). That's when we named her: my wife asked "what should be call her", after commenting on how much better she travelled than any of our other cats had. I replied, "she's pretty Zen... and that's what we should call her". We waited a few days to see if it fit... and it did.

She adopted to the new house in less than a day. And wanted to be in the room with me from day-1. But we locked her out of bedrooms at night, and she was fine with that. (No scratching). She wouldn't jump on furniture. I don't know what kind of training they had done before we got her, but if you picked her up and put her on the couch, she would jump off, and sleep at your feet on the floor.

Tales of a Princess

She wasn't vocal, even when getting excited for food. We think she has something wrong with her voice box. She exhales occasionally as a normal meow. Hah. Hah. Rarely, it'll squeak. And if she gets REALLY pissed, you get noise. Rawr. But the latter is like once a year when you're holding her down and pulling matted fur out or something like that.

This silence also goes to purring: she doesn't purr. She does grunt a little... and you can tell there would be a purr behind it. There just isn't. So, guh... guh.... guh... when she's loving what you're doing. And... when she naps. She's not a quiet napper. Grunt. Grunt. Feint snore. Grunt. Grunt. Lip-smack, Lip-smack, Lip-smack (like she's eating a dream birdie that she caught).

She also had weird rules, like she hates to jump on/over anything. She decided there was only one spot on the couch she was allowed, and that's it. You put her anywhere else, and she jumps off, "I'm not allowed up here"... then she goes to her spot. She was doing the claw sharpening on the kitchen cabinets, so we put up a low kiddie gate (that we can easily step over), and she can easily jump over. She jumped over it extremely rarely, and we'd say, "no!" and she'd jump back. She just knew, "OK, I'm not allowed in there any more". And she's not like most cats that think, "don't get caught". She just never tries to go in the kitchen.

My wife was getting her claws trimmed when we first got her (and were debating the declawing thing, as we'd done that with many of our other cats). So my wife put her in a shopping bag, and she curls up in the bottom... or will pop her head out to look around, but she doesn't try to jump out. My wife carries he the block or two to the cat groomers -- and they were completely shocked when Melissa said, "The cat's in the bag". And she popped out to get her nails cut. Then you put her back in, and walk her home.

In the end, other than some nail sharpening in the kitchen, she doesn't claw. Even as a kitten she's pretty good about swiping you without claws. I very rarely get scratched, but she swats me all the time. That usually means, "Dad, pick me up", or "more rubs". I pick her up like a baby (inverted), and she closes her eyes and wants to be loved.

She also drinks like a queen... she doesn't like her whiskers getting wet, so she dips her pay in the water, then licks the water off her paw.


Zen : 2 items

Written 2018.06.25