Where’s Aldo?Posted: October 30, 2009
We have a new cat. It took a while after Blanche died for us to feel we were ready, but about a month ago I started to think it might be time.
We heard about a little ginger kitten that a friend of a friend had found. I guess I’m a sucker for a story of plucky survival – the kitten had been abandoned by his mother, and his father had tried to attack him. He survived by hiding in the rafters of the garage. After the man found him, it took several weeks before he was able to coax the cat to come to him, and a few more before he could get the cat inside. But after all of that, the man couldn’t keep him – he already had two cats, and three had pushed him into that scary “single guy with several cats” territory. He needed to find a home for the kitty. I’ve always had a soft spot for ginger cats, so I said we’d take him.
At first, when the cat arrived at our house, we thought we had adopted an invisible cat. We didn’t see him for two whole days. But then we noticed a lightning fast red streak that sped past us to the litter box. A little later, the red streak darted over to the food bowl, and we could see that he was indeed an actual cat. Slowly, he started spending a little more time with us. By the fourth morning, he had jumped up on the bed and was demanding head rubs before he disappeared for most of the day. That night he emerged and joined us to watch a little TV.
We decided to name him “Aldo,” after our favorite coffee shop on the east coast. He’s a classic red tabby – an orange creamsicle cat. I’ve always loved orange cats, and at first I worried that I was picking this cat for the wrong reasons. I didn’t really know anything else about him, other than what he looked like. I was afraid – was I making an impulsive choice, based solely on his looks?
Even though Blanche was absolutely loony tunes and could be very difficult, she had a lot of personality. At times it felt more like she was a human roommate than a cat, and we knew she loved us. What if Aldo was a mean cat? Or a scared cat? Or even worse, an indifferent cat? What if we ended up not simply not liking Aldo? And what if I couldn’t stop comparing him to Blanche?
Blanche was tiny – she never weighed more than eight pounds, even after fifteen years. Aldo is six months old and he already weighs ten pounds. Blanche didn’t like to be held, and would struggle out of my arms. Aldo loves to be picked up, and protests when you put him down. Blanche was a scratcher. Aldo keeps his claws to himself. They’re two completely different cats. But was Aldo the right cat for us?
Now that’s he’s more comfortable, I can see Aldo is a pretty easy-going cat who seems to enjoy being with us. In fact, I’m now experiencing the classic writers block – a cat who wants to sit on the keyboard when I’m trying to write. But he’s very sweet when I move him off. He doesn’t bite or scratch. You never really know, but I think he’s going to be a very calm, well-adjusted cat. I think we lucked out. He’s not Blanche, but I think I’m okay with that. There will never be another Blanche. But now there’s an Aldo, and I’m going to enjoy getting to know him.