15 November, 2015


There were two black kittens at the animal shelter. I had my eye on the older of the two, who appeared, in his photos, to be rather fluffy. But of course, they were both in the same cage when we got there, and so we took them both into the play area, just to be sure. I wasn't looking for Not Idris so much as I was looking for a more stable personality. Idris was amazing, and smart, and entirely high strung. I thought it might be nice to aim for amazing, smart, and a little more level-headed, if one can find such things in kittens. Also: no evidence of chewing. We figured a 12 week old would be teething already, and we'd be able to see if he was mouthy right off.

We chose the larger, more confident kitten, who, when confronted by a spinning feather toy making odd noises, sat down on my foot to consider it, rather than running for cover. The smaller kitten looked to the bigger one for leadership. He was also sleek and physically similar to Idris--smallish, slender, blacker than black. The larger one was stripey, fluffy, ginormous feet--totally different build. And he seemed super level-headed, so he was the one. We figured we'd picked the one from the photo, all right. Go, us. We even talked to his foster-mom (is there a better word for people who foster cats? There needs to be.) in the lobby. She was so happy someone was taking him. She'd bottle-fed him and his brother. He's high energy, she said, and a little needy for other cats, but he's great. Some older woman had returned him for being too rambunctious already (because kittens are not rambunctious in some universe.)  He just needed someone who got cats. She left all happy her foster had a new home.

Needy made my stomach sink a little. Oh god. Not this again. But he'd seemed so steady in the play room--oh, we were committed. We'd figure it out.

And then they ran his chip. Turned out the bigger, more confident kitten was the younger one. He'd gotten more fluffy since his first straggly baby photo, while the older kitten had defluffed and sleeked out. I felt awful for the left-behind kitten. We could name them Phobos and Deimos! I said to Nous. He pointed to our lease agreement, and yeah, okay, the shelter has a record of the cats we adopt, and they know we've got Louhi and had Idris. So FINE. One kitten.

And so we came home with Skugga.

He has the most piercing meow, which he fortunately deploys only rarely, when he has a particularly important opinion to share (I am hungry! This is a car! You should pick me up!). Mostly he chirps to himself as he scampers around the world. He's a full pound heavier than average for his age (a whopping four). The vet guesses we're looking at a big cat, someday. Fine with me. I fantasize he's part Maine Coon, though he's not nearly fluffy enough.

 Louhi is annoyed, but not angry. She came right out to see him. She disapproves of his shenanigans when he seeks participation, but she likes to watch.

The grief isn't over. One does not replace someone like Idris. One just moves over and makes room.