A few weeks ago we lost one of our furry kids.  Our oldest cat, Tena, got very sick with no hope of recovery.  After 15+ years of giving us joy, and laughter, we had to say good bye – not an easy thing to do.

Tena was my wife’s cat.  She picked her up from an ad for rescue kittens and from the very beginning she was the queen of the house.  She was also the first and only cat either of us every had that would  come to us when we called her name.  I considered her to be my wife’s cat although Tena had other ideas.

She was my wife’s cat when I wan’t around.  The minute I would walk into a room where both of them were doing whatever, she would get up and come to me.  If I was sitting down, she would promptly flop down on my lap and go to sleep.  It usually drew the comment, “What am I?  Chopped liver?” from my wife.  It wasn’t a big deal, but my wife was well aware that Tena chose her own “person” to be close to.   It irked my wife a little, but Tena was being Tena, and I was trying not to persuade her to abandone her mommy in favor of me.

When Tena passed, my wife told me it would take a while before she would feel like replacing Tena – it was just too painful right now to get another cat.  I agreed, but knew she wouldn’t wait too long.  I had planned to get one as a surprise gift for Christmas but put that idea aside after she made her feelings known.

Then, last week, I caught her looking at the pet adoptions from local shelters.  I remained mum about it and didn’t bring the subject up.  She would have to set her own time table for getting a new cat.  I just had to sit back and let it happen.

On Wednesday of last week, she finally told me she wanted to go to the Fort Worth Animal Shelter and ‘look’ at kittens.  I knew there would be no looking – it would be a “let’s go adopt a cat” type of trip.

I made up my mind that she would be the one making the decision and picking out her cat.  When we got to the shelter I told her, “This is going to be your decision.  You have to decide which one you want and start to bond with it right from the get-go.”  I didn’t want her to get a cat thinking it was her’s only to have it bond with me.  So, I stayed back and let her pick.

She looked at a cute little female named Avila.  She was mostly white with orange and brown coloring – a real cutie.  Next she saw a black male climbing on the cage gate and playing in his little box.  My wife likes cats who have a personality, are playful and show some attitude.  This little guy’s name was Marvin.  I didn’t like the name, but then I told myself to stay out of it.

The lady asks my wife if she wanted to hold him.  She agreed and the lady gave him to her.  I said, “Put him on his back to see if he will allow you to do it.”  I wanted to see how laid back he was.  Most cats don’t like that.  This one allowed her to do it and acted like he enjoyed it.  My wife looked at me and said, “What do you think?”  I said, “It’s your choice.  I don’t want him to print me as his buddy.  Remember, this is supposed to be your cat, not mine.”

Long story short, we adopted Marvin and off we went.  When we got home I took the shelter box into our bedroom to let him out on our bed.  We have two dogs and another cat he would have to get used to and vise-versa.  My wife sat down on the bed and opened his box.  He scrambled out and made a bee line for me!  He got up on my lap and curled up in a ball, looking around, sniffing the air and trying to figure out where he was.  This was not good!  I picked him up and put him on my wife’s lap so she could pet him and try to bond with him.  Marvin wasn’t having it – he immediately ran back to me.

I could tell my wife was a little upset, but what could I do?  I wasn’t actively trying to get the little guy to like me.  I pleaded not guilty to choersing Marvin in any way.  He eventually left my lap, walked over to her to sniff and then began to check out the other animals in the room.  My cat, Henry, didn’t bother trying to make friends with him, he just went off and hid.  The two dogs came to the bed and sniffed, pranced and whined trying to get closer to this new stranger.

It took a few days before Marvin decided to leave our bed (except for forced potty stops) and start to explore the house.  By this time, he had gotten used to the dogs and they gave him some room when he went off to explore.  Both of them follwed him around as if he was some magical toy that went “whirr went it walked….”  They were very gentle and allowed him to explore without much interference.  Henry, on the other hand, had nothing to do with him for several days.

We decided that Marvin wasn’t a good name for this little guy.  He is all black and stalks the toys we got him like a big cat.  We decided to rename him Panther.  Marvin sounds like some nerd, book worm type.  It just didn’t fit his attitude.  He runs like the cartoon characters across our tile floors in the kitchen and TV room.  He will dash off in one direction, make a sudden 180 degree  turn and spin his feet on the slick floor like Tom and Jerry.  Now, Henry will sit and watch him do this with a strange look on his face.  Maybe wondering where this kid got his energy.

Panther has gotten to know the other animals in the house and seems to be adjusting well.  He explores more and more every day finding hiding places I thought were impossible to get into.  I’m sure once his youthful exhuberance wears off, he will be a great companion as his siblings are.   Who he belongs to is his choice.

As for me, I’m in the dog house again since Panther has taken to me.  There’s no use pleading my case since the evidence is so obvious – Panther comes to me whenever I enter the room.  I have made a conscious effort to get him to stay with my wife,  but to no avail.  Cats will do what cats want to do.

Maybe it’s just my animal magnatism?


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