Monday, March 3, 2008

Elmo the meow cat

Today, while I was sleeping, one of our cats, Elmo, was wanting big snuggles and lots of head butts, so I figured it was time I told you about him.

About a year ago, someone I know a tiny bit at work told me that they knew someone who was trying to help a cat that was injured outside her office building. I started spouting advice, and so the acquaintance game my email address to the lady who was trying to help the kitty.

It was obvious that the cat was injured, it was limping and very thin, but the lady couldn't get him to come to her at all. She was a cat lover. So I told her she should go to the Humane Society and rent a live trap and trap the kitty. So she did, and then she didn't know what to do with the kitty, so she brought him to the Humane Society. They determined that he had damage to his left front paw, damage to his left back paw, and his tail had been crushed beyond repair. When she found all of this out, she also found out that due to his injuries and his skittish, timid nature, he would be euthanized if she did not "spring him" within three days. So she paid $75 to spring him and was trying to come up with a solution, as she already had two cats, and I think she was kind of worried that the new cat wouldn't get along with them, or that he would hide in her house and never come out or something, so I told her that I was willing to keep him for a couple of weeks to socialize him. I know I'm gullible, but I honestly believed that she had already spent a great deal of money on him, so she was invested in this.....

So I met Elmo. All I remember was these HUGE kitty eyes staring out of the cat carrier at me. He was pure black, and not full grown yet. The lady had thought of everything, she had bought two large bags of food, a bunch of toys, food dish, water dish, cat litter, a little tent for him to hide in, etc., she said she didn't want me to have to spend any money on him while he was staying at our house.

As soon as DH saw him, and this was shortly before things got really bad with DH, he looked at those eyes and said "that cat is named "Elmo"." And he was right, the sweet innocent face lent itself to no other possible name(s).

As soon as Elmo was released into the room where he was to stay until he moved on, he found a tiny hole in the sheet rock and enlarged it somehow, and hid himself in the wall. At this point his tail hadn't been amputated yet, and he hadn't yet been neutered, because the Humane Society wasn't going to put that kind of money into a cat that was going to be dead soon anyhow....so anyhow, Elmo didn't know his tail was sticking out of the wall, and since he didn't have any feeling in his tail, even if he knew it was sticking out, he really couldn't pull it in behind him. As soon as he would hear my voice, I could see the tail kind of shift, so I knew he was ok, and I knew where he was.

He started to figure out that when I came in, there was usually food and yummy treats involved, and after a couple of weeks, he would bring himself to look at me, and then he started to creep out of his hiding spot, and eventually, he let me pet him with one finger. All this time, I was in daily contact with the lady, telling her about Elmo's progress. The day Elmo let me hold him for the first time, I was smitten. And that was nothing compared to what happened when DH held him for the first time....DH even made a comment, "It's too bad he has to go live somewhere else."

A week later, when we were sure that Elmo trusted us, he went to the vet and got his tail amputated (and a little operation on some other parts too). I was really afraid that after a trauma like that, he'd come back all scared again, and we'd be back at square 1. But his tail must've hurt a lot more than he let on, because when he came back, he was amazing. Lots of snuggles and head butts and probably the most affectionate cat I've ever seen. DH couldn't get over it, either. We both were in love with Elmo. And I started to tell the lady how affectionate he was, and how talkative he was, and all of a sudden, I couldn't get a hold of her any more. She never answered her phone (probably caller ID), and she never responded to my emails. So after three more weeks of not getting a hold of her, we decided to move Elmo into the "general population" once again, I was sure he was going to revert to being terrified about everything, but he was so excited to see all the other cats, he just loved most of them so much!!! I think he would be lost if he ever had to live in a one-cat family...no danger of that in our house, for sure...anyhow, as DH started to decompensate, Elmo became more and more wary of him, until he wouldn't have anything to do with DH. And Elmo never did warm up to DD, but me, well, Elmo only has eyes for me. And when I get home after work, I get a bigger greeting from him than I do from the dogs.

His little stumpy tail wags back and forth, and he makes little peeping noises and he tries very hard to reach and touch my cheek or nose with his paw. And he gives head butts. A lot of them. And the funniest thing of all is, he loves to put his nose/mouth inside my mouth. He doesn't bite or lick or even sniff, he just puts his face in my open mouth and leaves it there. And if I don't open my mouth up for him to investigate, he pushes his face onto my lips until I give in. I love him so much!!!

DH is often disappointed when he sees Elmo loving me so much and Elmo just doesn't want to deal with DH since he really became ill. But Elmo's been getting a little better about that, too, just today, he gave DH a head-butt and DH was thrilled.

Anyhow, I was taking a nap and Elmo was taking a nap, all snuggled up to me (and Charlie the meow cat--more on him some other time)....and when my alarm went off, he did this lazy stretch thing and reached his paw up and tapped my cheek, then he stood up so that he could get a better angle to put his nose in my mouth, and then he settled back down and there was lots of gazing into my eyes and purring and face touching....I can't resist him, I can't!!! He's the reason I have a tough time getting out of bed even when I'm not tired!!!