[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="185" caption="Mozart"][/caption]
I had no intention of adopting a third cat, but volunteering at the shelter sets you up for lots of meetings with animals that need homes. And sure enough, my path crossed a kitty that seems to have been destined to be part of our family.
There seem to be too many coincidences for our meeting to be accidental. My Golden Retriever was named Bentley. He died 1 year ago, just 4 days after his 17th birthday (August 8). I adopted him from owners who no longer had the time to properly care for him, and he needed help with some serious health issues. This kitty's shelter name was Bentley, and I met him that same week in August. He's a long-haired orange & white cat who was severely matted and needed help. I've always wanted an orange cat, so it seemed odd that I'd meet an orange boy with the same name as my wonderful dog, needing help, the same week my dog was born.....hmmmm......I suspect some furry spirits made sure our paths crossed.
We adopted kitty-Bentley and renamed him Mozart. He has a purr you can't believe - loud, long, and musical. He was so severely matted that he was uncomfortable having his body touched, so I immediately took him to a groomer who gave him a "lion cut". I worried that we'd have to rename him 'Samson' if he lost his purr along with all his hair, but that didn't happen. Mozart still has his purr which you should be able to hear if you turn up your speakers a bit.
He's settling in well and we're taking the introductions to Sammi and Raven very slowly. He is an active, playful boy. Sammi does not want a playmate, and has let him know that she has a 1-foot personal space boundary that he must respect. He runs up to greet her or play and she gives him a good warning hiss. He has been respectful of her and for the most part leaves her alone.
Unfortunately, Raven is afraid of him and they have only seen each other across a room without her getting upset, hissing, and moving away. But she comes back so that she can watch him...from a distance. Hopefully another couple weeks of low-stress and treat-filled 15-minute introductions will put her at ease and she will accept him as a housemate - and we won't have to keep them in separate sides of the house for too long.
At his first vet checkup we took care of his uninvited "friends" (tapeworms) and we learned that Mozart has stomatitis, which is a serious disease of the tissues in the mouth. Vets believe its caused by the immune system over-reacting to plaque on the teeth (or even to the teeth themselves). He got a shot of antibiotics and we go back next week for a folllow-up and discussion about how to try to control the disease. Unfortunately, it's a very frustrating disease to manage and it can become very serious. Many cats only get relief by having their teeth pulled and/or being on long-term medications. We'll have to wait and see how that goes, but I'm sure once we start some sort of treatment plan he'll be feeling better (his gums are very red and painful).
I feel a little guilty that I've had to minimized my time volunteering at the shelter so that I can work on integrating Mozart into our family. But I think my kitty-karma is staying in balance by giving one of the formerly homeless cats a place to call home.