So we haven't had good luck with animals. Had to return a few cats to the pound, back before we had children. Got a dog who seemed great but that was her "pound personality" and Loki, too, ended up going back to the pound after the second child was born. Loki couldn't handle the competion.
Anyway, it has been obvious for a long time that the children wanted an animal in the house. So hubby made a proclamation. Not till the baby turned three. (September 2007). Well, that held for months. Then suddenly, three or four months ago, hubby decided that having an adult cat would be good for our oldest now. I wasn't opposed. But he didn't want a pound cat. He was adamant. We'd had terrible luck with all the pound cats we'd ever adopted (I couldn't argue with that). Pounds are dirty, you don't know anything about the animal... he was immovable.
So, I figured that gave us two options. Purebred, or getting a nice cat off a good friend who was willing (or eager) to give it up. No friends were in that situation, so I started doing research on purebred cats. A friend who actually owns a purebred cat gave me a web address for breeders, and I emailed a ton of them. This is a story all by itself, so I'll just say I settled on a breeder of Tonkinese cats who lives about 3 hours away from me - practically in Kentucky. Negotiating took weeks, but eventually we drove all the way down there and hubby picked a cat.
I would have been more involved, but I have to admit, I was overwhelmed. The house was gross, there were cats all over, they all looked really similar and I couldn't keep them organized in my mind, and lots of them were much older or younger than what we were interested in. Hubby ended up telling me that I could choose a different one if I wanted, and then took the kids outside, away from all the wet food, poop filled litter boxes and suspicious looking pools of goop on the floor. Blech.
So, I figured the one hubby wanted because she didn't pull away when he went to let her sniff his hand and get a scritch was a good choice, and I bought her. I tried to carry her home on my lap but after a while she really wanted to explore the car and I thought that could turn dangerous, so I put her in the carrier. So she spent over two hours in the carrier and an hour of that listening to the youngest kid scream. Turns out the baby doesn't like long car rides. Ugh. Anyway, maybe it was the awful drive that inspired Sozo (named after a coffee shop we passed on the way home - it is apparently Greek for "to heal, to cure, to prevent destruction") to crawl under the furniture and not come out for days and days and days.
The kids were miserable. We'd gone through this horrid experience to get a cat, and the cat seemed to hate them. They wanted to PET the pet. I was upset for them. And I wanted to pet her, too!
So hubby and I waited about a day, and still no love from the little beast. So we wondered, is she lonely? She's spent her entire life in a house filled with dozens of kittens and cats and one little old lady. Maybe she needs a friend? So, entirely spur of the moment, we call PetSmart, find out they have cats and close in one hour, I rush the older ones into coats and we rush to the pet store and I try to pick a cat that likes us.
So I get there, and I find the cats, and they have two adults labeled "good with children" and "good with other cats". One really likes the kids, and she's spayed and pretty and friendly and, oh, look at that, she's a pound cat. PetSmart doesn't really sell cats. They take cats from an animal shelter south of here, and put them up for adoption. This was a pound cat. But the place was spotless, and this cat seemed friendly, and we'd essentially promised the children, and it wasn't my rule. So I adopted her. On the way home I kindly gave her a name we'd considered for Sozo that hubby had rejected. Her name is Tiamat. You send me out to fetch the beast, I get to name the beast.
Anyway, we get her home, and she is (or close enough) the perfect cat. She was friendly with all three children from the moment she came out of the carrier, she puts up with all sorts of nonsense from them, hasn't scratched or bitten a child yet, doesn't hide under furniture, is extremely friendly and patient with family and friends alike, is pretty, is spayed... and she loathes Sozo. Wants to shred Sozo into little bloody bits, actually. I am now covered with scratches because I've had to rescue Sozo from Tiamat multiple times. Tiamat has even attacked Sozo while Sozo was resting in my lap!
So we've set a deadline. If Sozo and Tiamat can't get over their differences by April 18, we ask the "cat lady" to come get Sozo and take her back to the cattery. I don't really want to give her up. She's so sweet and pretty and teeny (she is fully grown and weighs about 5 pounds!) and she loves to sit on my lap for hours at a time. I've become very fond of her. But I can't in good conscience keep a cat who is terrified of the other cat and ends up spending most of her life hiding as a result. That would be mean and selfish. And we certainly aren't getting rid of the one whom the children adore and who adores them. I'll blog again when this situation is resolved.
Oh, and having a cat has been very good for our oldest.