|At least some of you who don't cringe and avert their eyes automatically when they see my posts must be aware that I am currently taking care of an orange tabby kitten who was rescued from a cat hoarder. The foster Mom wasn't entirely up front about his health condition when I went to meet and greet--she said he had had calicivirus, but that he had gotten over it, aside from tearing in one eye, probably caused by a damaged tear duct. But when she brought him to my place, the diagnosis was herpes--which is both worse and better than calicivirus (as I understand it, a cat can get sicker from calicivirus, but stands a better chance of getting rid of it for good than with herpes, which almost always stays in the cat's system). Also, he seems to have overly red gums that may be related to the herpes infection; we're going to the dentist tomorrow to get him checked out. I am leery of taking on a cat with severe gingivitis, because it is so difficult to treat, and the cat suffers so much. So, while waiting for the test results to come in, I've been trying not to fall in love with him, just in case I have to give him back...but he's fallen in love with me.
I've never had a cat this affectionate. I mean, basically he grew up outside the house of the cat hoarder, which would make him feral, more or less, but I've never met such a sweet, intelligent, well-mannered boy. Here are his good points:
-- He establishes long and meaningful eye contact.
-- He jumps onto my lap and goes to sleep.
-- He talks to me.
-- He loves toys, any toy. He loves food, any food. Quite different from my fussy Maine Coons.
-- He has a purr that can be heard across the room. My mere presence is enough to start up the purr.
-- He rolls over and lets me rub his belly.
-- When he's feeling REALLY affectionate, he flings himself at my chest.
-- He sleeps on my feet when I'm on the computer.
-- He has impeccable toilet habits; buries his little doo-doos with the precision of an engineer.
-- He kneads while lying on my lap purring! I've never had a cat that did that before!
-- He's beautiful--even though his eyes are slightly damaged by the herpes infection, he is a striking cat: almond eyes, enormous ears, a prominent muzzle, pink nose and pink paw pads; he's an orange tabby, but unusual in that his body has the "ticked tabby" pattern of an Abyssinian, but he has tabby stripes on his legs, tummy, and tail. His body shape is long and lean, what I believe is called "Oriental." Who knows what he has in his genetic mix.
-- He like to help me type--or rather, mistype.
-- He taught himself to fetch (Harvey and Leila never mastered this skill).
-- So far, he hasn't chewed/scratched anything he shouldn't, or had any toilet accidents.
-- It would appear that as far as he's concerned, I'm the center of his life.
So, does this sound like the ideal cat, or what? He's so cheerful, so full of life...
What's the problem, then? Well, I'm afraid that he might pass herpes along to the other cats. However, as a vet opined, over 70% of cats have been exposed to herpes anyway, and Chibi had a URI in March, AND everyone's up to date on their shots, so...
Other than that, I'm worried about his gums, as written above.
He has yet to meet the other cats because he's being kept in quarantine until he stops sneezing. I have a feeling that the girls will enjoy having a new playmate, Spot will feel hurt that I've brought yet ANOTHER cat into the household, and Harvey, who still hasn't gotten over his animosity toward his little sister Chibi, will probably bully him as well.
So--IS this an exceptionally affectionate cat, or have I just had dud cats up until now? Also, will a kitten this affectionate grow up to be as affectionate as he is now? My experience with cats has always been that standoffish kittens will suddenly become much friendlier at about the age of two; perhaps that's when they feel their own mortality weighing on them, or when they actually put two and two together and figure out that they had better be nice to the Human who feeds them. So, I assume he'll get more, rather than less, affectionate as time goes on.
Anyway, let's have a show of hands and vote. Should I keep him?