Welcome, Digger!

I am writing this for cat lovers, and also for myself, as I need to work something out of my system. I haven’t written anything recently about my cat Deva, or her replacement Digger, as I have just simply found it too hard; Deva was put to sleep on February 2nd, and I brought Digger home on March 7th. Thinking about Deva is very upsetting to me, and although I am very happy with Digger, I’m still nowhere near getting over Deva’s illness and death.

When I woke up on February 1st, it was immediately obvious to me that she needed to be put to sleep. But it was a Sunday, and I had been cautioned in the past that emergency vet fees can be prohibitive on a Sunday, so I made all the arrangements to take her in first thing on the Monday. Then we had a blizzard, and the schools were closed and the roads were largely blocked. I was unable to get her there until a little after 3:00pm, and by then she was in such bad shape that we had to dismantle the carrier to get her out of it.

If I had been willing to spend the extra, she could have been put to sleep as much as 30 hours sooner, and I blame myself for that not happening. I find it a very heavy burden.

On March 4th I saw an ad via Kristen’s Critters (on behalf of the Animal Rescue Krew in Whitby, operating out of PetSmart) for a cat that seemed suitable, a neutered male around 3 years old. I phoned, and was told that he was already gone. But that did get me over a hurdle, and I phoned again on Saturday to ask if I could be notified when a suitable cat showed up because of the distance involved.

As it turned out, Digger had been returned, so I took a cab and went to “interview” for him. An hour or two later I got another cab to take him home, together with new bowls, litter box, scratching post, and lots of food and other supplies. That plus the adoption fee of $100 put me back a bit, but it was worth it, and my pensions had come in.

Digger has a history of being hard to place, and I soon found out why. He is big, boisterous, and loves to bound around the house and jump on things, often without paying attention to where he might land or what might get knocked over. He also bites, and swats playfully without retracting his claws, drawing blood. He does this in a friendly fashion with a big smile on his face, but he would be very bad news around children. Small children in particular would be frightened of him.

I think that he has a very nice personality, and I accept that he has no idea of what he is doing and will not change. So, I have done what I can to make the house Digger-proof. He almost knocked over the printer, and if it hadn’t jammed against the filing cabinet I could have been out two or three hundred dollars. But I think he is worth the effort.

And, he needs a good home as he has been abused in the past. Not physically, he shows no fear, but he was left alone for hours and even days at a time. He was previously called “Oreo”, but although he is mostly white, I doubt he could be mistaken for a big cookie! A big cookie with teeth and claws, perhaps…

The name Digger refers to his sharp claws and what he does to carpets and to his scratching post. He is a surprisingly powerful animal, and could do a lot of damage. I had thought he might have an Australian connection, but that is not so.

For the first week or so he would jump on my lap and groom himself at all times of the day, but he doesn’t do that much anymore. He has been yelled at a couple of times, for startling me and jumping where I don’t want him to go, and I quickly learned to be careful of him jumping up on me for fear of being scratched. But he is treated in a reliable and predictable manner, with regular feedings and friendly acknowledgments whenever we pass by each other, and I play with him as much as I can. He spends a lot of time at the window watching the squirrels and birds, and also goes upstairs a lot where it is hard for me to follow him all the time. He mostly sleeps on the bed at night, and will sit on my lap when I watch television.

I think this is working out. I should have got an older cat perhaps, but I am afraid of huge vet bills and need a few years of relative quiet before the cat ages to the point of needing serious veterinary attention.

As for the jumping, I just try to anticipate what might happen, and make sure he is nowhere near if I need to open cupboards or whatever. He may feel somewhat rejected because I won’t let him jump on me without warning, and I stop playing with him if I can see he’s likely to start biting or scratching. Then again, he has been bounced around so many times that he needs a steady home or he might be euthenized as unplaceable. He lasted less than 48 hours in his adoption prior to me, so here’s hoping it works.

I will do my best to make him happy, and I hope he can accept that with me, things will be a lot quieter, with less play than he might want. In exchange, he is safe and secure.

Jeff Goodall.