Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How we got our Oscar

We started taking Bella to Petsmart on Saturdays for socializing so she can interact with other dogs and people. While there last week, we took a look at the cats they have up for adoption. Petsmart partners with local shelters for adoption, and this Petsmart partners with Winnebago County shelter. I got Malcom at the Petsmart in Mesa, AZ that partnered with the Maricopa County shelter.

So last week, there were several cats and though we thought about it and hung out by the cats' cages, we just weren't ready yet to adopt. This Saturday, two of the cats were the same as last time. The cat to become Oscar was there (the shelter named him Carter--we though Oscar just worked better) and was very playful and alert. He seemed interested in Bella and not in that "what a barbarian" way that most cats are. Earlier, another dog had come to his cage window, and he seemed very much interested in a playful way.

A saleswomen was alert to our interest and asked if we wanted to go in and play with him. Kristen and I looked at each other, knowing that "yes" was a yes to adoption, not just playing with him. We took the plunge. Oscar was very friendly and playful. He let you pick him up and hold him. When I picked him up, he gave me a little kiss and put his paw on my beard.

We had to wait until Sunday morning to take Oscar home because the county shelter had already closed. They called us in the morning and said the paper work had cleared and we could come and get him. We made our way down to the store, picked up some supplies and took our new housemate home.

The shelter neutered him and gave him most of his shots. He still needed to be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids. So he had to stay in our guest room quarantined from Malcom (these diseases don't pose a threat to Bella). I called the Vet's office on Monday morning and we made an appointment for later that afternoon.

He got the all clear from the vet and when I got home from school (early thanks to a snow storm) we began the integration process. We put both Malcom and Oscar in their respective travel bags and put them next together for about 15 minutes in Kristen's office. Then, leaving Malcom in his bag, let Oscar out of his to walk around and get comfortable. Malcom was throwing a little fit in his bag, but Oscar walked around and finally settled down and relaxed. After about 10 minutes, we put Oscar back in his bag, and let Malcom out. Malcom walked around, smelling all the places that Oscar had been. He hissed at Oscar in his bag and finally settled in behind Kristen's desk. After about another 10 minutes, we let Oscar out. Malcom wouldn't let him get too close, hissing if he got close. Oscar tried a few times, but then kept his distance. But only for a little bit, he'd try again and again. We finally just let them out of the room and have free range of the house.

Oscar shows no fear of Bella. Bella is nervous (because Malcom terrorizes her) around Oscar, but mostly just wants to smell Oscar's butt. Oscar doesn't mind for the most part, but when Bella gets too insistent or too sniffy, he takes off. This of course means that Bella chases him. They are getting better.

Oscar follows Malcom around now, clearly wanting to be friends. They chase each other around, but Malcom's hissing as mostly stopped. Still, they have some distance to go. I'm sure it is difficult for Malcom, but he got used to Sylvia, he'll get used to Oscar.

Oscar is very much at home now. He slept on our bed a good chunk of the day. He's eating well, playing with toys and the scratch post. He sat on my lap for a spell as we watched TV tonight. He lounges around in different spots, clearly comfortable where ever he is. He's very vocal and purrs a lot.

In short, he's a little sweetie who is very loving and playful. We are glad he's with us!

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