The Vander Weide Menagerie
April 20, 2008

About a day after my last post on the subject, my parents went to the Golden Valley Humane Society. At my specific request, I was once again conferenced in, this time via Nessa's cellphone.

It turns out that Dad wasn't so interested in the biting Mr. Boots. It also turns out that his name was Mr. Mittens, prompting me to call him "Mr. Bittens" forever more. It further and finally turns out that while he bit my dad, he didn't bite Nessa when she got him out of his cage. "I don't think Dad knows how to get the cats out," she whispered to me.

With me hanging on the line, I listened to my parents and sister go through about half a dozen cats. They'd drag each one out of their cages and then sit in a room and try to get to know them. I heard snippets like:

"That's a lot of cat. I didn't anticipate how much cat was in that cage when I got him out."

"That one looks like a crab -- let's look at him."

"Nessa, you are NOT getting another cat."

Meanwhile, to me Nessa mused quietly, "Yeah, we'll see."

Regarding the cat with one ear, Nessa insisted, "But you could name her Van Gogh! Or Picasso!" Added to me, "Picasso also cut off his ear, right?"

"No," I said, "He just painted people who looked like they had."

"Oh," Nessa considered, "But Van Gogh is still a good name."

"Van Gogh Vander Weide?" I wondered.

When it became clear that Dad was only in the market for a long-haired, fluffy cat, Nessa went off on her own and we investigated other options. Again, with me on the website. We cooed and ahhed over various furballs until Vanessa got pretty stuck on King Kat. King Kat is a nine-year-old tabby, who, I believe, weighs about fifteen pounds. Vanessa dashed back to my parents, and, finding them already fairly decided on a long-haired tabby named "Meeja," begged them to adopt King Kat as well. We always feel bad for the older cats, and King Kat had already been at the shelter for almost a month.

"We are only getting one," Mom told her.

"But will you promise to consider adopting King Kat later?" Nessa pleaded.

"Okay, fine, but you can't go and adopt him in the meantime," Mom conceded.

"I won't. Just as long as you promise to consider it."

Mom was filling out the paperwork on Meeja while Dad wandered over to the store section and looked at cat boxes and food.

"What about this one?" I heard him ask.

"No, Dad," Nessa told him, "That's way too small. You need a bigger box for a cat that size."

"Really?" Dad wondered, "Are you sure? I think she'd fit in here."

"She might fit," Nessa explained, "But she has to poop as well. Do you want her pooping over the side?"

Dad ignored this and called out to my mother who also told him the cat box was too small. Dad looked at a humane society staff member who laughed, "Aren't you glad you came?" "They tell me to make a decision and then they tell me it's wrong," Dad announced, mournfully. Of course, all of us would have told him that if he made the right decision in the first place, correction would have been rendered unnecessary.

At this point, there was a loud bang as my Mom tripped over the new cat in her cat carrier, probably causing the poor thing to decide, "You know what? I'm good here. You all just go on home without me."

"Yeah, I don't think they're going to let you take her home now," Nessa told them before wandering off again. She was gone for so long that when she finally pulled herself away from all the tantalizing paws and purrs that lined the walls, my parents were out in the parking lot, looking around for her.

"They're not going leave without you because they're afraid you'll adopt a cat," I told her.

"They should be afraid," Nessa said, getting into her own car and following my parents back to their house.

Apparently, on the car ride home, my mother started thinking that a third cat might not be such a bad idea and that maybe they would get King Kat.

"We can turn around right now!" Dad offered.

"No, Vern, not right this minute!" Mom said.

It's a situation that bears watching, especially since Marvin's integration with this new arrival has gone smoothly with barely any hissing and zero smackdowns...

The Vander Weide Menagerie now stands at 16

Mom & Dad: Marvin (cat) and New Arrival (cat)
Me & Mathra: Poppadum (cat) and Hunca Munca (cat)
Nessa: Mandy (dog), Berlie (cat), Baloo (cat), Wooster (cat), and Minerva (cat)
Jennie: Tansy (dog), Shay-Shay (dog), Poirot (cat), Agatha (cat), Little One (cat), Nutmeg (cat), Dobby (cat), and Oscar (cat)

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