I've been looking through the filing cabinet because I need Benjamin's birth certificate and social Security card to register him for Kindergarten. So far I found his birth certificate and both pieces of Frances' documentation. I also found Oscar's "birth certificate."
I've known he was born in April, but I had forgotten that the specific date. Now I know that today is his birthday, so I thought I'd tell you his "birth story!"
Growing up we always had cats as pets. When I was in college and finally had a place that allowed pets, I really wanted to get a cat of my own. There is a local rescue shelter here called Cat's Cradle. The take in strays and re-home them as well as helping to foster unwanted kittens or cats that owners have relinquished for various reasons.
Fifteen years ago, Cat's Cradle didn't have an actual physical location. The cat's were housed at various volunteer's homes. I called up the number and asked about kittens and I was told about a woman who had just had some born not too long ago.
It turns out that Oscar's mom was a stray who got picked up while she was pregnant. She was brought to the volunteer's house, cared for, and delivered her kittens there. While technically a stray, Oscar and his siblings had never been out on the street. It's a good thing!
Oscar's mom had distemper while she was pregnant and all her kittens were born with neurological defects. When I went to visit them they were all so funny looking! The part of their brains that controls motor function had been most greatly affected and these poor kittens couldn't walk a straight line without falling over. They shook and wobbled all over their cage.
As I was looking at these cats and wondering what kind of prospects they would have, one of them reached out and grabbed my finger. He hooked it with his precious little paw and pulled it straight into the cage. Then he gently nipped my finger and stole my heart.
When I brought him home that first night, I really wondered what I had gotten myself in to! When he finally had a place to run and frolic I found out that he...can't run and frolic!! His back legs always ended up arriving before his front legs. He would wobble and flop over when he tried to get anywhere. He couldn't jump either. Wait! I take that back...he could jump just fine; it was the landing that was an issue! Call me a bad mom, but I spent a lot of time laughing at him in those early days.
But he was just the sweetest little kitten ever. He would sleep on my pillow, curled around my head and nibble my ears. He loved snuggles and kisses. We had him neutered (a condition of his adoption) and spoiled him with toys and treats. It actually turns out that he does not like canned cat food, so he's has only ever eaten the dry kibble.
Flash forward 15 years...
We don't laugh at Oscar too much anymore. My kids have no idea that anything is "wrong" with him. They are actually shocked when they see other cats leap nimbly into a windowsill. They have no idea that cats can usually do that! If Oscar sleeps in my bed these days, it's usually between or behind my knees so I can't move. Most nights we keep him out of our room because he wanders around in the middle of the night and the door squeaks every time he leaves or comes back.
He still only eats dry cat food. He doesn't go outside unless the kids leave the door open too long (and then he's terrified at what he's done and runs right back in!) He'd never win a fight with the strays in our neighborhood. He still can't jump accurately and his running still makes me smile. He gets on my nerves because he meows all the time and seems to forget where his food is each morning. But he's still my kitty and we still love him.
Happy birthday, Oscar!