Alex’s Kitten: A Pet Story without Redeeming Features

My husband casually mentioned, one day, that he’d like a kitten.  Immediately, I jumped into internet action!  I scoured rescue sites for likely kittens, visited pet stores on rescue day, harassed friends…and found my poor sweet calico at the Tavares, Florida high kill shelter.  Right before someone else adopted her.

A few days later, I found another sweet, adorable calico, but I wanted to clear it with my husband.  Seeing clearly that his offhand statement had created a woman crazed with animal pursuit, he relented.  I returned to adopt my new baby.  Right after someone else adopted her.

My oldest son had come with me.  While I was staring disconsolately at the kitten who now belonged to someone else despite my express orders not to be cute at anyone else, Alex was falling in love.  “This one, Mom”.  He was petting an ordinary looking orange tabby baby through it’s bars.  The tiny thing had reached out to him when he was passing by and started his rhythmic lawnmower purr.  Alex didn’t move from in front of that cage for the entire 20 minutes it took me to deal with my own disappointment.  I knew if I used up my free kitten card for my kid, I wasn’t getting one, myself.  But, finally I relented, melted, and found someone with a key to let that purr machine out of his cage and into a play area.  The kitten’s feet never touched the floor.  He only wanted to sit on Alex, climb on Alex, be one, with his Alex.  This is my oldest.  My sweet child who never asks for anything but has taken second chair to his louder, pushier, needier younger brother if it just meant a little peace, and he was in love.

Hobbes came home with us the next day.  He wore a cone of shame to prevent him from ripping out his new stitches (all rescue cats get “fixed” before they come home) and nearly battered Alex’s face head-butting him in joy, once we let him out of the pink furry bag my daughter had contributed to the new family member.  Once home, he discovered a cat friend and a dog friend and 6 people to cuddle with.  Pictures were taken, cuddles were given.  My husband told me I could still get my own kitten.  We thought it would be impossible to find one to beat Hobbes, but a few days later, I rescued an 8 week old tuxedo we named Rorschach.  It took a little bit, but they grew to like each other and often slept together with Alex.

Hobbes was so small and so loving, it took us a week to notice he walked funny.  He had “rabbit feet”.  The back legs did not fully extend and he walked on his fetlocks.  His front ankles were bent.  His claws snagged everything and he couldn’t seem to control them.  He seemed fine, otherwise.  I took him back to the SPCA for checkup and booster shots.  The vet told me Hobbes had probably suffered a traumatic birth and while he’d always walk like a particularly snakey ferret, he’d be otherwise fine.

Hobbes moved less and less over the next couple months.  He started sleeping in his own waste because it was easier than moving.  Rather than roll over and bat at Rory when he got pounced, he would go flat and retreat back to whichever hideyhole he was spending the day in.  he came out only to eat and then, I kept a food bowl close to a piece of furniture he could be under.  He was still so loving and sweet.  He wanted to be with people.  He loved when Alex came home and sat him in his lap while he played video games.  He rubbed heads with our older cat, our dog, even Rory.  He purred his lawnmower purr.

Today, my husband took him to the family vet.  Hobbes, who I have dubbed Hobbles and Hobbesimodo for his silly walk and shadow lifestyle, is in pain and only going to get worse.  Today, we broke my 17 year old son’s heart.  Tomorrow, he takes his companion to the vet, one last time.

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