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Orange is the New Cat

Orange is the New Cat

Going into the pet store on a Saturday is always a risky endeavor. Rescue groups and their charges crowd the area just inside the entrance. There is no way to get to the food and supplies in the back of the store without walking past scores of adorable cats with hard luck stories and sad faces. Other than steering clear of pet stores on weekends, the only other strategy I have at my disposal is to walk quickly and avert my eyes. Sure, I’ve bumped into a few people and displays, but I’ve managed to avoid the woeful stares of the homeless pets.  As long as I don’t stop to pet anything, I can get in and out of the store without coming home with a furry family member or a guilt trip.

Oregano and I needed some pet supplies. Since it was late Saturday afternoon, the rescue groups were gone and we were able to safely maneuver through the store without having our heartstrings tugged. I grabbed cans of cat food and Oregano hoisted the 42 pound bag of litter into the cart.

“Is there anything else we need for the boys?” I asked surveying all the cat accoutrements in the aisle.

“Nope; just litter and cans of wet food. We’ve got everything else already,” he replied as he started navigating the cart to the cashier.

Our feet were not yet across the threshold of our home when Oregano exclaimed, “Crap! I forgot we needed dry food, too.”

After a brief discussion on the merits of remembering things like that prior to leaving the pet store and a calculation of how many days’ worth of dry food we had left, we decided we’d have to go back to the store the next day.

“Maybe we can get there early to avoid the rescue groups,” I suggested.

“You’ve made it through the pet store on weekends before. You can do it again,” he reminded me.

He was right. I’d been in the pet store lots of times on the weekends and I’d never come home with a cat. Maybe I had more willpower and common sense than I was giving myself credit for.

The next day we walked into a different pet store. There, in the center aisle, unavoidably placed, was a long row of crates filled with cats. A sad faced orange tabby caught my eye. I wandered over to him, scratched his forehead and read the bio taped to his crate. He was just a year old. It said he was very shy and needed a home with patient parents.

Keebler close up

Within a few minutes, a volunteer from the rescue group wandered over with a huge smile on her face. “Would you like me to open the cage so you can pet Keebler? His fur is very soft,” she said.

“Oh, no. That’s OK,” I said. “I was just reading his bio. I’m not looking to adopt a cat. We already have two cats at home. I noticed that it says he’s shy. Three years ago, we adopted one that was very shy. We named him Linus because he used to hide under blankets all the time.”

“Linus is a cute name. Is he still really shy?” she asked.

“Not anymore. He’s a total scam artist. He was just looking for the right suckers to lift up his blanket in the shelter. He looked sad and terrified, but after a few months with us, he became a lap cat who constantly craves our attention.”

“You sound like just the kind of parents Keebler needs,” she said.

Oregano saw me talking to the volunteer and walked over. “He’s another fraidy cat like Linus,” I said.

The volunteer opened the door to the crate. Without even realizing what I was doing, I reached in and began scratching Keebler’s back. He started to purr and arched his back into the air giving us the “elevator butt” salute.

The volunteer looked surprised. “He has never had that reaction with anyone else during these adoption days. He usually just cowers in his crate.”

“I’m sure you say that to all the prospective parents.”

She smiled, “I’m serious. He’s never reacted like this to anyone else.” She glanced at the other volunteer. “We believe the cats choose their parents.”

“I agree with you about that, but I’ve already been chosen twice. I’m not currently on the market,” I replied while still petting Keebler’s arched back.

Oregano chimed in, “He is an orange tabby. You’ve always wanted an orange tabby.” He wasn’t helping the situation.

“Really?!” said the volunteer sensing that she had two suckers on the hook.

“Today is Mother’s Day. He needs a mom.” She was really working this sales pitch.

“Wow! What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with the rescue group, sell used cars?” I asked.

She laughed, “No. I’ve made it my mission to find him a home. He’s been at the shelter for 8 months. Because he isn’t outgoing, he gets overlooked. He needs just the right home with patient parents who will give him time to come out of his shell. You two sound like you’d be the perfect family for him.”

“He’s cute, but we already have two cats. We don’t want to upset them by bringing in another cat,” I said, shutting the door to Keebler’s crate. “I have a rule that the cats shouldn’t outnumber the humans in a home. If they had thumbs and our credit cards, they’d stage a coup and lock us out of the house.”

Oregano had started petting Keebler through the crate. I saw the look on his face. The volunteer saw the look on his face. Then he spoke, “There’s really no reason why we couldn’t have three though. We have enough room. We helped Linus come out of his shell. We know what to do for Keebler.”

I glanced to my right, I think I saw the volunteer jumping up and down, but maybe that was my imagination.

I glared at Oregano. “Just because we helped Linus, doesn’t mean the same things will work for Keebler. We are not cat whisperers. We can talk about this while we get the dry food you forgot about yesterday.”

We thanked the volunteer, said goodbye to Keebler and walked away.

“We could totally do this,” said Oregano trying to convince me.

“No we can’t!” I said emphatically.“I’ve never had three cats. I don’t even know what the dynamic would be like. Who knows if they’ll even all get along? It’s always risky introducing a new cat,”

My resolve was weakening. I could feel logic, common sense and reasoning evaporate. Why did I stop and pet him? I know the rules. I looked at Oregano, “Let me text my friends who have three cats and see what they say about the logistics and dynamics when they brought their third cat home.”

My friends replied quickly. After reading their responses, I realized these were the wrong people to ask for guidance. When I looked up from my phone, Oregano was gone. I found him in the next aisle looking at litter boxes.

“What are you doing? We already have two perfectly good litter boxes.” I asked.

“We do, but we’re going to have three cats. We’ll need one more while Keebler gets adjusted to his new home,” he said sheepishly.

I stared at him in disbelief.

“What advice did your friends have?” he asked.

“They were not the least bit helpful. They wanted me to text them a picture and asked when they could come over to meet him,” I replied.

That did it. Oregano picked up the new litter box and started walking back to Keebler’s cage. “We haven’t made a decision yet. Where are you going?” I called after him.

“Yes, we have,” he responded over his shoulder as he kept walking. “I’ve wanted a third cat for years, but you’ve always said no. This is the first time you are even considering it, so I’m jumping on this opportunity before you change your mind.”

When we reached Keebler’s cage the volunteer we had spoken to earlier was jumping up and down and clapping. “I was really hoping you’d come back,” she practically squealed.

“We’re seriously thinking about it. Can I pet him again?” I asked.

She opened his crate and once again Keebler let me pet him and arched his back. I glanced across the top of the crate and saw the look on Oregano’s face.

“OK.” I conceded quietly. “It looks like he’s adopting us.”

At this point, both volunteers were ecstatic. They scurried around gathering applications, medical records and other papers. I sat down to fill out the application fully expecting that they would need to contact our vet and references. I was asking what day during the week we’d be able to come back and pick him up. The volunteers stopped moving around and looked at me. “You can take him home with you today,” they practically said in unison.

“Today?! We don’t have a carrier with us and he’s too big to fit in my purse. We can’t take him home today! We need to prepare the room for him.” I was starting to panic. I am not an impulsive shopper and definitely not when it comes to something that is a 15 year commitment.

“You don’t take credit cards. I don’t think we have enough cash for the adoption fee.” I was grabbing at straws.

Oregano stood there amused by my panicking as he reached into his pocket. “Actually, I happen to have enough cash with me, so that’s not an issue,” he said gleefully.

Holy crap! Were we really going to leave this pet store with a new family member? How did this happen? My heart was racing and I felt like I was going to throw up.

“You can borrow the carrier we brought him in today. Just bring it back to us. We’re here every weekend,” offered the volunteer.

“Oh, I see how you people operate,” I said. “Next week I bring back the empty carrier, fall in love with another furry orphan and wind up with a fourth cat. It’s a vicious circle.”

Oregano and the volunteers were laughing at me. “If you’re that worried about your newly developed lack of self-control, I’ll bring the carrier back next weekend without you.”

I pulled him aside, “Are we really doing this? We’re going home with a new cat?! Don’t you think we need to go home and beat this idea to death, overanalyze it for a few months, you know, like we usually do?”

“Yes. We’re really doing this.” He kissed my cheek and walked off to pay for the cat food and the new litter box.

When he returned we posed for a commemorative photo for the rescue group’s website then walked out to the car carrying Keebler in his borrowed traveling crate. On the drive home I glanced in the mirror and saw him curled up looking terrified. I’m pretty sure I looked terrified, too.

playing with my big brother

Linus immediately recognized a fellow fraidy cat and  welcomed his new, nervous brother.

A few days later, we took Keebler to the vet for a wellness exam. When our vet walked into the exam room and saw a cat that looked nothing like our other cats, she laughed, “What did you do?”

“Well, we went into the pet store to buy cat food and came home with a cat,” I explained.

She smiled, “That happens a lot more than you’d think.”

I looked over at Oregano and said, “Just to be on the safe side, we’d better order our cat food online from now on.”

Keebler seems happy and relaxed in his new home.

Keebler seems happy and relaxed in his new home.






About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

64 responses »

  1. Pingback: Balloons everywhere! – The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy

  2. Not only are you good humored, but you’re good hearted as well. Happy new cat!

  3. Cats do pick their owners. Keebler definitley looks like a winner. (We went in for cat food and came out with a dog…) We’ve had crowds of pets three cats onec – they entertained each other and made use of their imdividual skills like one jumped on the cabinet and opened the pantry door then shoved down the food bag; one ripped it open: and the last one ate it first – just to make sure it was safe for the other cats he always assured us. We’ve had 2 indoor/outdoor cats, 2 that were strays that took up to the back yard and warm greenhouse int he winter plus two Booviers de Flanders – they all got along. Eventually I found the invisible sign that said “Stop here, these people let any animals stay”.
    Love your telling of this tail.

    • Thanks for sharing your tales about your tails. It’s amazing what the cats learn from each other and how they can work as a team when it is in their collective best interests. When I was in the pet store desperately trying to convince myself that 3 cats is 1 too many, I told Oregano that the cats shouldn’t outnumber the humans. They could stage a coup and take over the house. Well, they have taken over the house, but they’re so cute, we don’t even mind. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I’m hoping to get back to writing on a regular schedule once school ends for the year.

  4. Pingback: gotcha day | pix & kardz

  5. o Paprika, i am so happy for you! how delightful is this. my friend Diana alerted me to your newest post, and as i look at some of Keebler’s poses, he reminds me a lot of our Timmy, who at 9-1/2 is a bundle of joy.
    am so glad this worked out for your other two boys. i must say i was quite touched to read that he had been in a shelter for 8 months. unbelievable!
    so congratulations to all of you on your newest family edition. Timmy sends purrs.

  6. Hehe!! Looks like you’ve been well and truly bamboozled!! In a good way of course! Keebler is a keeper and that’s that! Good work, Oregano and Keebler! You were obviously working in cahoots!! Glad to see another great blogpost from you 🙂 it’s been a while I think!!

    • I’ve definitely been snookered. It was a conspiracy and I couldn’t be happier that I fell for it.
      You’re right. It’s been more than a year since my last blog post. Thanks so much for remaining a loyal reader in my extended absence from the blogosphere.

  7. Love this story! I have never been to a big pet store on a weekend — at least none that sponsor cats. Much better than mall pet stores that sell them, however. Some friends of mine adopted an orange cat a couple of years ago, and he is lovely (although he turns his back on me). They have had so much enjoyment from him. My cat is also a rescued cat, but is an alpha cat, so doesn’t get along well with others. She also has dark tortoiseshell colouring so is not at all photogenic. In her old age she has learned to sit on laps for a few minutes, and is more interactive than she was in younger years. Your beastie sounds so much lovelier. Kudos to Oregano for jumping in with all feet, and the cash. May your trio live long, healthy lives, and may you find great pleasure in them all.

    • Thanks, Diana! We really lucked out that Keebler has such a sweet disposition and that his brothers enjoy his company as much as we do. The three of them keep us laughing every day.
      I think torties have beautiful markings. They may not show up in photos, but true beauty rarely does.

      • That last comment is one perfect response and reminder. And so true.
        And cats are often better in small groups than as individuals. I suspect my beastie is often bored and lonely.
        So glad you three (and you two) get along so well!

      • Thanks, Diana and thank you for sharing the link to my post.

      • I think perhaps that the share was unnecessary. I may actually followed a link on her blog to one of yours, since you seem to know each other well. 🙂

    • thanks for sharing this link, Diana. i haven’t stopped by here for awhile, and i so enjoyed this story. 😀

    • one more thing – in response to Diana’s note, a number of months ago i was at the Tisol Pet Supply Store in Richmond (BC/Canada), and it turns out they have a cat for adoption from the Richmond Animal Shelter. apparently every time they show a new cat, it has been adopted, which is wonderful. we saw a black one that was about five years old, four years of which had been spent at the shelter.
      unfortunately Timmy doesn’t live well with other cats, so it was quite sad to leave that adorable boy behind. i am hopeful that their track record continued, and that he ended up in a good home before too long.
      i actually think it is brilliant that they are looking for homes for cats that are from a shelter. usually kittens find homes easier, but it’s the adult ones that need a home just as much. so it happens in this corner of the planet, too.

      • I always admired how handsome Timmy is when I read his monthly blog posts. I guess he enjoys being he center of attention and is unwilling to share the spotlight.

        It’s sad to know that there are so many cats who need loving homes. Kittens usually don’t have trouble getting adopted which is why we’ve adopted adult cats. Keebler is the youngest cat we’ve had in almost 20 years. We both forgot how much energy a year old cat can have. He runs around so fast we often wonder if there is more than one of him in the house.

  8. Congratulations to the non-furry parents. Those sweet, innocent faces will do it every time. Keebler seems to be adjusting beautifully.

    We have two shelter cats, now 8-years-old. One, Reggie (a female) does the “elevator salute.” Jean-Louis (a male) does not. He was the one who came up in his cage to me while Reggie cowered in the back. That won me over! 😉

  9. He looks pretty chilled out in that last photo. 🙂

    • He sleeps like that all the time. I’d say he is definitely chilled out. I’ve never had a cat sleep like that before. Now I have 2 fraidy cats and they both sleep on their backs all the time. It’s such a funny sight to see.

  10. We were somehow suckered into bringing home four cats from the shelter, when we went in to adopt two or three. We adore them all. I draw the line there though. A couple with no children and four cats is questionable. If we cross over into five cats, we are officially the weird couple who never had kids but hoard cats. Of course, if a really sweet homeless kitty crossed my path…sigh. Keebler is adorable. Enjoy!

  11. AWWWWWW what a wonderful story! It sounds like Keebler found the right parents! I know he is lucky to have you guys!
    And I’m so happy to read another story from you! I’ve missed reading them! Glad you’re back!!!!!

  12. Orange cats are the best! We love our Penny. Much happiness to you with the new baby. Susan Feibush

  13. What wise friends you have!

  14. Aww that was a very cute story. 🙂 I’m glad you did it. I want another dog, but my neighbor, she watches Xander, won’t let me. lmao

  15. A friend of mine sent her husband to the pet store to get some pet food for their 6 cats. He came home with the food and ANOTHER cat!!!

  16. Wonderful to see you in my inbox, Paprika! And Keebler is one lucky guy.

    We ended up with a new puppy within 5 days when my sister-in-law sent me the photo of a puppy who neede a home, I wrote an inquiry and we were accepted that night. By Saturday, he was ours. We had the same “we’re not ready!” feeling, but like Keebler, Duncan settled in immediately and is now the most spoiled dog on the planet. Which is just how it ought to be.

  17. At least you had to leave the house to find you new kitty. Mine just show up in my yard! One is in my lap right now, purring, kneading, and licking my chin. Makes it hard to type. But I love my new love buddies! I was never going to get another cat, and now I have three! Congrats on the new family member!

    • I’m so glad they don’t show up at my door looking for a new home. That would be even harder to resist, especially if it is a kitten.
      It’s hard to beat that purring! It’s the one of the best sounds in the world even when they are sitting on the book you are trying to read or completely blocking the computer monitor.

  18. You two are the best! We had up to five or six cats at one point, all strays. We are down to one, an orange tabby. She is full of spunk and personality ! We love her! ❤️

    • Thanks, Deb. Three will definitely be our limit. Somehow, 3 seems like a lot more than 2.

      Keebler is definitely full of spunk. He runs around the house so fast that sometimes I’m almost certain there are 2 of him.

  19. O.M.W.! You have a new cat! What an awesome story, Paprika! You had me spellbound right until the very end. I can totally relate to how you feel…. I hope Keebler settles in beautifully and that you end up with a happy triumvirate of furbabies.

    • Thanks, Reggie! I’m glad you enjoyed Keebler’s tale so much. I still can’t believe we did something so impulsive.
      Keebler has adjusted very well to being spoiled and adored. He’s still a bit anxious, but we’re working with him. We could not have asked for a better reaction from Otis and Linus.
      Hope all is well with you.

  20. Where have you been? I’ve missed you! Mazeltov on your new addition. Jenny was visiting recently with Waffle, her orange tabby. We’re in love with her (of course, Jenny, but I’m referring to her cat). Hope all is good… Paula

    Sent from my iPad


    • Thanks, Paula. I took a break from writing and wasn’t sure if I was going to continue. After a year, I decided that I really missed it and missed my readers.

      I remember you talking about Waffle (and Jenny), but I had no idea she was an orange tabby. People have said the orange ones are trouble, but Keebler is a joy. I guess it takes one redhead to understand another.
      Hope all is well with you. Hugs…

  21. OMG! He’s gorgeous! I always wanted an orange cat too but no luck so far. This is exactly how I ended up with Morgan, the pitiful one-eye trickster when I was dropping off towels at the shelter. BTW Morgan was #4. I never thought I’d have that many. Jake passed this year so I’m down to 3 and it’s a little quiet around here. I NEVER go to the pet stores on the weekend. NEVER! From your photo it looks like he settled right in with the others.

  22. So nice to read your view of life experiences again. Keep them coming. I know, I know, school work comes first and now there’s another mouth to feed. Enjoyed your latest observations. Is Keebler a cookie monster or the baker who’s always cooking up things.

    • Thanks, Dr. Bob. I’m so glad you’re still a fan after my long absence from writing. To answer your question, Keebler is more like the impish elf who lives in the tree than a cookie monster or a baker.

  23. Yay, glad you finally did it!!  Looking forward to more stories soon. Love,Me

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  24. So happy to have had the pleasure of meeting Keebler!!

  25. Love it!! So happy to read another post from my favorite blogger!!! Xoxo

  26. Paprika,
    We had a cat that looked just like Keebler. He was our “Tiger-Man” for 21 years! I as I read your story I fondly thought of Tiger finding us …showed up at our doorstep and never left.
    So much to love.

  27. Keebler is fantastic! And he is one lucky boy – soft-hearted parents & siblings!


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