Fur Babies

Fur Babies

Hi, Hello and Assalamualaikum! I’m Aina and welcome to Life Without A Rubric!

          My 2020 Halloween started off with: ‘Day 3 of me posting TikToks of cats until I get a cat’ thinking it would be a daily ongoing chain for the foreseeable future. I had been searching for cats to adopt for several weeks by then but I just couldn’t find an ideal adoption situation. Our very un-spooky night ended with me and my sister finding a few kittens up for adoption on petfinder.my. We didn’t think much about the search because every other possibility had already resulted in us getting our hopes up so these were just possibilities… right?

          Allergic Rescuers KL (ARKL) is a group of independent rescuers who rescue, foster and rehome cats while also carrying out TNR within their local areas. Their facebook page has tons of posts with stories of the cats that have been rehomed and albums of photos of the cats they have fostered and are fostering. It looked like a safe bet so that’s where my sister and I narrowed down our search. By narrow, I mean we completed our search. We found them.

Never have I ever been so emotionally attached to any cat in general let alone two kittens I had never met.

          Coming from someone who had never gotten a cat of their own, their adoption process was very new cat-parent friendly and really well thought through. ARKL sent me an application form in order to fill out certain details pertaining me, the cat(s) I would like to adopt, my current situation and whether I was conscious of the commitment I was making. From there, I was connected with their foster parent, @pawgwarts_KL. It was a speedy adoption to me. Everything happened within literally a week, or less if you count the fact we only found them past midnight.

  • Saturday: My sister and I went through petfinder.com at 1:00 AM searching for kittens within our area and we came across so many adorable babies but we felt attached to a pair of siblings that we saw.
  • Sunday: I got in contact with ARKL and asked about four kittens we had seen and been curious about. Eventually, we filled up an application form for the two fur babies my sister and I were particularly fond of. That evening, we had a video call with their foster parent just to go over details of the application and for her to get to know us and whether we were an appropriate home for the kittens. 
  • Monday: Their foster parent sent a list of resources for new cat owners. It was two documents covering the details of basic cat care and what their first week was going to entail. Regarding cat supplies, we already had a few of the basics since we had been prepping for a while but we still had to buy some essentials so some shopping was to be done!
  • Tuesday: We used the links attached to the PDF’s to buy the remaining essentials we needed online. This was particularly helpful because we avoid trying to go out other than for groceries. 
  • Wednesday: We virtually signed the adoption papers and we also set a time and date for their arrival! I also cleaned my room thoroughly and made sure that the space was safe for cats, especially two small fur balls of energy.
  • Friday: We had another video call with their foster parent so that she could brief me on how to set up their ‘base camp’ (where they would be staying while acclimating to their new home) aka my room. We also set what we would need to do to ensure their safety. I also washed my bathroom top to bottom because that’s where we were going to introduce them first and so I would be spending quite a bit of time there, at least till they could be let into my room.
  • Saturday: It was D-Day! I could barely sleep the night before and had stayed up watching some episodes of My Cat From Hell, a great show. They arrived at 1:30 PM and our family instantly grew from a number of six to eight. I was in my bathroom basically for the rest of the day.

          If there was anything I took away from this adoption process was how ARKL truly cares for the cats that they put up for adoption. From the adoption papers that state that if the prospective owner was ever unable to care for their adopted cats, the owner is to return their cats to ARKL, to the fact that their foster parents remain in contact to help remind owners for the remaining necessary vet appointments and welcome any questions. I find it reassuring that there are people like them out there saving cats and giving them a chance at a better life.

          Ever since I can remember, I have loved cats. No matter what size or species, I have loved and will love them. One clear life vision I have always had has been to have my own cats and I always thought that it would only be possible once I had a stable income. Yet, that vision came true a little earlier than I thought so it grew into something bigger. After my week of intensive prepping for cats, including watching videos of Jackson Galaxy aka ‘the Cat Daddy’, I realised that one day I would love to be apart of this community. The community that gives hope to the cats on the street and to the ones threatened by euthanisation. The community that is helping tackle the issue of cat overpopulation and a community that brings families together both feline and human.

          As someone who has always wanted cats, I had this idealised image of what my life would be like with them. A cat that quietly accompanies me while I’m doing work on my desk either by sitting beside me or on my lap asleep. A cat that follows me around the house and doesn’t want to leave my side. A cat that sleeps on my bed and wakes me up when my alarm goes off. It’s generally all those stories I’ve heard when people share their experiences with their beloved feline friend. I wanted that too and I had only imagined it all too well.But the reality is, there’s always a yin to the yang. Most people don’t talk much about the times where cats just want to be on their own or may not like to be touched as much as you want to pet them. Some people show the scars of cat scratches on their body or on the furniture that they value. The running around the desk when you’re trying to get work done accompanied by the worry of things falling. Then there’s the smell and the sight, the mere existence of the litter box which is a necessity to every purely/partially indoor cat. Now there’s the big one I now know all too well: the responsibility.

          I knew that responsibility was something that would arise when it came to taking care of cats. I always knew that one argument that could help persuade parents was that having these furry, free-roaming animals was a good way to instil responsibility. Little did I know to what degree that responsibility was going to be. Cats have a certain standard of care in the categories of diet and nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, physical exercise and cat-proofing (catifying) their living space(s). Of course, you don’t have to fulfil all and you don’t have to provide these at such high quality but something I realised was: at the end of the day, these cats didn’t choose to be adopted by you, they didn’t choose to live in your home. You chose them. You welcomed them into your life. I welcomed them into my life and to me, if that means my constantly clean, personally perfect room had to smell intensely like cat, for the time being, so be it. They’re cats. They’re animals. They’re not going to smell great. I knew that and I accepted it. Just as how I’ve accepted them for all their good and all their bad.

So now I have Rusty and Crimson.

          Rusty was described to me as a mama’s boy who was going to be a bit more wary in terms of new places/things. While Crimson was described as outgoing and adventurous, she was more confident out of the two and she was a lap cat. When I first met them, Rusty hissed whenever someone approached or invaded his space. He was shy and wanted to bring toys into the carrier, which was where they slept at the time. Crimson, on the other hand, didn’t want to be petted then but liked exploring the new area and sniffing everything out. Over a simple night, they opened up and now over the week and a half we’ve had them, I know that they’re the most perfect kitties for my family. They’re both super affectionate and hang around my desk when I’m sitting there. Sure, they intensely sniff what’s on my desk but as long as they’re not bits of paper sticking out, my belongings are safe. They’re not easily scared and they don’t mind people walking around or things moving even while they’re sleeping. They both like belly rubs which I find absolutely adorable, Crimson more than Rusty though. They both like taking naps in laps, individually and together. They enjoy playing with wand toys so anything you wave around them they will chase (which includes skirts and flowy material so I become a target sometimes). I’ve learned that Crimson is a jumper, she’s very agile while Rusty is stronger and not as good on his feet but when he gets a grip on something, it’s very hard to get him to let go. Rusty sometimes scratches when he tries to get onto my lap because he think he needs his claws to grip but he’s getting better at it. He also sometimes leaves his ‘business’ uncovered but I’ve seen his sister cover it for him. Crimson is more likely to jump and get onto places you don’t want her to get on which her brother then follows her to. Did I mention they do nearly everything together? They really are a pair. There’s so much to them that we’ve uncovered and I’m sure we’ll be uncovering as we all grow older. 

         There’s something Jackson Galaxy once said that I can finally truly understand. I shall leave you on those words for this week, till next time:

“Having any sort of animal in your life is an irreplaceable piece of therapy.”

Music Recommendations:

  1. ‘Ghosting’ by Tomorrow By Together was one of those songs I loved at first hear. I was obsessed with the melody of this song. Plus the fact I actually felt loneliness while listening to this song was an experience I hadn’t gone through before. It’s a song under the genre nu gaze which is a form of alternative rock (first I heard of it). I really like how calming the song is especially with the constant drumline.
  2. ‘Daisy’ by Pentagon is such a strong song and it just makes you feel like dancing in the rain because of the love you never had. This song came to me when I was listening to the top songs in the Kpop Daebak playlist on Spotify. I like the build up and just the dynamics of the song were so well done. I had heard about it but never listened to it but I’m so glad I did.
  3. ‘I Can’t Stop Me’ by Twice, is a song that literally makes you feel like you’re the main character in some sort of secret agent movie. It was another song I didn’t mean to hear but once I heard it I needed to hear it again. I wasn’t a fan of the group’s last song release but this one had me reeled back in.

Aina’s Monthly Playlist

Currently Reading: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Life Status: Growing slowly but surely.

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