Last Saturday we made it official: We agreed to adopt little Miss Penelope from Heartland Animal Shelter. We returned to the shelter to decide if we would adopt beautiful Cinnamon, a 7-year-old rotund but sweet girl who needs to be the only cat in a home or adorable Tazzi, a tuxedo (black-and-white) girl who is a little younger but also very sweet. Just before returning to the shelter, we agreed to give Miss Penelope another look. It had been hard to tell much about her earlier because she was confined to her cage. She had not yet had a rabies shot, and she was recovering from the spaying procedure—and giving birth to 6 kittens. We were allowed to put our hands in the cage and could tell that she was gentle and welcoming, but we hadn’t seen her moving about or interacting with the other cats. She’s three years old and weighs 7 pounds. According to her shelter profile, “she never met a human she didn’t like.”
We took a leap of faith and chose her. We were to pick her up the next week, and yesterday (Thursday, July 31) we arrived at the shelter to meet with the adoption counselor and take Penelope home. (We’re dropping the “Miss.” Penelope itself is four syllables long…no need for a fifth.) It was a pleasant experience, but the only time I’ve signed my name or initials more times was when we refinanced our mortgage!
When I asked about helpful hints for keeping the fully clawed cat from destroying our furniture, the counselor mentioned keeping her claws trimmed. She suggested we watch her do that and learn how to do it ourselves. That’s when she retrieved Penelope and brought us all into another room. She methodically clipped each of the cat’s claws, and Penelope did not budge—nor complain. We knew then that she would be an easy-going pet.
After the adoption process, we brought her home and put her in the safe room that we had created (our first floor powder room, equipped with litter box, food and water bowls, a box with a cutout that she could hide in if she needed to, and toys). The shelter had given us the small blanket that she used in her cage because it had her scent on it and would relax her.
She was in there about a half-hour. When my husband carefully opened the door to check on her, she bounded out and started exploring her new territory. She stopped every now and then to rub against us and get petted. When we went upstairs, she did too. In fact, she made herself at home on our bed. (See photo.) And she slept with us all night. Correction: She slept most of the night and spent the rest of the time mewing and walking all over us, but the good news is that she’s comfortable with us.
She’s also perfectly at home clawing at our upholstered furniture. Since we’ve made the decision not to declaw (so far), we will be training her to use the scratching post and pads and we’ll put deterrents on our furniture. Penelope also has very long legs—something we didn’t see while she was in her cage, which means she can leap even higher to land on our countertops. Gentle training will be needed.
Will Penelope contribute to this blog like her predecessor did? Stay tuned.