Sleeping in a field of flowers

I bought this dog bed that we’re going to pretend is a cat bed at the yard sale of a pet store owner in Marblehead who used it in her shop as a bed for the store’s dog. You’d expect a used dog bed to be a lot furrier, but it turns out the shop’s dog was a giant stuffed animal. The pillow was much poufier, so I replaced it with a more cat-friendly pillow in hopes of keeping my couch fur-free.

I paid five bucks for the bed, originally $115 from bowhausnyc, so I figure I saved $110. But at what cost? I worry Maple may get a complex from sleeping on a dog bed, but then she does make occasional barking noises and fetch things.

Yard sale finds

For just shy of $20, I snapped up two tops and a dress from a woman my size, herbs from a garden club sale (basil, thyme and chives), a stout owl figurine, and a miniature tin memento holder that’s meant to display a special trinket on the wall.

“I’m glad you understand that this is meant for something special,” the seller tells me as she hands me my change for the little display case. With that, the pressure is on. Nothing comes immediately to mind and I suspect the thing will sit in a corner until I’m able to decide what to display.

And then yesterday, I saw a chipmunk. I love chipmunks, their compact, striped bodies and puffy cheeks; what’s not to love? I recalled my childhood desire to have a pet chipmunk.

Aha.

I will capture a chipmunk and put him in the display case. The box is small, so I’d have to fold him in there, but it could work. Like a lepidopterist with his pinned butterflies, I will have my prized chipmunk, even if I have to jam him in there and close the door quickly.

My friend pointed out that the chipmunk would wither and die in there, but I don’t think we need to focus on that . . .

Maple moves in

Despite two nights of nightmares that I can only attribute to my fear about commitment to a creature for a lifetime, I call the animal shelter to let the foster coordinator know that I may not be returning Maple to the shelter at the appointed time. I may, in fact, be her forever home.

“You’re the second one this week to adopt her charge,” the woman tells me. “Another failed foster parent!”

I suspect they count on failed foster parents.

She’s a wee seven pounds, seven ounces, the size of a newborn, but much quieter. For four days, she doesn’t say a thing. Then, when it’s lights out and I put her in her room alone for the night as part of her recovery, she paws at the door and utters the meekest meow at the lowest possible decibel, a cute inquisitive squeak. I can’t bear it and let her into my room where she jumps on the bed and nestles by my head. And licks my face. And grooms my arms. And presses her tiny, wet nose ¬†into mine.

At the slightest toss or turn, she’s alert and interactive, sure it’s time to get up. I hide under the blanket from the assault of affection and try to sleep in utter stillness.

Maple arrives

I picked up my first foster feline this week, and I fear she may be my last.

She’s so adorable I may have to adopt her.

I tried calling her by her name, Angel, but it made me gag, so I promptly started calling her Maple. That’s the benefit of fostering a cat over a child. Kids don’t like it when you change their name.

Maple is a petite and mellow two-year-old that feels like an Angora rabbit. Her classic green eyes glisten in the light and her big paws sprout little tufts of fur, repeatedly kneading the air in a comforting move. This move also makes it look like she’s flexing her kitty biceps.

I'm small but mighty.

Recovering from being spayed and adjusting to her new environment, she still prefers the corner to the couch and actually likes her pet taxi, but she falls over in excitement at the prospect of being pet.

Her tortie long-haired look is gorgeous (already a biased momma), but I can’t become that woman who breezes into work in a layer of hair, trailed by a longer layer of hair, so I hit the store for a good brush. Do you have any idea how many brush varieties are out there and how much they resemble dog brushes and how long it takes me to come to the conclusion that they’re the same brush with different packaging? Fortunately, Maple loves the pin brush.

I take care to pick out the perfect a fuzzy mouse (dangly arms, whiskers), but she looks at me as if to say, Did you think I’d fall for that? And when I show her the pool of sunlight by the patio doors, certain that she’ll want to curl up there forever, she wanders away to huddle by the speaker, back in the corner, like a willing dunce.

Mostly, she stays in one room to feel secure, but we did watch a documentary the other evening (Exit Through the Gift Shop), and while I was hoping she would dig indie films as much as I do, she fell asleep. Looks like it’s back to the shelter for you, Maple.

OK, not really. We’re watching House now, and while she’s fallen asleep again, it’s in that quintessential curled-up-cat-ball with her paw resting on my arm, purring like the motor in a fish tank. Oh, and she just took a deep kitty sigh. I’m a goner.

I could be very comfortable here.

Today I become a foster mother . . .

to a furry feline. For a week, the animal shelter is entrusting a cat to my care as she recovers from surgery. Then she goes back to the shelter to be put up for adoption. Or if I become attached, I can steal her.

I’m a nervous mother and just realized I’m not at all prepared. So, after work, I’ll be hitting the store for food, litter, toys, and treats before I pick up Angel. Let’s hope the name is not ironic.

Hopes for the week:

that Angel can offer a new perspective on this week’s American Idol performances

she will whip up a nice salmon dinner for us

she will go willingly into the carrier when I return her next week and that I will not have to wrestle her to the ground with a blanket

Keep your paws crossed.