|You've probably seen this picture on twitter or facebook, but she's really hard to photograph...|
I've wanted a cat for ages and ages. I was a proper adult about the decision, which is remarkably unlike me. I made sure I can take her home with me if I move back to the UK. I scoped out pet sitting services for when we go on holiday. Husband got permission from our landlord, since we really don't want to lose our amazing apartment over a cat, no matter how cute.
I knew I wanted to use the LA City Shelter. I know that voluntary organisations run great programmes, but my hardcore liberal streak believes in utilising state run facilities. I want to support them because they really are the last line of defence. If everything else failed, these shelters would still be there taking in animals. Unfortunately, since LA is enormous, flat broke and over-run with unwanted pets, the city-run shelters put down 40% of the animals they receive.
I wanted a little kitten. I am at home most of the time, so I have the time and energy to put into training a kitten. I watched the number of kitten's available in the shelter dwindle right down, I was so worried there would be none left on Saturday morning. I made husband get up super early (I fed him waffles, so he forgave me...) so we could rush down to the West LA shelter. I had never actually been in an animal shelter, but the noise was STAGGERING. The dogs were all competing to out-shout each other. It was so loud you could hardly hear yourself think. As we walked in, the volunteers was putting the cats into travelling cases to take them to the local mall, where they have an adoption shop.
Joan was in one of these travelling cages. It was tiny, and she was thoroughly unimpressed about being in there. I had actually seen her before, in the store at the mall. She slept the whole time and didn't come out and say hello. I looked at all the cats, saying hello to the ones of were up for socialising. There was a teeny tiny kitten, only 10 weeks old. But I already knew I wanted Joan. I kept coming back to her, with her grumpy lime green eyes and big bushy tail. I managed to persuade the volunteer to let me hold her before they left for the mall, even though they were already late. He was the most cheerful volunteer ever, chatting away about his cat, travelling and generally how awesome Joan was, which was blindingly obvious. I knew I wanted her.
She is not a kitten, but a proper grown-up lady (well, she's 3...) She's exceptionally well behaved. She doesn't jump up on the counters, or knock things over or drink out of your water glass. When we eat our dinner, she goes and eats hers. She is super cuddly. Her favourite place to be is sandwiched in between husband and I in a space that didn't exist before. She takes up 90% of the sofa and we get to sit on the edges. She doesn't like to be left alone. Ever. She follows us to the bathroom. She likes to play for 5 minutes, then wants to go back to sitting on the sofa. We are very similar in this respect. She is definitely a Joan. When we got her from the shelter, they had named her Felicia. She is not a Felicia. Everyone in the shelter agreed it was a terrible name (the receptionist hated it with a rather bizarre passion.) I doubt many of them will be fans of Joan, but it suits her to a T.