Friday, October 30, 2015

Princess Zelda

Hi there.

I've gotten out of the habit of writing. There's been a lot going on, but I haven't really been motivated to write about any of it. But this morning I'm feelin' it. Maybe it's the morning coffee shop atmosphere. Maybe it's the episodes of Jane the Virgin I've been watching on Netflix (she writes on her laptop a lot). Maybe I just need a creative outlet! Whatever the reason, I'm ready to write again.

The only thing is, I don't know what to write about. I guess I could just start with reader requests (aka my family's requests). :)

By far the most frequent request is for updates about our kitten, Zelda. Most people who read this blog probably already know about her, but let me tell you her story anyway.

Zelda came to us (or maybe was sent to us?) mid-May. She was just a tiny little thing that had crawled up inside the body of our neighbor's car, and we helped to get her out (which took a few hours). We offered to take her since the neighbor's daughter is allergic to cats.

That first night...

That first day/night she was really scared - hissing, spitting, and trying to bite us. I was a little worried that she was too wild to become a house cat, especially after she cried all night long (locked up in the bathroom). But on Day 2 she let us touch her, and she even purred a little, so we took her to our vet to find out if she was healthy and find out how old she was.

our little schmutz-ball

The vet estimated that she was about 6 weeks old (although now they think she was more like 8 weeks), and she seemed really healthy! They took blood for an FIV test (we didn't want her to mix with our cats until we knew she didn't have FIV) and sent us home.

Well, we were very disappointed the next day to receive a call with the news that her test had come back positive. FIV, like HIV, cannot be cured, and it could spread to our healthy cats through a bite. Ted and I worried and read articles and testimonials online about healthy cats living with FIV+ cats. We didn't want to put our other two babies at risk, but we were quickly becoming attached to this tiny ball of fluff. We kept the cats separated except for monitored interactions, and finally we decided that we were going to keep the kitten. I mean, could you have said no?

All the while we had been trying to think of a name... She needed something special, something that represented her wild spirit and her journey to us (we think she crawled up into our neighbor's car somewhere else in Oxford and rode home with them). One day, I was listening to a story on NPR about F. Scott Fitzgerald when his wife, Zelda, was mentioned. The name caught my attention immediately - it reminded me of the 1980s Nintendo game, The Legend of Zelda. This kitten was certainly becoming a legend in our household, and the name seemed to fit:
Though [Princess Zelda] is the eponymous character, her story role is often that of... damsel in distress... Many Zelda games adopt the classic princess-and-dragon premise of chivalric literature: Zelda is usually kidnapped or imprisoned by Ganon, prompting Link to come to her rescue. Some games in the series have also emphasized Zelda's magical abilities and importance to the functioning of Hyrule, demonstrating that she is more than capable of taking care of herself. (from Wikipedia, emphasis added - I know, I know. I tell my students not to use Wikipedia, but it is a quick way to get information...)
"Damsel in distress"... "rescue"... "more than capable of taking care of herself"... It all fits.

May 17, 2015

Zelda has been with us for 5 months and is now 7 months old (we estimate). It took a while for Minnie and Milo to accept her - there was a lot of hissing and swatting in those early weeks - but now we seem to function as a 3-cat family with no issues. Well, there is one issue. All three cats have different foods, but trying to get each cat to only eat from their designated bowl is like, well, herding cats. The house can feel like a circus sometimes - especially when we have guests and the cats get overexcited - but we wouldn't have it any other way.

June 1, 2015

Oh, I should mention that we had Zelda retested for FIV one month after her initial blood draw, and this time the results came back negative. So Zelda doesn't have FIV after all! Our vet explained that if a pregnant cat has FIV, the kittens can be born with FIV antibodies in their system. Since the blood test measures antibodies, kittens can get a false positive in the early months. We were so relieved! I let Zelda make the announcement to our family:

June 27, 2105

I'll write more about Zelda in future posts, but for now I'll just leave you with a current photo of our little one (not so little any more!):

Zelda and Minnie
October 28, 2015

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