Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pet photos with Santa

We took the cats today for "Pet Photos with Santa", a fundraiser by the Fredericton SPCA in cooperation with local garden center and all-around good corporate citizens Green Village.

We've been doing this now for too many years for us to remember. Not since Veronica was a kitten (she's 11 now), but certainly for 7 or 8 years. Every year, we're completely astonished at how utterly sanguine the cats are. The place is chaotic - dozens of volunteers millilng around, dozens of other folks there for photos with large (and small) dogs, cats, ferrets, lizards, rodents, and you name it. Cats (due to their nature not being very good at this kind of thing) seem to be in relatively short supply, and all the SPCA volunteers demand to see them and talk to them in - and out - of their carriers.

Everyone tells us how well-socialized our cats are. They're completely comfortable with the vet, with the SPCA volunteers, with all the animals at the Photos with Santa. Yet these are pretty much the only times they're exposed to strangers. Our home is very quiet. We don't entertain at home (although we're sociable people). The cats aren't exposed to strangers (except on a very rare basis), dogs, other cats (also on a very rare basis), or kids. Yet nothing - nothing - seems to faze them.

We're kind of at a loss to explain it. Neither had a great start in life - Veronica was found in a box on the side of the road by a truck driver - most of her litter siblings were already dead. She was mobile and apparently coming and going from the box. For her first year with us, she would start the day by sticking her nose under ours. We wondered if she was checking to see if we were still breathing. Mojo was part of a litter left on the doorstep of the SPCA, so he had a somewhat less traumatic start to life.

Their vet said to Mojo once, while he was interacting with her joyously, "You can't imagine that anyone in the world would want to do you harm, can you?"

Maybe that's it. It'd be nice to think that's it.




Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Oh, I think that is it. I think they -- maybe we -- come pre-programmed to trust, and only learn otherwise through experience.

I didn't know about Veronica's and Mojo's origins with you; I have a better insight, I think, to each of them for it.

Since moving to Ft. Harrington, we have had (counts on fingers) eight cats sharing our quarters, and their comfort levels with people and animals outside have been vastly different, and all across the board, from Guinness's complete, serene acceptance of anything and anybody to the Black Freighter's Defcon 5 high alert.

I'd like to say that Veronica's and Mojo's happy socialization is clearly due to you... but I think it's more likely due to them, and however it is that they have internalized the concept of otherness... if that doesn't sound too much like something our Fonzie would be credited with saying!

3:47 a.m.  
Anonymous Sister said...

I would imagine that it's a little of both. As you said, sis, it's odd for an animal...any animal, especially one that is generally -not- social, like a cat, to take so quickly to strange things, but the time I came to stay, I was amazed at how easily they took to me. Mojo is, and always will be, Mojo. He's full of life, love, and completely innocent. Veronica may have learned to take things easy simply -because- of her hard start in life. Although I -did- learn something you might find interesting - and touching. A cat-lover friend of mine told me that Veronica's nose-to-nose greeting is a cat "hello" that is usually only reserved for relationships such as mate-to-mate, kitten-parent, or in rare cases, simply "friends". If Veronica nosed you guys when you first took her in, it was her way of saying, "I love you guys."

8:01 p.m.  

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