We are picking Toby up at the shelter today, as he's been discharged from isolation.
Here is his description on the shelter web site:
"Hard to get a good photo of a cat constantly in motion, as Toby was when I met him. A group of students from Smith College had come to meet the cats and he was showing off in the Cat Room (OK, so he had a little help with a douse of catnip). As you can see, he was quite intent on a catnip mouse and quite the ham for his audience. Toby, despite his kittenish antics, is a 5 yr old male, all black, found as a stray. Toby loves to be around people and is a fun and active cat, called 'a charmer' by one of his admirers. What the photo lacks in clarity it makes up for in action! "
As I wrote earlier, I was pulled toward his picture, and so was the samurai. When we went down to see him a week ago Sunday, he was nowhere to be found. We thought maybe he'd been adopted since I saw him on the web... but it turned out he was in isolation. We were told he' developed an upper respiratory infection, common in shelter cats. An initial round of antibiotics had not cleared it up, so they were going to send him back to the vet for a reevaluation. We looked through the window of the isolation room and saw a big black lunk, head turned away from us, lethargic and depressed. We were told to call back Wednesday for an update.
On Wednesday, Justin, one of the shelter staff, answered the phone. He said they now suspected Toby had feline herpes, which I'd never heard of . . . He likened it to the virus that causes cold sores. Some people get the virus, get sick once, and are never sick again. Others get cold sores when they are exposed to some sort of stress. And it can be contagious. Toby had been sneezing at lot, and had an eye discharge.
My first thought was worrying about exposing Stella to a virus. Justin noted that 50-80% of cats, esp. strays, are exposed to this virus as kittens, (Stella was a stray; we adopted her at about six months of age from this same shelter.)
Anyway, Jason suggested we call back again later in the week to see what had developed.
When I relayed this to my samurai, I thought she'd back off and want to protect Stella. But she calmly said Toby was still worth considering. I went online to try to find more info about feline herpes.
On Thursday, Justin said they were now "extremely certain" it was feline herpes. They'd ruled out two other conditions and had started him on a lysien (spelling undoubtably wrong by yours truly) supplement. He was still in isolation. (Remember, we still haven't actually "met" this cat.) Justin repeated what he'd said Wednesday -- he really, really wanted to get Toby out of isolation, because the stress of it was surely prolonging this herpes episode, but he had to keep him in there . . . it was a vicious cycle.
I did some more research on feline herpes. Then on Friday, when the samurai came home sick from school, we were sitting on the deck eating lunch and started talking about Toby again. I decided to do a rune casting. I ended up doing two. The first asked about the general consequences if we brought Toby here, and the second about the consequences for Stella. I can't rememver the specifics. I know one was about "ambition satisfied, love fulfiled, and sharing your good fortune with others."Also the rune for Partnership. And in both, different runes each suggested a need now to not be bound by old conditioning and old authority (for me, being ultra-cautious, worrying and analyzing to death), but to trust the Light. I picked up the phone, Justin was there, and he said Toby was improving, but still in isolation. However, he would bend the rules and let us into the isolation room if we wanted to meet Toby.
By now, the school day was over. Hoping no one from her school would see us, samurai and I went down to the shelter.
Our old cat Cato was named for the Japanese houseboy in the Pink Panther series who is expected to attack his master at unexpected times -- and does so at inappropriate times, prompting the cry, "Not now, Cato!" Our Cato was kind of like that.
If Cato was a Karate Kid, Toby is a Sumo Wrestler. He is enormous! Rolls and rolls of fat... he weighs 20 pounds and needs to be put on a diet. He gained two pounds while in isolation because he ate so much (as some depressed humans do). I'm not quite sure how we're going to accomplish this, given we will be feeding two cats.
Wish me luck.