This is all about stress. Our cat has bald legs, because he is stressed. That is what the vet told my husband when he took the cat to the vet a couple of months ago. He had been losing the hair on his legs. The cat, not my husband. First I thought it was some weird allergy, or maybe he was wearing it off because he is an outdoor cat and spends a lot of time making his way through undergrowth. But actually the vet said he is stressed. My husband had told the vet that we had to put our old cat to sleep a while ago and the vet explained that Sampson (stressed out bald cat) had been used to having another cat around for his entire life. My husband also told the vet that Sampson and Nelly were never the closest comrads. In fact, Nelly hated him a lot of the time. They never curled up together or groomed each other. She ruled with an iron fist (paw). The vet said it didn't matter the nature of the relationship, it was just the presence of another cat.
|A bald patch on his back leg|
So, we finally decided we should look for a new friend. We went to an animal shelter in a town close by. There were unsuitable candidates for a variety of reasons. I really felt sorry for the ones that we left behind. The girl who was working there told us that they really all do get adopted eventually. I asked about the chunky messed up tabby with the ears damaged from frostbite. She said that there are people who actually like the quirky ones and that he, too, will likely get adopted. There was one spunky little orange guy that my husband thought might be o.k., in the end, there was no moment where we knew we had found "the one".
Then, this morning we went to different place (also a shelter). This place had a "cat room" where the cats roamed freely and you could interact with them and see what they were like a little better than the first place. We met a few tortoise shell cats who, although they were very pretty, did not have the easy going personality they would need if they were going to be a new friend. There was one large grey and white who simply couldn't leave my husband and son alone. He was so demanding of attention that he would lick, and then bite, their fingers. So he failed that test. I will not having a biting cat. There was also a black and white fellow who was quite affectionate, played with the fake mouse, and seemed pretty laid back. But again, there just wasn't that moment of "we have to have this one!!"
But there was something that happened at this particular shelter. I'm still weirded out by it. There was one individual, mostly white with some greyish tabby type splotched on its head. The lady who was telling us about the cats (who volunteers her time - thank you kind lady) referenced that one by saying, "Well, it's a cabbit". Pardon? What did you call it? And she went on to say it was a cross between a cat and a rabbit and it is called a cabbit.
I'm going to let you ponder that for a moment.....
So, this little animal had a definite cat face and cat body, but no tail and it sat in a funny way, but it was FRIENDLY. It kept coming up to us, even went on it haunches and tapped at our legs with its front paws. It was called "Jack".
I couldn't let this go, and said to the lady that it sounded like some kind of urban myth like a jackalope. She insisted it was real and that it was rescued from her property. Even her two jack russels shied away from it. Now, I looked at this little beastie with aversion and curiosity. I perceived it as a little mutant. Unfortunately, I just couldn't warm up to it because I thought the whole thing was freaky. My son, however, thought it was really cool.
In the end, we did not leave that shelter with a cat (or cabbit) either. When we got home, I googled the mysterious cabbit and indeed, it is a myth. Perhaps it is just some misnamed or evolved Manx. But animals of completely different species cannot mate and reproduce. (Dogs and wolves, both canines, for example, could. But not rabbits and cats).
We are still going to keep looking. If I am being truthful with myself, I think I want a younger cat. Not one that is already 3 or 4 years old with bad habits to break. I would rescue a kitten. We do not intend to go to a breeder or anything like that, but undoubtedly with spring around the corner (though you wouldn't know it with today's wintry weather and snow on the ground) there will be more cats to choose from.
I just hope whatever friend we choose, that Sampson will eventually like it. He's a pretty laid back cool cat. But he is older now and maybe he won't take kindly to an infiltrator. Maybe it will cause him more stress and pretty soon he will be completely bald. (Then we can tell people he is a cross between a cat and a naked mole rat).