I still miss Felix, but the two young cats who have now taken his place in our home are a great delight. A few weeks after adopting Magic from the SPCA, I agreed to foster little Leo for the Lonely Miaow. As soon as the two kittens set eyes on each other they started playing-fighting, and bonded so closely together that I decided to adopt Leo myself.
They are both happy, healthy and friendly but otherwise quite different in appearance and temperament. Magic, the black and white female with gold spots, is now around nine months old. She is a small cat, quick and graceful in movement, full of energy, a keen hunter and seems totally without fear. Leo the male tabby, though probably three months younger, is already bigger and heavier than Magic. He is a placid, cuddly cat with a very loud purr.
I wonder how much their differences in personality are due to genetics, and how much to environment. Being rescue cats, I presume they both suffered some adversity in early kittenhood, but I don’t have detailed knowledge of their backgrounds.
“Don’t get another cat that looks like Felix,” people told me. “You’ll only keep comparing them.” Sound advice, perhaps, but I decided to ignore it.
During my last volunteer shift at the SPCA I met a distressed young couple carrying a cardboard box. They told me it contained a live kitten who had been found, along with some dead ones, in the bush near their home in the country. I escorted them to the hospital block, where the box was opened to reveal a beautiful black and white Felix look-alike. Being assessed as a three-month-old male, this kitten must have been born around the same date when Felix died. Not that I believe in feline reincarnation, but it seemed like the hand of fate. I immediately applied to adopt him if and when he was ready to go to a new home, and decided to call him “Magic”.
An anxious wait followed. He had to spend a statutory seven days in the holding area in case an owner came forward. During this period there was a significant risk he would develop symptoms of cat flu or some other health problem. On the eighth day he would be microchipped and desexed, and hopefully be ready for adoption the day after.
Medically all went well, but when I rang to arrange the pick-up I learned that not only had Magic’s black and white coat developed ginger streaks, but that “he” had turned out to be a “she”.
It was a big shock. I was reminded of the scene in the film Carousel where Gordon McRae’s character realises that his unborn child might be a daughter instead of a son.
But like the man in the film I came to terms with the situation, and went ahead with the adoption. With her ginger streaks and feisty nature, Magic is not much like Felix at all. But she is a sweet, lively and affectionate kitten who has settled into our household right away and I hope will bring us love and joy for many years to come.