Entered the Family: July 1999
Adopted From: Meow, Inc.
Favorite Things: People feet, dog tails, eating toilet paper fresh off the roll.
Quote: "Who, me?"
He came into our home almost by mistake. I'd gone up to the adoption center not to find a new cat, but needing to cuddle something small and furry. I missed Fox too much to even think of getting a new kitten just then... but sometimes, fate decides to make its presence felt.
There he was. Screaming at the top of his kitten lungs, reaching out from the bars of his cage, a little black fur-thing with an exceptionally assertive personality. He reached out of his cage, grabbed my fingers, and pulled them through, proceeding to give me a tongue-bath.
"Watch that one," the shelter lady warned. "He's a frisky fella." But the moment I opened his cage, this "frisky fella" sat bolt upright in the palm of my hand, looked about the room, then settled back against me and began to purr.
And I knew, somehow, that perhaps he was the one.
I let the decision sit for a while, and then, one evening about a week later, brought my boyfriend up to see him. My Man was skeptical, but supportive.
"You shouldn't get another orange tabby." he said.
"This one is black." I said.
"How are we going to tell him apart from Ian?" he protested.
"This one's smaller." I said.
"He'll grow." warned my Man.
"And he's got a little white locket on his chest." I said. My Man grunted, unconvinced.
"I want to be able to tell them apart from behind." he said.
"We'll make them wear different colored collars." I said, starting to feel for all the world like the mother of twins.
So we went in, and I forced myself to walk among the cages... cages FULL of kittens, including some exceptionally beautiful calicos and tabbies who almost won our hearts... but time and again we kept coming back to the cage where a little black cat sat alone, and looking at each other.
"Well," said my Man. "He is the friendliest of the bunch. The most outgoing."
"You think?" I asked.
"Yeah." he said.
And the little black kitten came home.
His name had been Java, at the shelter... a name which neither of us cared for particularly. And so... the naming began. Loki? Trouble? Luck? Shadow? Dozens of names grew into a list the likes of which T.S. Eliot would have cringed at. And finally, growing bored... "Jonathan. William. Walter. Alex."
My Man grinned. "Alex."
"It's so bland, it's perfect. Alex."
"You're sure? Not Loki?" I was personally pulling for Loki.
So Alex it was... Alex, sometimes Alexopolis, sometimes Catboy. He's become my closest companion, the brave hunter of insects and feet under the blanket, lapwarmer as I sit before the computer, resident acrobat swooping up and down the cat-shelves and balancing precariously on ledge and bookcase. He's learned how to wake me up in the morning by butting his small, wet nose under my arm and purring like a Harley at full throttle, or by gently extending a velvet paw to pat a sleeping human's cheek.
Ian the Elder took his own sweet time to adjust to his presence. Even now, when intercat relations have blossomed into sudden, frantic games of cat-wresting-tag and affectionate bouts of mutual ear washing, has moments when he seems quite irritated with the world at large that such a rambunctious bundle of fuzz even exists. Still, the hissing and growling have been dispensed with - and Ian has been known to sneak a live mouse into the apartment in order to teach his protege how to hunt it properly. (Too bad for him that I, being no fan of mouse carnage, inevitably catch and release the quarry first!)
Alex does, however, get on famously with the resident dog, whom he sees as a combination littermate/chew toy, batting furiously at the wagging tail, stalking poor Quentin from all angles, and swooping down upon him like the quarterback of an all-star football team. Quentin sighs, looks much put-upon, but bears all patiently. For his part, Alex seems to be imitating the dog, eating when he eats, drinking when he drinks, and we even found them curled up together once.