“You don't want that one,” said the guy with the gloves. “She's, well, she's a crazy cat.”
I looked at the black ball of fur behind the wired door, catching a glint of yellow eyes as she shifted in her little cell. “Tssssst. Tsssssssst!” she hissed and lashed. Yeah, she was indeed a little bit crazy…but mostly just scared. And regardless, I knew that she was destined to be my crazy cat.
How We Found Each Other
How we ended up in that shelter looking at that cat is a little bit storied: Nate and I initially wanted to adopt sibling kittens and had found the cutest set of three orange tabbies online at the Humane Society near our apartment in West LA. Sadly, though, we arrived just in time to see a family adopting two of the cats, “Tom and Jerry,” and we were left with just one. He was friendly and cuddly, a bundle of personality, and we scooped him up and immediately named him Ulysses. I explained to the shelter manager that we were looking to adopt two or three kittens so they could grow up together, but there weren't any others available in the area. “There's a six-month-old female black cat they just took in at another county Humane Society,” he said, “But she's at the one in…East LA.” If you're from LA, you're probably familiar with the harshly drawn lines of each district (and the corresponding crime rates). Us West LA-ers typically didn't venture over into the other half of Los Angeles. Ever. I hear that things are slowly changing, but that's definitely how it was when we lived there.
But I really, really wanted Ulysses to have a friend. And I knew that my crazy cat was never going to find a home if we didn't take her. So that's how I found myself in the ghetto, watching the gloved man scoop up my frenzied ball of fur and plopping her into a little cardboard box, avoiding the gnashing teeth and lashing claws that emerged from the seams. “Good luck,” he muttered, rolling his eyes at me.
Back Home with My Crazy Cat
It was an adjustment. Ajax was deathly afraid of her own shadow for the longest time, and the people at the shelter said something about her being from an abusive environment. But with a lot of help from Ulysses and a little coaxing from Nate and I, she eventually found her place. She's always been a little skittish and I swear, she's dumb as a box of rocks. This cat is completely lost and beside herself if she winds up on the wrong side of the fence out back, and I once saw her fall off a stairway ledge and somehow manage to not land on her feet. Her favorite pastime is going out the front door, running immediately around to the back screen and meowing bewilderedly until we let her back in so she can do it all over again. She's like the anti-cat. But to the few people she gets close to, she's the sweetest and most loving animal in the world.
And that's how I found my crazy cat.