Isis the cat. Named after the Egyptian goddess and not the terrorist group as my sister likes to say
2020 has been a real gut punch as the family has lost another 4-legged member. That's 2 this year, read about Montana here, and 3 in the last 8 months. We adopted all of them around the same time and while they offered so much joy while they were here, it has been rather difficult to say goodbye to them all so close together.
This one is especially hard as Isis was my baby. All my animals are super spoiled, but Isis was the Queen Bee when it came to attention. I'm having a difficult time writing this so I don't come across as completely insane, but with Isis, I kinda was completely insane. My wife used to joke that one day I would have Isis in a carry-on bag and travel around the world while both of us wore matching bedazzled t-shirts. She was the perfect buddy.
Like all Sphynx cats, she was quite the personality. They aren't like any other cat. They are a mix of cats, dogs, and monkeys. They are super curious, very loyal, very loving, and while they don't mind hanging by themselves, they will eventually hunt down a human for snuggles and love. They don't care if you like cats, because they know that they can win you over.
I have a hard time remembering a time where Isis wasn't there, she was such a big part of the family. And when I go back and look at the pictures when she first arrived, I'm shocked at how old my son is and where we were in life as a family. I end up always thinking, "I could have sworn we had her before that."
And so with this post, I'm going to share the process of getting her. A story I enjoy telling and my poor friends and family have heard many, many times.
Isis's story for my family begins in a McDonald's. It was an Elementary School fundraiser and Dawn (my wife) and I were discussing nothing in particular as we waited for the kiddo to finish hanging with his friends. At this time we had 2 cats, Brick and Mr. Pickles, and a dog, Montana. We also had a little extra money and Dawn out of the blue asked me if I wanted to use the money on a pet I've always wanted. The choice was between a bulldog and a Sphynx. At the time, I couldn't imagine having 2 dogs (which is funny to think now since we have 2 very active huskies) and jumped at the chance to get a hairless kitty.
It just so happened there was a Sphynx up for adoption on Petfinders.com. She was one of a dozen or so cats rescued from a basement breeder. From what we gathered from the rescuers, the cats were stacked in cages and rarely taken out. Isis was a couple of years old when someone finally went in and shut down the operation. The animals were taken by fosters and then put on the adoption site.
Isis was in Nebraska and ready to adopt. However, Isis had developed a bad upper respiratory infection and had some vet bills that needed to be handled. So the foster had 3 stipulations: adopter paid for the vet bills, you had to write an essay to show why your house was the best house for Isis to go to, and she had to be picked up. I wish I still had that essay but that was a few computers ago and it was lost in the shuffle of life.
The foster accepted my essay, saying our big dog was one of the reasons since they also had big dogs and Isis loved them. Dawn and I hopped on a plane and flew to Omaha and waited for them to show up with the cat. Side note, I've had one of the best Philly cheesesteaks ever at the Omaha airport - easily top 3. I was super nervous and excited. I couldn't wait to meet this naked cat.
They arrived with her in a carrier and we went to a spot off to the side to exchange her into our carrier and get any last-minute stuff needed to complete the trade. They told us that she was sick with an upset stomach and in fact, had just had gone to the bathroom right before they got to the airport. Not something you want to hear when you know you have a few hours wait in an airport before getting on a flight that was also going to take a few hours. I was excited so I kept it together. They reached into the bag and pulled her out. Immediately I thought, "Oh God this is a mistake. They are giving us a dying cat."
They held out a severely underweight pink and purplish colored thing that had exaggeratedly long limbs and a tail with a broken tip. She may have made her customary chirps and meows to say hello but I heard nothing as I took the "cat" from the lady's extended arms. I held her close, assuming she was cold since she wore only a collar. She snuggled close and purred, and I was hooked. Maybe she would expire the second we got home, but she was coming back with us no matter what.
Thank God, nothing happened on the plane ride. She slept the whole time and the only issue was when the flight attendant asked me to put her bag under the seat during landing. I wanted to keep holding her and instead asked if that was an option. That was not an option until he found out I had a Sphynx. He was excited to meet one in person and decided to let me keep her on my lap. All while Dawn stared daggers at me since she knew we really should have put her under the seat.
Now I'd be lying if I said it was an easy transition for the animals but Isis took to the humans with no problem. I'd guess it was a few weeks before the cats and dog accepted her as another cat and not some alien hybrid. When she wasn't in her bed, many times she might be in our bed or our son's bed so Dawn had Isis wear a bell so we wouldn't squish her. After a few months, the bell was retired as everyone got used to the little naked beast popping up where you least expected. She gained some weight, got healthy, but always had that annoying respiratory issue that popped up frequently. She was a big part of the family for 12 years.
I can tell you without hesitation I made the right choice at McDonald's that day in selecting a Sphynx. She was the perfect cat to watch TV, read, or nap with. And while I can't imagine life without a naked cat running around it's going to take some time to find another one as perfect as Isis.
I wanted to share a few more pictures and a video so you can see how they "talk". One of Isis's funny habits was to sleep like a person. She would crawl into bed and lay her head on a pillow and be snug under the blankets. She also had blankets and cloth sacks throughout the house to get into so she could stay warm. On sunny days, which we get a lot in Texas, she would stretch out and soak up the rays. The Post-lady often would stop by and see Isis through the glass door getting her sun on.
Dawn's favorite picture. Isis loved to watch the birds.
Isis and Montana getting some sun.
The gang...(left to right) Ms. Peanut, Mr. Pickles, Isis, and Brick
And while I rarely talk to babies with a "baby" voice, I almost always spoke to Isis with one...