Meet Charlotte

We’ve noticed over the past few months that Sam has been very….clingy…..at night…. Maybe it’s old age, maybe he misses Edie…who knows… But it got to the point where Brooke was wondering whether Sam needed a new friend. He’s also over 15 years old now, so while he could easily be with us for another 10 years (which is crazy to think about), Brooke thought that getting another cat now would give them enough time for Sam to “rub off” a bit on a new arrival.

She poked around the Humane Society’s website to look at what our options were. Since the pandemic took hold (or maybe before?), they have had cats in host homes where the foster “parent” can post about the cat’s personality quirks, how they deal with other animals and children, etc. It’s a much better system than having them locked in a cage where you really don’t get a good sense of what they’re actually like.

We drove to Columbia last Saturday to meet “Caramel Corn.” Granted, it’s been a long time since we had a young cat in the house, but dang she’s tiny compared to Sam! She seemed friendly enough and let Brooke and Calvin hold her, so that was a good start. We chatted a bit with the foster parent and then we were on our way!

“Caramel Corn” yowled in the car for most of the ride home. After awhile, she would close her eyes and pretend she wasn’t in the car…then she’d open her eyes again and start yowling again… So yeah, not a car rider.

Once we got her inside, Sam was sleeping on the couch, so we set the carrier down in view of him. At first, he didn’t really know what to think until he realized what was in the box….

There was quite a bit of hissing initially. For that first day, they avoided each other as best they could. Sam mostly stayed on the main floor, while “Caramel Corn” stayed downstairs in the basement. It was a struggle to get her upstairs! The litter box is down there, so it was fine, but with all the stuff down there, it’s tough to find her when she doesn’t want to be found! There was one point where we wondered if she escaped through some small hole to the outside of the house, but eventually we found her.

The next day, she wandered around a little bit more than before. Ate some of her food (Sam keeps going after it….we haven’t solved that problem just yet….). Used the litter box as she’s supposed to. But she still hung out down in the basement quite a bit! She liked playing with the cave crickets that are plaguing the basement at present.

Early that evening though, she came upstairs for some water, so I shut the door behind her so she had to stay upstairs and “socialize” a bit with her new family. She opened up quite a bit! She was still hesitant to hop up on the couch with us while we were watching TV, but she would walk past frequently and slow down enough for us to give her ear a scratch.

That second day, we still had much discussion about a name. We were looking for “old lady names,” as Edie was short for “Edith Anne,” and we think giving human names to our pets has been fun. One idea was “Max,” short for “Maxine.” Calvin wanted to keep calling her “Carmel,” but the rest of us weren’t down with that idea….

Eventually, Brooke came up with “Charlotte.” We don’t have a good short version of it yet, but perhaps we’ll settle on something after she gets used to the name.

The week has largely progressed with social improvements between the cats. Charlotte has been sleeping on the velvet bench at night, and sleeping on the couch when she doesn’t mind the kids petting her. She also uses the cat scratching stand!!! Sam never uses that thing!!

Speaking of which, Sam and Charlotte still aren’t quite “friendly” yet, but it’s to the point where Sam can walk past Charlotte on the couch while she’s sleeping, and she doesn’t swipe at him or wake up startled. There are other times, though, when Sam is on the table while we’re eating dinner and his tail dangles down below….down to a waiting Charlotte who is happy to start pawing at it. That usually doesn’t go as well….

Charlotte is fitting right in! We’re going to declaw her, which is something we didn’t do for Sam. To be fair, 15 years ago, we didn’t have “real furniture” that we wanted to protect from claws. If we’re going to have another cat for another 20 years…..we’d like to keep our nice couch looking that way….

She’s a sweetie! Looking forward to watching her grow!

Edith Ann Linsenbardt: ca. 2000 – 2017

We got Edie in early February, 2007 from the Humane Society in St. Louis.  We got Sam, our cat, about a year and a half before that and had a good experience with him, but being a cat, he didn’t really go outside much. We had just moved to a neighborhood in St. Louis called Soulard – a place with more sidewalks and yards available than we had in our apartment complex in Affton.

Brooke and I weren’t sure what exactly we were looking for in a dog (though if you want to read my thoughts on the subject on the day we got her, there’s a post for you…).  The dog we found was a small beagle, housed in the “puppy” room of the Humane Society, so they tried to charge us extra for a “puppy” they claimed was 5 years old.  With all the grey in her coat, I placed her at least a year older than that, but what do I know…

Back in 2013

Edie has been a good dog.  We went on lots of walks in Soulard, where she found more than a few turkey legs on the ground to carry around after Mardi Gras.  She’d carry home rawhide bones from Pets in the City, as passers by would smile at the 13″ beagle carrying a bone far too large for her. She didn’t like many other dogs and would get anxious around them.  She did pretty well with dogs bigger than her, but for dogs smaller, she’d try to exert her dominance and fight with them a bit more.

Iowa, 2010

In Soulard, Edie had to be on a leash, though in those early days, she also had a pretty strong case of separation anxiety.  There were a few occasions where she tore down screen doors in Hannibal and Columbia trying to get to us.  Another time, she tore through a metal dog kennel that used to hold my family’s cocker spaniel, Pepper.

By the time we moved to Iowa in 2010, however, we were in a more rural area where we could leave Edie loose more of the time.  Every once and awhile, we wouldn’t be able to find her for an hour or so, but she’d ultimately find her way home.  She also enjoyed walking among the chickens, while they mostly ignored her.

Marshall, 2014

Edie was never really “the kids'” dog, as we had her before Meg was born in 2010, but she’s always been gentle to young hands.  Even in her old age, Meg and Calvin’s cousin, Rowan, can sit next to her and tug on her ear slightly, barely eliciting a response.  Meg and Calvin have loved Edie, too, helping to give her water when she needed it, and eventually would take her outside on a leash (once they were tall enough and strong enough to do it).

In 2011

Recent years have been less kind to this aging pup.  For most of this year, she hasn’t had much control over her urination, causing me to get up once a night just to take her out, let alone me.  It’s gotten bad enough now that she doesn’t know where she is in the house, so she just goes wherever she wants to.  She’s been blind and deaf for at least a year now, though the problem has gotten progressively worse, as she now walks directly into walls regularly, not just after she wakes up and is still a bit groggy. She still eats and drinks water, but there are many occasions where it’s difficult to get her to stand up, let alone walk outside, causing me to carry her out.  She can go up a step or two, but stairs have been a problem for years.  I can’t remember the last time she was up on the couch, so jumping remains difficult for her.

We’re sad to see her go, but we gave her as good a life as we could and we hope she’s enjoyed her time with us, in her own way.  She was never a particularly “active” dog, but she was always sweet and happy to have a pat on the head.

Rest well, Edie.  We love you and will miss you terribly.