Namerovsky came to us on March 27, 2009. We had been thinking about getting a cat for a few weeks, going back and forth over whether or not we wanted the responsibility. I had called the shelter once to inquire about the procedure for bringing home a cat, and it sounded fairly straightforward. Call ahead, make an appointment, come see the cats. If you want one at the off-site adoption events, call ahead because they don't usually bring cats due to the difficulties of keeping them caged all day.
My 30th birthday was on March 28. Friday, March 27, we woke up and said, "Should we do it? Are we really going to do it?" "Let's go!" I answered.
We called the shelter adoption counselor and told her we'd be coming, but needed to stop off for supplies first.
We bought a small box of food, litter and a box, and, on a whim, a little glitter ball with a bell inside, and then headed off to the Jerusalem SPCA shelter in the industrial area of town.
The cat I had in mind was a graceful black or calico cat, a girl, undoubtedly. "But we're going with an open mind. We'll see what seems right, let the cat pick us as much as we pick it." Most important, much more than looks, was a friendly personality.
It was around both Purim and Passover - so the idea was to call a boy cat "Shunra" which is Aramaic for "the cat" or "Vashti" for a girl cat - the Purim queen who refuses to submit to the king.
The shelter had some cats in open areas. One immediately came up to us, a beautiful Oriental black cat with green eyes - a boy, but obviously a contender. I wandered the shelter as B.B. Av stood closer to the entrance. Then he called me. He had a tabby with a white underside curled up in his arms.
"Come try this on for size," he said. The little tabby-white guy reached out his paw unabashedly, and pulled my hand toward his head for petting. It was charming, but almost too much for me - too cutesy.
I left Av and went over to the other end of the shelter to talk to the adoption counselor. I leaned on a counter, and suddenly felt a little head nudge its way under my armpit from the back. It was tabby-and-white.
"Oh, you are persistent!" We went to the outdoor area of the shelter, and the same little cat followed. It became clear that he had picked us. A silly boy, tabby and white cat, estimated at 10 months of age, most likely from the kitten season of 2008. He was already neutered with a ticked ear, so we could take him immediately. Nothing was known about his history - he seemed far too friendly for a street cat, but too young to have been a surrender.
He got a flea treatment, we paid the fees, put him in a carrier, and drove home. We called him Shunra. He was quiet on the way home, meowing only at the very end. Curious.
The original plan had been "no cat on the furniture" but as soon as we opened the carrier at home, he jumped from one sofa back to the other, unstoppable. Then he curled up to nap with me. He smelled like a zoo (well, like an animal shelter), and got his first bath. He was rather unhappy about this, and sulked under the bed for a half hour. After a while, he began to meow furiously, but I couldn't understand what was wrong, and then he shat on the floor under the bed.
He was introduced to the litterbox, and never has had an accident since.
He had some health problems on arrival, worms and an upper respiratory infection, which only really settled down some six months later. Such is the life of a former garbage cat.
The name Shunra didn't stick. It was far too elegant and poetic for a cat that was quickly proving to be quite the clown. Soon, we were calling him "Namer" (pronounced with an A as in father, -er as in mare), which is the Hebrew word for "tiger." This lengthened to Namerovsky, as he had the personality of a tragicomic Dostoevsky character. For short, we call him "Nems."
Namerovsky lives with B.B. Av, a.k.a. Avi, who is a former Technion nerd and now a senior real time software engineer in Jerusalem and an MBA student. Originally hailing from the coastal city of Ashdod (ample parking everywhere), he is responsible for the cash flow that keeps Nems in organic food. He is a huge U2 fan and is trying to get his hair to look like Bono's. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to grab and "overlove" Namerovsky, which causes the cat to flee.
Namerovsky also lives with "his mistress" Sara, who is a Berkeley dropout who wishes she were a writer. She likes sailing and is very happy that Namerovsky may one day be her ship's cat, able to whip up the wind with his tail and predict storms. She used to be somewhat "anti-pet" until one small tabby and white cat stole her heart with his comedic antics, and she considers his adoption and vet fees the best money ever spent.
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