This week we got a cat! I’ve wanted to get a cat for so long now… Rasmus and I both grew up with dogs and cats, and we agreed a cat would be nice for us.
Where I grew up in the US animal shelters were always overflowing with cats, and the shelters were desperate to find them homes… you just had to walk in, sign some papers, and pick the one you wanted! In Norway, there are hardly any stray animals and so animals shelters barely exist. I contacted several re-homing agencies, but none of them even got back to me! Rasmus suggested that I post an ad on FINN (“Find”, their version of a nice CraigsList). I did that, and within a few days someone had contacted me saying she had a cat that fit the description I was looking for, which needed re-homing due to the woman’s allergies. I wanted a long haired, adult, indoor, female cat (basically like the cat I grew up with!).
I spoke to the woman via messages, and agreed to come meet the cat to see if it was a match. Rasmus said the town was about an hour away, but that it would be fine for us to get there. On Tuesday night we went to the pet shop and picked up some goodies for the cat just in case we did take her the next day- toys, bowls, a collar, a scratching tree, and a litter box.
After work on Wednesday I took a 45 minutes train to meet Rasmus at his office. One of his colleagues, Øyvind, who is a good friend of ours, loaned us his car. We plugged the address into the GPS…. and then oops, it was actually a 2 hour drive! Regardless we were excited to meet this new cat. I texted the phone number given to me to give them a heads up about our timing, and it was the wrong number! I panicked a bit, thinking I’d taken Rasmus on a “wild goose chase” into the middle of nowhere for a cat that didn’t exist. I quickly emailed the woman, and luckily she responded and gave me a new correct number.
We drove for two hours through the lush tress of the Norwegian forest, past lakes, farms, and beautiful country houses into the middle of Norway. Because it is turning to spring here it was still as bright as the middle of the day even at 7pm. It was a truly picturesque drive.
As we neared the address given to us, we were coming out of a heavily forested area into more of a meadow, when suddenly there was a gas station, a row of town homes, and a cluster of structures that seemed like apartments above a restaurant? Somewhere in here, I hoped, was our future cat. We couldn’t find the house number, so I called the phone, and a man picked up. This was a bit of a surprise since I’d been corresponding with what I thought was a woman (oh the woes of the internet!). He told us to park near a the big snow pile. I quickly texted a friend of mine from work who knew I was going to get the cat and sent her the address. She responded, “ok I’m giving you 30 minutes, if I don’t hear back I’m calling the police!.” Perfect.
We met a young man outside the buildings and he escorted us up a wooden spiral staircase. I had a weird feeling in my gut, and was sort of praying “Please there be a cat up there, please there be a cat up there!”, I was getting a bit scared that I’d gotten Rasmus and myself into a terrible situation. But sure enough, he opened the door and there stood a little older woman! The one I’d been speaking to previously. Her English wasn’t very good she explained, and that’s why she had her son do the talking on the phone and sent him to greet us. Phew.
The big fluffy cat came skipping around the corner, meowing and playing with the woman. They didn’t invite us all of the way in, but we’re very friendly. We stood at the front door for about 5 minutes, trying to interact with the cat to get a feel for her. We had pre-planned code words for “yes let’s take her” and for “no way, no how”. We asked them questions about her personality, health status, behavior, and such (some of which she had answered via email, but just to double check). It was getting a bit odd standing there so I just said, “Well, Ok, we like her…. we’ll take her!.” And that was it. The son loaded her up into the little crate that our friend Magnus had loaned us, and off we went with a bag of her food.
As we got outside she started meowing, a lot! I talked to her in the car, explaining exactly what was going on and she settled down. I told her about our apartment, and how she’ll have such nice things and be loved. Then she curled up in a ball (inside the crate, which was on my lap), and stared out the window for the rest of the 2 hour ride. When we got back to Øyvind’s house we expected he would drop us off at the train station so we could get back to Oslo, but he offered to drive us the whole way! Another thirty minutes from there to the city. So kind of him.
When we got home, it was 11pm. We unloaded the cat, and she ran around the house exploring every corner. We put out some food, and went right to bed. We decided to leave the doors open so she could explore everything, and feel welcome. Within 20 minutes of being in bed I felt the sensation that something was near me, she had quietly climbed onto the bed and onto my head! She did this 3 times, which was totally fine, except I didn’t really know her yet or know what she was up to! She ended up sitting in the living room and crying for hours. At some point I heard a noise beside me, she had chewed through my iphone charger cord! I panicked and unplugged all the cords in the apartment. Moments later she threw up under the bed and Rasmus got up and had to move the entire bed to reach it. Also her nails were so long she was getting caught in anything fabric and panicking to get off. She had a rough first night. I ended up “sleeping” on the sofa because it seemed to calm her a bit, but she still meowed until 5am. At 5am I decided I’d just get up for work.
All day at work on Thursday I was worried about her being home. But luckily Rasmus was attending a conference near our place during the day, and checked on her at lunch; he said she was totally fine, and under the sofa. When I got home Rasmus was there and so was his cat owning friend Magnus! Magnus is great with animals, and even brought over his cat nail trimmers and did her nails (he also gave us two sprays, one for places she should go, and one for places she shouldn’t such as my iphone charger!). This was amazing. Since having her nails trimmed she has calmed down 100%.
Over the last few days she has come to be the most lovable, sweet, cuddly, and kind cat. She is quite big because she is a Norwegian forest cat, and has very long whiskers, very long hair in her ears and under her paws, and has the most unique coat with long thicker hairs on the outside and super soft angora like fur underneath. She is very talkative, and is so nice. She loves to “massage” the sheepskins on our sofa, curl up preferably on our stomachs, lay on the heated tile floor in the shower, and she she has been sleeping through the night. She also loves the sink and sits on there while we brush our teeth and when I put makeup on. We officially named her “Essie”, elegant and sweet. I can’t wait to share more about her 🙂 <3