All right, enough people have asked why *this* kitty and what the heck we are doing.....so here you go.
We visited the cat sanctuary at Torre Argentina twice. It was on my places to see, if we had the time and inclination. Located only a few blocks away from the Pantheon, it was pretty easy to get to. We wandered around the outside of the sunken ruins, checking out the dozens of cats that we could see, then made our way to the secluded underground corner that is the actual sanctuary.
There were cats and cats and cats galore. Every color, every breed, every size and every disability. Totally blind cats, very elderly cats, three-legged cats. A cat with a severe neurological disorder. Cats healing from multiple fractures. Cats, cats, cats.
Ethan and I hung out in the locked, indoor-only area for cats not deemed safe to go outside. We pet numerous kitties who sensed we were good for a head scratch. We noticed one teeny black kitty walking by the large sliding glass door/window area who looked so nervous and skittish, he totally reminded us of our own Boo kitty. He walked along and bumped his shoulder into something then looked around all frantically, trying to figure out what touched him. He very shortly realized it was a cat bed, and went about his business, finally settling into the 4-5 inch wide area running between the two layers of glass in the door. Ethan and I were there for an hour or so, talking with the volunteers about different cats, and giving out some love. We both left the sanctuary feeling inspired by the work that they do, and very happy that we had gone there.
That night, we talked a bit about the sanctuary, and the little scaredy cat who so reminded us of Boo.
The next day at lunch, we again talked about that kitty. He was *so* much like Boo!! The exact mannerisms. It reminded me again of the day I adopted Boo. Our other cat, Sahab had just died, and we really wanted Shadow to have another cat to grow up with. Since it wasn't kitten season (February), I looked for a cat that was as close to kitten age as I could. I found a shelter that rescues cats and places them in various PetCo stores for adoption. There were two black kitties in a cage in the middle of the store. Not tucked away in a corner with some privacy--smack dab in the center of the store, in an intersection between the main aisles. I played with the cats for a bit (biological brothers), then took the sweet, fun one and walked to the front of the store to finalize his adoption. As I neared the register, I stopped, then turned back.
The cat I left behind was the nervous, panicky one who tried to squeeze himself into the corner when I went to pet him. He was terrified of all the noises and movements and environment he found himself in. I knew that the sweet, friendly cat would be adopted. This nervous one might not, and I couldn't imagine leaving him there in that cage. So I put the sweet cat back, and picked up Boo.
When I got him home, I took off his collar (since he is inside only, I see no need to wear a collar). The hair on his neck was all rubbed off because it was on too tight and no one bothered to look at it. He also did not seem to know how to jump. He would literally climb up onto the couch or off of it, but couldn't figure out jumping. Anyone who knows the Boo kitty today knows that he is extremely athletic. His current favorite place to hang out is on the pot shelves area by our kitchen. I put a blanket/bed up there for him, since it is the one place Shadow cannot bug him (Shadow can't make that jump to get up there)
Anyway. We *rescued* Boo. I was at the front of the store with his brother, then turned back, because BOO needed us. We didn't just adopt him, we removed him from an environment that was scaring the crap out of him. He is happy here.
We feel the same way about little Frank Sinatra. He will thrive in an environment like our house, with few visitors, tons of nooks and crannies to hide in and feel safe, and only 2 other cats to deal with. I am confident that Shadow and Boo will get along great with him. It may take a minute for Shadow, but once he sees that the new cat is not a dominant cat and is happy for Shadow to be the king/boss/grand poobah, all will be well.
We talked and talked about this cat over our lunch, and decided to make it back to the shelter again, to put out some feelers for adoption. We went back, and I spent quite a while petting little Frank Sinatra. He was hiding in a (clean) covered litter box, taking a nap in an enclosed area where he felt safe. After a sniff of my outstretched hand, he was quite happy to have me pet him, but was NOT interested in being picked up. Not ready for that. The shelter staff told us that he is in the inside-only area because he is too scared to go outside. He was found as a kitten with a severe herpes related cold. Nursed to health in the home of a volunteer/foster care provider, then returned to the sanctuary.
So, why Rome??? Why *this* cat??? Well, he would be a great talking point as a Roman souvenir, to be sure. A spendy one, though--so that is not it. He needs us. It is funny, because I have been pretty open in the past about the fact that I liked Shadow more than I liked Boo. But when we found a cat that we MUST have....it is one like Boo. And now that we are home, Boo is ever so much more special to me. It is one thing to have a pet that you love and that loves you, but it is so special to have a pet that you really feel that you rescued; that you provided a better life for than he might otherwise have had.
The shelter volunteers are very happy to have someone interested in adopting Frank Sinatra. His disposition does not make him very adoptable, and they have several hundred other cats already to care for. They are helping us to work out the details to get him from point A to point B.
We would not have adopted any other cat than this one. Two is enough. But we will make an exception for little Frank Sinatra.