Friday, May 22, 2009

Just when I thought I was a dog person...

We discovered this little munchkin under our shed.

I had noticed Cooper barking at the shed a few times yesterday afternoon but barely paid attention because I knew we'd had baby bunnies back there and I figured he had just seen another one. But then last night our neighbor's shih tzu was going crazy digging at the fence behind our shed and she went back to check it out. She came over and asked David if he knew there was a cat under our shed.

I was in the bedroom sorting and folding laundry and watching Gossip Girl -- er, I mean, an educational program on PBS -- when David came in and told me there was a "baby cat" under the shed. I said "You mean a kitten?"

So, armed with a flashlight we decided to go check it out, thinking that maybe there was a mama cat and a bunch of kittens back there.

But no. There was just one little, scrawny, dirty kitten all by itself. I tried to lure it out playing with a piece of grass but it was too cautious. David was convinced that it was feral and would shred his hand if he reached under the shed to grab it. I thought that was stupid but he was inside the fence and I was outside the fence in the neighbor's yard where I couldn't really reach the kitten. Plus I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. So I went inside, put on a long-sleeved shirt, and decided to bust out a can of wild salmon to lure the kitten from its hiding place.

Just as I was grabbing the can opener, David came up on the deck with the tiny kitten in his hand -- he had reached under the deck and although it hissed at him, it was basically too terrified and maybe too weak to move. I scooped it up in a handtowel and it just cowered in my arms. It wasn't crying or mewing or anything. It just sat there and stared. David went up to the grocery store and came back with canned food and the kitten ate a little bit and then I held her some more and finally she mewed one tiny little meow and then started purring.

I grew up with cats and I used to be a cat person. My favorite cat was Frances, who was a stray from across the street I named after reading the entire Baby Name Book and discovering that Frances meant "free." Frances had kittens in our garage and we returned her and all the kittens to the neighbor across the street. But Frances kept coming back even when my mom tossed water in her face to make her go home. Then she had kittens in our laundry room and after that my mom got her fixed and Frances was ours for good. She was not the prettiest cat. She was black but not especially sleek or shiny. She had a small head and a big lumpy body. She wasn't especially snuggly and she didn't have a loud purr or any other particularly endearing characteristics. She slept with me but often liked to sleep in awkward places -- like on my neck -- or do weird things like lick my hair. She also liked to lick sweaty feet. But she was my cat and I really loved her.

I really loved all the cats we had when I was a kid -- Ebenezer was there when I was a baby and was always a grouch to me but I loved him anyway. Posey a barnyard calico rescued from the farm. She had a bald spot on her back, a cute yellow stripe on her nose, and a weird attitude -- she would purr while you petted her and then suddenly without warning turn around and bite your hand.

Frances and Posey were around the longest, but over the years we also had Felix, a beautiful black cat, Chuck, a big orange and white cat, and Oliver, a sweet gray and white kitten.

My junior year of college Frances died and Chuck died and then my mom got two new cats who were siblings from the same litter and both weird as hell. Burt and Ernie. It was about this same time that I realized that growing up with cats had sort of made me immune to them but now that I didn't live with them, I had mad allergies whenever I visited my parents. Itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing. It was a total bummer. Also, I was devastated to lose Frances and after that, Bert and Ernie didn't do much to win my favor. I try to like them, but they are needy and neurotic cats with a destructive streak in regard to furniture and flip flops. Ernie in particular seems to have a compulsion with kneading and clawing flip flops until he completely destroys them which seriously pisses me off (I have lost 2 pairs of flip flops to that freak). In FACT I discovered some claw marks in the inside soles of my patent leather flats from the last time I was home. I attribute this habit to his sexual frustration but that doesn't make it any less infuriating. Honestly (and no offense, Mom) Ernie and Bert kind of got me over my love for cats. I mean, I appreciate cats in general. I think they're pretty. I think they should be treated kindly. And I realize that certain cats are definitely more likeable than others -- for example, Keya's cat Caliban, totally delightful and so is Amanda and Dan's kitten Jinx.

So it's not to say that I don't like cats. But I was content not to have one. Cooper and Mac had pretty much won me over to the dogs. Until this poor, starving, exhausted little kitten ate a few bites of cat food and then curled up on my lap and started purring. I had really almost forgotten how sweet that is and I don't know why more animals don't close their eyes and vibrate gently when they are content. It is so charming.
[kitty next to cell phone for size comparison]

I don't know what we're going to do with her -- I haven't named her yet because I don't think keeping her is a possibility. We have a small house, two obnoxious dogs, and no place to put a litter box. But she is the sweetest thing so I have to figure something out.

Now that she has eaten, she has more energy and after breakfast this morning when I put her back in the laundry basket she slept in all night she climbed right out. All she wants to do is be held and her purr gets louder and louder. We are keeping her out in the garage -- I'm not sure how to do the litter box thing... I just put one out there and I keep putting her in there periodically thinking she'll figure it out. I've made her a little bed out of towels and she was stilled curled up on it the last time we checked on her.

So... I'm starting to remember why I used to love cats and this little one is really winning me over. Cat lovers -- If you know anyone who can provide a loving home for a sweet little kitten, PLEASE let me know. I wish we could keep her and I keep imagining ways we might make it work... but I just don't think it will be feasible. So I will be VERY particular about her placement. But I am open to interviewing candidates.

1 comment:

  1. omg you HAVE to keep her and name her Mango. you HAVE to! sometimes a kitty chooses you. that's just how it is. :)