Monday, August 1, 2011

Kitten Kapers

The story begins on a hot August night in the year 2000, when a sickly kitten, filthy with matted fur  and covered with fleas, entered into our lives and into our hearts.

My niece Stephanie, then 17, and her boyfriend had returned from a college class, and were saying their goodbyes as I was preparing to leave for my work on the grave yard shift. A few moments later the boyfriend returned in a very excited state. He told Stephanie about a frightened kitten  loudly mewing near his car in the carport. Together they went to investigate and Stephanie returned with the distressed kitten cupped in her hands.

“Barbie, can we keep him?”

I was worried about how Emma, our two year old “only child" cat, would deal with a new addition to the family, so did not commit to a decision at that time, but felt it was urgent to attend to the poor little critter.  I sped to the corner store for cat milk and shampoo.

 Stephanie bathed the kitten; trying to purge fleas that were teaming all over his face and belly. How pathetic he looked. But after he was dried off and his belly was full of milk, he looked rather content.

I went  on to work,  but in the wee hours of the morning, Stephanie called in melodramatic tears of frustration, because Emma was not dealing well with having the strange creature in the same room. I instructed Stephanie to make a bed for the kitten in her bathroom and to close the door. Still, no one slept, as the kitten cried and Emma fussed.

The next day, I informed Stephanie  that as a result of Emma's agitation, we could not keep the cat and told her to print out and put up "free kitten" fliers in the apartment complex.

Before I went to bed, I placed the tiny critter in a small shoe box for a visit with the veterinarian. It was determined that the little guy was about 5 weeks old and had an upper respiratory infection. Medication was prescribed to help him get well.   By the time the vet visit was completed I'd bonded with the baby and decided to keep him. I returned home and tore down all the posters that Stephanie had spent time constructing and posting.

I wanted to name him after Stephanie’s then boyfriend who had found the kitten, but Stephanie did not like the name “Jimmy”, so we decided on Dusty. (That name is perfect –for he is the biggest contributor to the massive collection of dust on my Pergo floors)

Because of Emma’s distaste of the new creature, he stayed behind closed doors in my bathroom with food, water, toys and a litter box. I worked at night, and was going to school during the day, so had little time to spend with the new kitten.
 We did let him out when someone was available to supervise, but he stayed in that  small room till he was a bit bigger and able to fend for himself.

His little kitten antics were fun to watch and he would antagonize Emma and she would bully him. Sometimes they would play nice

When he was about a year old, he was greatly traumatized when he fell out of my second story bedroom window and broke his tail.
I wrote a Faithwriter's challenge story detailing the event, but changed the names of the participants.

As he grew, his wild animal instincts surfaced and at times, would attack me. Unfortunately, I did not effectively discipline  the behavior and he was occasionally abusive to me. That behavior has continued into adulthood.

 (Read about it here :  )

I even wrote a tongue-in cheek FaithWriters Challenge about him, but later realized that there is nothing funny about domestic abuse.

I am attuned to his cues now, so know when to re-direct to prevent attacks and he and Emma stay away from each other in a mutual disrespect.

I really love this kitty, and for the most part, he is very cute, and entertaining. I have no intention of getting rid of him and since no else lives with me, I'm not risking a possible attack on someone. (When company does come, he hides in the bedroom.)

It's been eleven years now and  my niece has grown up and moved away, but the cats are still around. They are a lot of company, even when they misbehave I will enjoy them for as long as I can; even if one of them tends to be a ferocious beast!


  1. I'm so glad the kitty got a great home. It's funny how attached we get to these little balls of fur, even when they should come with an "attack cat" warning! I enjoyed your "K" story!

  2. There is something about kittens that steals your heart. I know. I have two that arrived one day and kept because I couldn't find homes for them. I'm glad now.

  3. Broke his tail? Poor Dusty... So glad you gave him a home. Pets are so fun to have around.

  4. I enjoyed your story about Dusty! Pets sure are wonderful additions to our homes...even those who have "issues" are special blessings.

  5. What cat lover could resist a precious kitten like this one. Your little "beasts" are blessed to live such a protected and loving lifestyle :)

  6. Awww, beautiful kitty. We have a stray who adopted us and he and my cat still don't get along great, though they finally tolerate each other.

  7. I've always been a dog-lover, cat-hater, but I had much the same story when a precocious little abandoned kitty found its way into my home. What is it about those little pieces of fluff that get us so attached?

  8. Ohhh, I'm so glad that the kitty found a good home with you. I loved the pics--so adorable. As a fellow rescue cat owner--I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing your feline friend! ^_^

  9. This makes me think of my grandmother and my aunts who were/are HUGE cat lovers. Good memories! Thank you.

  10. What a sweet kitty. SO glad you gave him a home!

  11. Your little foundling kitten grew up into a beautiful cat! He looks almost like a bobcat or a lynx in the face.
    We had an orange marmalade tabby whose tail got stomped on by a deer, crushed all the bones. It had to be amputated. After that vet trip, we had to wear welder's gloves and heavy coats to get him to the vet!

  12. I love the pictures and the story! I wish every pet had an owner like you.

  13. Nice story & pictures. Its been years since I had a cat...always loved the ones I had.


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