Adopting my Kids… I Mean Cats, Part One

Welcome to the world of my two precious cutie-patooties, Dunkin and Isabel. They are the cutest and sweetest cats on the planet. I know some of you cat lovers out there might think yours are cuter and sweeter, but you'd be wrong. You will just have to trust me on that. I've had them tested by the Cute Police and they are officially certified as the best, though I lost the certificate.

So their stories… Dunkin first, Isabel tomorrow…

About 4 years ago an ex-boyfriend who was dreadfully allergic to cats called me. You can imagine the dread I felt when I saw his name appear on my cell since it had been quite some time since we talked, but being a nice person I answered anyway. He had quite a story to tell. He had been driving on a back road from his place to the grocery store and had seen various combinations of two kittens and a mama playing on the side of the road over the course of a week. They appeared to be living in the tire well of a tractor trailer being parked there in between road trips. My ex, being a very smart person and despite his gut-level objection to anything feline, knew that this was not good because (1) tractor trailers move eventually, and (2) roads and cats are not a good combination.

So about day 4 of seeing them, he decided, for some reason I still cannot fathom, to try and catch them so he could… what… move them? Give them to the SPCA? Got me… There was no way he was going to keep them, though. The mere thought of cats sent him into uncontrollable itching and sneezing.

So he gets out of his car and starts calling them. One kitten came right to him purring, the other kitten and mama ran away and hid. My ex tried for a while to get all three but eventually gave up and settled for rescuing the one. I get the call that night and hear this story and despite the residual hurt and anger from the end of our relationship, agreed to meet him in a Wal-Mart parking lot to check out the kitty.

At this point he was only asking for advice, not being a cat person he wasn't sure if the kitten was ok since it was yowling and howling and scratching and spitting. And, in fact, I could hear quite the ruckus in the background. It was pretty funny. The revengeful side of my brain was hoping, just a little, that one of those wayward claws might find his leg. Ha ha, just kidding. No, not really.

So, we meet up in the parking lot. Me, bitter and grumbly but trying to be gracious and nice. Him,

freaked out by the wild ball of fur beating the crap out of the cardboard box he had confined the kitten in. I have to admit I was very impressed by the energy and ferocity of this little guy. He definitely had an amazing will to live and was fighting with everything in him to make sure he did. I got in the ex's car and talked to him for a while until he calmed down a bit then slowly opened the box. He came out like the Tasmanian Devil! A rocket blur of black and white making really lovely vocalizations and tearing around the car like a bat out of hell. Fantastic!

When he eventually calmed down, I picked him up to check him out and he seemed ok to me. The ex and I talked for a while about what to do with him. The ex, clearly, couldn't keep him. I was NOT going to offer up my services that easily, even though I had already fallen for the little pookie fur ball, so I kept the discussion on problem solving and strategizing options for a while. heh heh. Eventually, though, as I'm sure he knew I would, I caved and agreed to take the kitten home with me. I'm sure there was never really any doubt in his mind that I would and he was just playing along until I decided to cooperate.

He was such a tiny little thing. So unbelievably personable and curious.I called him Munchkin for a while which eventually became Dunkin, like Dunkin Donuts. Munchkin… Dunkin Donuts… Get it?

At the time I was living in an apartment in the basement of my landlords' home way out in the country on a farm. The landlords had a no pets clause in the lease, so I had to hide Dunkin. That was not difficult though, because I was already in the habit of hiding from my crazy zealot landlady anyway. Dunkin thought each and every thing he encountered was put on the planet to be his friend. He approached everything (people, other cats, insects, cows) with no fear, only open curiosity. A few years later this also translated into deer, ground hogs, and bears, but that's another story… Dunkin had such an eagerness when meeting others that I knew I would eventually get him a companion. That'll be the next story…

The end of this story is rather sad, so stop reading if you are tender-hearted. My ex, to his credit, kept going back to see if he could catch the other kitten and the mama. But, sadly, within a week he found first the mama dead after being hit by a car, then the other kitten. It was very sad and he felt really guilty. But he did everything he could, even taking cans of tuna out there as bait.

We say that Dunkin really saved himself. Seeing the difference between how Dunkin handled the situation of a stranger suddenly appearing and calling him versus how his mother and sister did, it's easy to see that will to live or that open curiosity shining through strong from him. It's quite remarkable that at such a young age he went right to my ex and allowed himself to be picked up and taken away from his family. Of course, he probably had no idea that was to be the outcome, but THANK GOD it was!

Dunkin is now 4 years old, and a big strong cat. He still looks at the world with an openness that I find to be remarkable and I call him my buddha-kitty. Perhaps my favorite thing about him is this black spot on his otherwise white chest right where his heart is. To me, it looks like he wears his heart out where the whole world can see it. And he does. He's the best kitty ever.

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