One Rainy Night

Gamin Davis, Arkansas, United States

My current kitty appeared in my side yard not long after my husband’s cat had died of lymphoma—he said I could pick the next cat, and we were discussing my preference for a white kitten (his cat had been black, and I hadn’t adopted a kitten since the beginning of our marriage). I heard crying in our side yard one night and went out in my pajamas in the pouring rain to find, yes, a white kitten, face-down in the grass and mewing. I knew we had a cat colony back behind our backyard; I was familiar with the adult cats and knew who the mother had to be—there was only one female who kept getting pregnant all the time, and she was sitting back in the corner of the yard, ignoring/avoiding the kitten. I waited some distance away to see if she would approach if I stayed back, but she just sat there, disinterested. The kitten had been crying for almost half an hour, so I went out with my umbrella, gathered her up in my arms and took her inside, where my husband was waiting with a towel. We wrapped her up in it, dried her off, and that first night, I just kept her wrapped in the towel, carrying her around, because I figured she was cold as well as initially wet. The next day, my husband went out and got some kitten-feeding supplies and I began bottle-feeding the cutie, eventually identifying her gender, then weaning her off the bottle onto dry food and setting up a little litter-box in front of the sofa for her to poop in, showing her how to use it; I trained her to go there automatically after she ate and periodically bathed her (warm water wash cloth with her sitting in a big bowl), because she was a sloppy eater when she started trying wet food. She’s been slow to bond because of her feral background, but now in her 4th year, she’s learning to snuggle me when I lie down beside her for her “regular petting station” on the edge of the sofa. She is now a beautiful, purry and actually *overweight* kitty, and I have her on a diet–not a lap cat, but slowly learning to be more affectionate. I don’t ever think she’ll be as snuggly and empathetic as other cats I’ve had because of her feral background; she hates being picked up, but she seems to enjoy tummy-rubs. We’re still in the bonding process. I do think I made a mistake by making her sleep in her bed rather than on me–always before when I’ve done that, the bonding process goes much faster, but with her I was somehow afraid to.