A few weeks ago, I was standing in the kitchen taking my first sip of coffee and looking out the kitchen window. After I swallowed my delicious coffee, I uttered ‘Son of a bitch.’ Holly said, ‘What?’, and then looked out the window and said, ‘Awww crap.’ What were we bitching about? Outside our window was a little calico kitten sitting on the window ledge.
Having just nursed Monkey back to health and spending a fortune in the process, the idea of having to take care of another cat was not something either of us were looking for. We already have 4 indoor cats and a new puppy. The integration process seems to be never ending and throwing a new kitten into the mix just makes me cringe.
I went outside to check on this little kitten and saw that he/she had some worms but otherwise seemed healthy. It looked like none of the other cats on our block and our house backs up to a pasture, so I couldn’t imagine where this cat came from. I went and bought a small bag of kitten chow and the kitten just gobbled it up. Clearly it was hungry. What were we going to do?
We couldn’t bring the kitten in, yet we couldn’t ignore the cat and not try to take care of it in some way. I suggested that we take it to the vet and get the basics taken care of and that we leave it as an outside cat. Holly seemed OK with this idea, although she had some reservations because we have coyotes and hawks that could see this cat as a nice and tasty treat. Deep down she wanted to bring it inside, but knew that she couldn’t.
I took the kitten to the vet a few days later and they said that the cat was female and then asked what her name was. I said it was Tumini, pronounced ‘too many’, since we already had too many pets as it was. They gave her a shot, a de-worming pill and some other stuff. When I asked how old she was, they said about 6 months. I was shocked. The is kitten was so tiny, I would have never guessed that she was almost full grown. They said that we could get her fixed now, but given the financial impact of Monkey’s treatment, we would wait for a later date.
On Halloween, all of our neighbors were outside so we asked around and no one knew who’s cat it was. Everyone else was feeding Tumini as well and when they found out we were feeding her, they were happy to know that they could stop. I tried to suggest to all our neighbors they they could take her in, but none seemed interested. All the inns were full. When Holly heard what I was doing, she said ‘Why are you trying to give our cat away?’ Our? I didn’t know that Tumini was our cat now. She explained that her name is now Tumini Ashby, according to the vet, and why would we want to give our namesake away? Oh for pete’s sake. 😛
Later, our next door neighbor, Judy came by and we picked up the cat conversation that the rest of had had earlier. Where’d this cat come from, is it your cat, that sort of thing. Judy then got a look on her face and said she had a confession to make. She had been in Birmingham and going to a restaurant when she saw this cat. There were no houses around and clearly no one was taking care of her, so she brought the kitten home with her. Once home, Tumini did not like being inside and made quite the fuss. In addition, her other cat Monkey Doo, didn’t get along with the kitten at all. Giving up, Judy let the cat live outside, but she said that Tumini really didn’t want to have anything to do with her and didn’t even hang out on her deck. She apologized for unleashing another cat in the neighborhood that needed care, but she didn’t know what else to do.
So the mystery of how Tumini came to our house has been solved, and now she is part of our daily routines. In the morning after walking Gracie, I put a little food out on the window ledge in a bowl and she now greets me on the deck like clockwork. At night we leave the garage door open just a crack and she sleeps in the garage. One morning, when waking early to work on my bike, I found where she likes to sleep. She found a box with some bicycling clothes in it and has made that her bed. It’s right next to the water heater so I think it’s a good, warm place to sleep. She is so tiny and such a sweet cat, we’re glad that she calls us home.
And I though we were pushing it with “only” 3 cats!
You know, if there’s a no-kill shelter in your area, you could try contacting them and seeing if they could find Tumini a home – if she’s not too feral to be socialized. Outdoor cats have on average a much shorter lifespan than indoor ones.
The SF SPCA is really good at that sort of thing but they’re a bit too far for you….
Forgot to add – at the very least, see if one of the area shelters can do a free or low cost spay/neuter for you. At 6 months, Tumini is old enough to go into heat, and you really don’t want to have to deal with her getting preggo on you.
All good points Rachel, thanks.
Tumini is definitely ours now. I don’t think Holly would let the neighbors take her, much less a shelter.
For now she’s living in the garage, but after she’s fixed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Holly started pressuring me to bring her inside. 🙂