I found a kitten last weekend. It was the night of Kristen’s wedding (who is a good friend from college), and no one had been designated to bring the presents home. Half of us were bushed, having stayed up until 3am decorating the hall the night before. I was the half that did not decorate, and was (mostly) awake. So Aseneth and I drove the presents to Kristen’s and had the neighbor let us in to put them carefully on her living room carpet in all their silvery glory. Then we all three stood in the driveway and talked. Then I took Aseneth home. Then I drove home myself. By the time I stood on my front porch with the key in my hand, trying to get the thing into the lock, I was pretty bushed myself. It was after midnight.
And then there was this noise. High pitched, and repeating. It took me a second to realize that the noise was coming from a cat, and that the sound was shrill and frightened. I wondered how Amy or Annie had gotten out – we’re usually so careful – and stepped up to the bushes to grab the problem child. No cream and brown cats presented themselves. Instead, there was a little black lump of fur tucked behind the umbrella plant. I bent down and she came to me. Her face was spotted cream and orange. Not a calico, but as if a black tabby had been rubbed off in spots to reveal the marmalade underneath. Her eyes were orange.
There wasn’t anything else to do. I picked her up and brought her inside. She weighed almost nothing, and she snuggled to my chest and began to purr. She wasn’t crying anymore.
I closed the door with a clatter behind me, one arm still cradling the kitten.
“Is that you?” Brian called from upstairs, his voice thick with sleep.
“Yes, there’s a kitten on our doorstep,” I said.
But he didn’t get up. He probably fell back to sleep, and I wondered if he would even remember that I had found a kitten the next morning. So there I was, alone with a furball and no idea what to do with it. Brian is the cat person. Heck, Brian is the reasonable person.
She had stopped meowing by now. What does one do with a kitten found at midnight on the porch? Amy and Annie were already tucked in their room upstairs for the night so we didn’t have to worry about them. I sat on the kitchen floor and let the bit of fluff prance around with her tail in the air while eyeing the top of the cabinets. I took my shoes off. I petted her. I asked her what she would like me to do with her. She didn’t answer, but instead tried to jump onto the top of the cabinets and failed.
Eventually I decided on the downstairs bathroom. I could put some towels in there and if she peed all over the place we could clean it up pretty easily. The only litterbox was in the room the other cats were inhabiting.
I left her in the kitchen when I went upstairs to grab some towels. I could hear her crying again, so I hurried back. She had wedged herself, cowering, into the crook underneath the cabinets. I was gone about 10 seconds.
“What are you doing?” I asked her. “You’re fine, silly.”
She stopped crying pranced right out to me again, tail waving.
I put the towels, some water, and the cat into the bathroom. She curled right up on the blue towel in a tiny black and orange lump. She purred, and her head began to nod. I closed the door when she fell asleep and then went to bed myself. I worried about her all night long, in a strange house after a traumatic night in the bushes.
Brian and I went to the store Saturday morning and bought a second litterbox and some kitten food. We fed her, watched her play with the Christmas bows I dug out of the wrapping paper box, and laughed at her gumby, falling over ways. I have known many kittens and there is always something a little sadistic about them, but there is nothing like that about this gal. She mostly just wants cuddles. She bit my shirt yesterday, contemplatively, and then looked up at me with those big orange eyes.
We named her Jennyanydots, for her spotted coat and her gumbyness. But also because she stretches her little legs out behind her like a dancer sometimes for no rhyme or reason. Whether we claim T.S. Elliot or Cats the musical, it all works. I did not have a hard time imagining her tap dancing with the cockroaches once we all go to bed. I’m head over heels for her.
The only catch is the other cats. They were here first. If they don’t get along, then Miss Anydots will be seeking a home. We plan to introduce them all tonight and I am crossing my fingers that it goes well. I think giving her up might break my heart.