About two months ago, my daughter brought home 2 kittens from the playground.
They were tiny, scrawny, flea-ridden. The tri-colored one was bigger and seemed to have more spirit in her, but the white and ginger one barely moved.
My kid excitedly showed me her finds while my husband looked at me with his arms across his chest, half defeated. I checked out the kittens, examined them, and gave him a wide-eyed look of my own: what is this??!
My husband is the original cat lover in the family, but doesn’t think much of animals anymore since we had a kid. When we moved to Paranaque, he vehemently opposed the idea of us taking in any more cats. My cat, Smeagol, is a grumpy senior that likes his space and sheds a lot for a shorthaired, and so this arrangement was observed in our home until that day.
Children found the two kittens in the playground. The older girl wanted to take one home, but my husband later found out that maybe she wasn’t ready to take care of another kitten yet after recently losing a pet cat. The children were just there, petting the kittens, playing with them. The day passed, it was beginning to get dark, and the children started to go home one by one.
My husband did his utmost to discourage Akira from taking the kittens home. He told her the mama cat must be nearby and is looking for them (no sign of her), they will be fine and can take care of themselves (not true), she will have to take care of the kittens herself (she said okay).
In the end, J told me that he caved in and found himself dumbfounded when Akira said, “but daddy if we don’t take them home they will die.” That was it. We just witnessed a 3-year old’s first genuine act of compassion, and there was no way we could let her down.
Other than the fleas, they didn’t seem sick or injured. We kept them together in a cage, and would let them out to play and explore for some time, but made sure they would be caged again at night.
They soon learned to use the litter box. Their bellies began to get more rounded as they started to become more playful and energetic. The dog started to get used to their presence too, and they let him sniff and get close without hissing. We took them to the vet for a checkup and for deworming. They were estimated to be a month old when we took them in. They were pretty behaved.
After a month or so, we didn’t cage them anymore because they would always be in the garage. J said they’re not allowed inside, but I would let them in sometimes so Aki can play with them. I was also hoping Smeagol would get used to them somewhat as well, but after a sniff he’d let out a feisty meyowr and go somewhere else.
The kittens were growing well and getting nicely filled out. They love Cosi Pet’s Milk, vitamin paste, and white bread.
Our daughter named her new babies. The calico one is Dora, and the white and ginger one is Catter. When asked “why Catter” she would say “because she’s a cat”.
She made good on her new responsibility to take care of the kittens, and would feed them morning and night if she was home. She totally embraced her mama cat role and would scream at the kittens to wait and not eat each others food.
Between the two of them, J and I agreed that Catter probably would not have made it if they weren’t rescued. Dora was more quick on her feet, more assertive with food. But what Catter lacked in basic survival skills she made up for a sweet face and gentle demeanor. She was the perfect first pet.
I couldn’t take a picture because I just melted at the scene, but there was one time when Akira made her meme (rocked her to sleep), cradled her belly up, and the kitten really fell asleep in her arms.
She was more willing to play than Dora. Aki would put her in her supermarket cart and push her around like it was a stroller. She would give her pretend checkups. And when daddy even let the two of them in the bedroom to nap? Wow. To me, that’s when it became official.
And that’s why I personally became very upset when Catter went missing. Just when we just gave her a bath. Just when she and Aki have grown so close, and everything is going so well.
She didn’t show up for dinner time. J just thought she hid out for a while, overstimulated or over-handled from Aki, but then she was still nowhere to be found the next day or the day after that. We began to ask around, but it wasn’t looking good. Catter looked like a typical stray – albeit healthier looking and cleaner – and didn’t seem familiar to the people around us. Then again our neighborhood isn’t exactly pet or animal friendly either.
We asked Shaine, our helper, to ask around as well, and we finally got some answers. A neighbor’s former helper told Shaine to keep it a secret, and that she saw Catter at our neighbor’s house – their youngest kid probably took a liking to her and now wouldn’t let her go. Our Catter has been catnapped.
We are left in a bind. We can’t just go knock on their door and ask for our kitten back without implicating other people. They could also just deny having the kitten outright.
If there’s a shred of good news to this, it’s that Catter is alive and being taken cared of, somewhat. It just so happens that these are people that absolutely have no idea of taking care of a cat indoors, and they stole her just when she was going back to the vet for her shots.
For now, I’ve asked our helper to talk to their helper discreetly and tell them to please, please, just give the kitten back should any problem arise and to not dump her somewhere. For now, we keep Catter in our prayers, unable to rescue her again.