January 29, 2023
Carlos Mario Ronaldo - Clan Kilmouski
He's an old school cat and I didn't name him and he didn't really have a name, except maybe Fat Tail. Which is not true but I get the point. He might reasonably be called Fluffy Tail and I'll have to ask the vet about that. Carlos (Clan Kilmouski) has never seen a vet and this is the old school part.
The day after Pete and I parted ways I wandered back to the shelter and left empty handed because it was the right thing to do. I've got a long history of rescuing things that needed rescuing but shouldn't necessarily have been rescued by me. I did meet a cat who met 99% of my cat criteria (she was a cat) except that she'd have needed daily medication for the rest of her life and I spent that emotional currency on Pete. Sorry, cat. I left empty handed and wasn't bothered because I wasn't sure I even wanted another cat and that lasted exactly one hour and thirty-eight minutes.
I found him, and his four litter mates on Craigslist and after a self-inflicted three day cooling off period I drove to Winooski and picked him up. I thought I'd meet all the kitties, have a look at their living conditions and meet mom and make a relatively informed choice but that's not what happened. What happened is that I was met in the parking lot by a man and a woman, each holding a five month old intact male. Twenty-five dollars changed hands and the tabby with the least amount of white was dropped into the carrier.
Later she sent me a text message asking how he was doing. I sent her loneliness a pic and a video and that interaction told me all I needed to know. He was loved and he was missed and that's relevant because I made a few unreasonable assumptions.
Rewind back to June and July of 2009 when we'd been cat-less for a couple of months and couldn't find ANYONE willing to give us a kitten (or any cat, for that matter). In Southern CT, in the summer of 2009, adopting an animal was (probably still is) a daunting proposition. I get it. Sort of. There's an entire demographic of animal people working very hard to get it just right. I told the truth and no kitties were forthcoming. Somebody didn't care for my vet because he was willing to support breeder acquisitions (what?!). Another didn't care for the fact that I let my animals outside and a third (final nail in that coffin) required that I attend an all day training/seminar in Manhattan on cat care.
Worth noting: the young woman associated with the organization that required eight hours of cat care training was fostering maybe a dozen eight to twelve week old kittens in a twelve by twelve room with an overflowing litterbox and a cat pee and poop stained mattress on the floor. The rumpled sheets and pillow suggested a level of cat commitment I just can't wrap my head around. In retrospect, I don't think I wanted a cat out of that room.
2009 was the year everyone at my company took a 10% pay cut and some of us got Fridays off through the summer to make up for it. Sort of. If you don't do the work on Friday, you're bound to do it on Saturday but never mind. It was just a situation that led to a beach day with little Elizabeth that ended with two sticky sandy people skulking into the Westport Humane Society kinda hoping they might not ask too many questions. About my vet and all that.
We left with two kittens, one of which turned out to be Mr. Martin Kilmouski (Clan Kilmouski, original Chieftan).
The two kitties were spayed/neutered, chipped, and fully vaccinated. I was astonished. The days of scooping a kitten out of a cardboard box in somebody's front yard appeared to be over. I didn't give it a lot of thought but I was grateful. We were all grateful. Any time without a cat is too long without a cat - but - those circumstances changed everything. I wasn't aware at the time.
I accidentally shamed the kitten parents and I did it silently, I hope. I made an assumption based on a set of beliefs that grew out of our 2009 cat adoption process. The assumption being, if you haven't performed all the socially demanded pet care then you're a very bad pet parent and can't be trusted to produce healthy animals. It's a living in sin sort of judgement, I think. And it's wrong. Morally and ethically wrong and it almost cost me the cat because the conversation I had with myself during the thirty minute drive to Winooski suggested that if everything didn't go exactly the way I thought it should go, I wouldn't be taking anything home.
But I'm a sucker for a fur-swaddled heartbeat and two hours later the kitten previously known as Fat Tail attended his first Teams meeting and at the end of that meeting he had a name. Three names, actually, because why settle for just one?
The two most frequently used words in this apartment are:
That's the surest sign of a very healthy, happy, well-cared for kitten.