Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meet Luna, Our Fifth Fluffy of the Apocalypse

I swore I’d never get married. I swore I’d never have children. I swore we’d never have more than the one cat. We got Mick. Okay, but no more. Then came Jack, then came Puff. I swore we’d stop there. I should stop swearing.

It occurred to me a while back to give up on the #MondaysCats hashtag. It wasn’t happening. I wasn’t up to making a cat post every Monday any more than I was scheduling anything else for any other day of the week. I don’t work like that. I can’t make myself work like that.

Which is fine. Leave the hashtags for the experts. I’m just taking photos of these cats, and posting them when I get enough to make a coherent, hopefully entertaining narrative.

As it turns out, I can’t even call them the Four Fluffies of the Apocalypse anymore. What happened was my daughter’s birthday, which she chose to spend with us and two of her friends here at Big Pink in Monte Vista. 

It was getting on towards midnight. My daughter and her friends were standing outside smoking and talking, when out of the darkness a kitten runs up to my daughter. She was holding her up for me to see through the big oval window in the front door. I’m told that the look on my face was priceless.

I was sick. This was a just-weaned kitten alone in the literal middle of the night. She’s obviously frightened and disoriented. 

We reluctantly left her on the porch as we turned in, hoping she would lose her attachment to our porch and attempt to find her way home. The next morning the neighbors rang the doorbell, asking if we’d lost a kitten. She’d only wandered away as far as next door.

My wife called the local shelter and learned they don’t handle cats. She was told of a local woman with connections to someone else in Boulder, CO, takes in cats “for a small donation.” She supposedly had an arrangement with a local veterinarian who would spay or neuter cats for $25 a pop. Once she had enough kitties to justify the trip, she would drive them to Boulder, where they would be boarded into a proper cattery, and placed into homes.

I found the arrangement suspicious. The Boulder address— maybe a five or six hour drive from Monte Vista, depending on the route—made sense only in terms of Boulder being the home of the University of Colorado main campus. For all I knew these kittens were being sold to vivisectionists, or others who depend upon the dissection of small animals for their education.

My daughter thought Bella was a good name, but then shifted to Luna, as the moon was setting on the horizon when she first saw her. “Bella Luna” sounded a bit too gothic for an affectionate, playful kitten, but we settled on Luna. History indicates I may very well come up with another name later, but this one seems to be sticking.

As I loathed the idea of cleaning the litterbox for a fifth cat (said cleaning already a once, sometimes three-times per day thing), our original plan was to keep Luna as an outdoor cat. We could fix up the garage, put a small heater in there for the worst part of the San Luis Valley’s bitter winters.

This plan disintegrated by the minute. It was apparent this cat was attached to human company. After going indoors to eat lunch, I got a feeling in the middle of eating and got up to look out the picture window at the porch. Little Luna was pacing fitfully about the chair legs, her mouth opening and closing as she meowed pitifully for yet another group of people who had abandoned her.

She was in very good condition, and it was apparent she wasn’t entirely comfortable outdoors. After my daughter and her friends drove away, we brought Luna indoors for the night. I had brought in the smaller litter box we’d used at the Hotel Purgatario. We showed it to her, although she had already figured out a spot in the yard with soft enough soil for her to dig in. We encourage her to use the great outdoors to relieve herself, but that infamously cold San Luis Valley winter is coming on fast.

After a few fits of rage towards the kind of person who could simply drop such a creature off on a street corner in the middle of the night—I’m convinced now that this is what happened—I’ve accepted the challenge of taking on a fifth animal into the household. We’ll just have to make this work.

Welcome home, Luna.