June 30, 1994 — November 25, 2014
I had Potted for three days and like any pet owner you become a parent to your pet and your pet becomes a child or a family member to you very quickly. As I stated previously, Potted was so small that she could not get up to the sitting part of the couch without assistance. On the third night after I got her I fell asleep on the couch and left her down on the ground as she was running around doing her kitten thing, exploring, batting around a crumbled up piece of paper, etc.. However I woke up to a surprise. I was lying on my back and woke up with her on my chest and neck nearly nose to nose. It was confusing since I only had her for a short time and once I got past the shock of a kitten’s face and eyes about two inches from my eyes, I could not figure out how she got up on the couch. If she stood fully upright her paws could not even reach the cushion part of the couch and she never tried to climb up previously. It was more of jump, boom, rejection and fall back to the ground. But as I woke up, picked her up and held her back as I was lying on the couch I noticed her nose was crusted over and she appeared weak. She gave out kitten meows, you know the short, high pitched mea, not even a meow yet. Concerned I picked up the phone book and looked up a vet. Now I had just moved to Bloomfield about four weeks ago and this was my first pet. I really did not know the neighborhood and did not see any vets in my town listed in the phone book. I saw one in Verona called the Verona Animal Hospital which was about two towns over but relatively close, ten to fifteen minutes with no traffic. I called and the person that answered the phone asked what was the problem. I explained that I just adopted a kitten and she was fine the first couple days but she woke up today on my chest with a crusty nose and weak. She said to bring her in immediately and gave me directions. They were located right off Bloomfield Avenue so I was somewhat familiar with the area having driven on Bloomfield Avenue to pick her up from the pet store a few days earlier. I did not have a carry case since I brought her home in a shoebox and did not anticipate having to take her anywhere soon. So I got her, went to my car and off to the hospital we went. When I arrived I went to the front desk with her, had to fill out paper work and wait in the waiting room. She pretty much sat in my lap looking at the other animals and everyone else looking at her and smiling since she was so tiny. Eventually I get called in, the doctor examines her and says she has an upper respiratory infection. He says its nature’s way to control the cat population because most times it will kill kittens since their immune system is low, it attacks the lungs and most kittens will dehydrate. The doctor said she would have to remain in the hospital for a few days so he could administer fluids and medication to combat the infection and she should be fine. I asked the doctor how much was this going to cost because I was a law student with very little money and that I had just picked her up last Friday and now she is in the hospital. I told him that I only had her a few days and am attached to her but did I just adopt a $5,000.00 kitten? He looked at her again and asked where I got her and I told him Scruffy’s on Bloomfield Avenue. He moved his head sideways and squinted his eyes as if he was trying to remember something, asked her name and I said the name on her adoption certificate was midnight. He looked in his chart and said I know her, I have treated her. I go huh? What do you mean? He said he volunteers for the Friends of Wayne Animal Shelter and he was there when her litter came in. He said a few months ago, he could not recall exactly when, someone dropped off a box of kittens they had found on the side of the road or woods and it was her litter. The kittens were not in great shape and very very young. He nursed them back to health, assisted in raising them, giving them all their necessary shots and confirmed their health before approving them ready for adoption. He said he understood how quickly the bond could develop between owner and pet and since he knew her he would take her in and we would work something out when I picked her up in a few days. He could not quote me a price since anything could happen but I put my faith in him since he said he knew her. Who could have imagined that picking a name out of the phone book, going to this facility, this doctor was on duty at the hospital at this time, knew her, had helped her previously, knew where I adopted her because someone found her litter and brought her to the Friends of Wayne Animal Shelter which uses Scruffy’s as an outlet for sheltered animals, this doctor volunteered to work with Friends of Wayne Animal Shelter and cared for her before we met. Well a few days passed and I received the call that she was ready to go home. The doctor greeted me and said she is better and to give her medication for about a week to be safe and everything should be fine. He slashed his bill from about $600.00 to $80.00. He said she is a real fighter because despite her tiny size, she was ready to fight all other cats and had to isolate her. She was only the size of my hand and might explain why she was perched above the other kittens at Scruffy’s to get away from them when I adopted her. It seemed she was divorced from the animal world and loved human contact and companionship. I paid the bill with a credit card and walked out with her in my hand since again I did not have a carrier. I get in my car and put her in the passenger seat. While driving she walks across the center counsel, walks over my right leg, then lap and then my left leg. I look down and she looks up and I go what, what do you want little girl? We are going home. While driving on Bloomfield Avenue she proceeds to climb up my left arm. But because my right hand was on the steering wheel while driving and her digging into my arm while climbing with me going ouch ouch ouch there was nothing I could do but let her climb. She gets to my left shoulder facing backwards, turns toward my ear, then faces forward looking outside the front windshield and sits down. For those not familiar with Bloomfield Avenue it has many lights that do not run in unison so every few lights you have to stop. We come to a red light, stop and I turn my head left to look at her and she turns her head right to look at me. She leans forward and her nose touches mine. This little living creature is again face to face communicating with me. But because she was on my shoulder I was in the right lane driving conservatively. So when stopped at a light there were cars to the left of me. People were pointing and smiling at seeing her perched on my shoulder and at some lights people beeped their horn to point, smile and wave. I had no means to contain her and did not want her to climb up again so I just let her ride shotgun with me and take it all in. Eventually we got home, brought her upstairs, and there she was back to running around, exploring, batting her crumbled paper ball, eating, drinking and being a kitten. Who knew at such a young age she used two of her supposed nine lives, one when she and her litter was abandoned in a box only days old and then battling an illness that kills most kittens. While adorable and tiny, she was a fighter and it did not matter if it was survival in a box, other animals at the hospital, or illness. She battled and won to experience many more pet tales over the next 20 years.
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