And indeed it was. The little orange cat tore into the dish of dry food like he hadn't eaten in a week. Then, starved for attention, he crawled into every lap he could find, and asked for all the petting we could give him.
But where did he come from? As the cat rested and made itself at home, I began calling neighbors (we don't have many) and even going further afield to some outlying houses. No one knew of a small orange cat.
Because we live in the country, I assumed that someone dumped this adorable cat. But then, he might have snuck under someone's vehicle and accidentally been transported from somewhere else. I watched the ads for awhile, and made some overtures to find an owner, but I kind of knew that was a lost cause.
We figured him to be about 4-5 months old. An absolutely gorgeous cat. We thought about keeping him, but that was a ridiculous idea. We were already overloaded with three lovely tabbies, and guess who's in charge of feeding and litter box duty?
Our cast of lovely felines included: Lucy, eleven years, our ex-barn cat, (found as a tiny kitten in a briar patch) who now arthritically totters around the house in her old age.
Bugs, whose adorable face on the website of the local animal shelter made me drive there and bring him home.
Fred, AKA Fred the Bad Cat, also adopted from the animal shelter. This cat morphed from trouble-making kitten to mouse and rat-killer extraordinaire.
How would my current cats take to a stranger? Alas, not well. When Fred walked in the door and spotted the orange newcomer, he began yodeling in an eerie, high-pitched "I will destroy the interloper" voice. It scared the heck out of me.
Little orange cat, however, just stretched out in the hallway and napped. "Do your worst," he seemed to say. "I'm pooped."
But I was sure a fight would happen soon. Would I have to lock them in separate rooms? Frantically, I phoned a couple of friends who had recently lost their old cats and might be ready for another. We had to find a home for this small cat. We could not keep him.
One couple came over and visited, but did not totally fall in love with him. "Take him with you," I pleaded. "Please." But the cat stayed.
Another friend offered to take the cat, but was leaving on a trip and wouldn't be back for 9 or 10 days. "Okay," I said, tentatively. "Maybe. Unless . . ."
I knew the window of cuteness was closing fast for this handsome young cat. Everyone wants adorable tiny kittens, and older cats are almost impossible to place. If I expected to find him a home, I needed to do it now. So I should have said "Yes. You can have him. Definitely."
The Toy Basket
But I am afraid to say (against all of our better judgment) that this little orange cat was worming his way right into our hearts. The first night he slept tucked up close against my husband. Then he proceeded to find every old bit of string or ancient toy mouse in the house and throw them up in the air for hours, before leaving them all over the hallway for us to trip on.
And of course I vaccinated him. And then I wormed him. And then I vaccinated him again, and got him a rabies shot. Now, he has an appointment to be neutered. Oh, did I mention that we named him Chester?
He and Fred are the best of friends now. They rumble all over this property, and tear through the house like wild ruffians every night. And I suppose we are now a four-cat family. *sigh*
People sometimes ask me where I get all of the ideas for my Cat Tales.