Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Introducing Star

As we left Olive Garden after lunch on Sunday, I heard something. After quieting Luke long enough to listen, I heard it again, a very small and pitiful meow. At first, I thought someone had left their cat in the car while they went inside to eat. Who would do that with temps barely above freezing outside? Then I realized the meow was very young. Movement across the parking lot caught my eye. A tiny kitten was crouched beneath a car. I thought we could get it to come, but it would get just within reach and then back away.

We chased it for nearly an hour, running back and forth between the cars. Regardless of what we were going to do with it, I just could not leave it there. It was going to get squished or climb into someone's warm engine. Several times, we nearly had it, but a car would crank up or drive past and spook it. I went inside to ask for a small piece of cooked chicken, but they said they could not give me any. (Something about it being raw and pre-portioned. All I was asking for was a piece about the size of a quarter, probably something they had just scraped in the trash! Of course, they would be happy to oblige if I wanted to order something. Seriously? We've eaten there once a month for over 10 years. I don't think a chicken scrap was too much to ask.) A few different couples stopped briefly to help, and apparently quite a few folks were watching from inside the restaurant (the bus boys were clearly having fun on the other side of the glass). We had a group of 6 stop to help, but all that did was spook it more, and it finally did crawl up into someone's car. I finally sent DH and a wildly excited Luke across the street to PetCo to pick up some canned food to try and coax it out. I stayed to guard the car.

The car's owner did appear a few minutes later. "You have a kitten in your engine." I wish I had a camera for the look on her face. I explained the situation, and she and her friends were very understanding. The food arrived just a couple of minutes later. I barely had it on the ground before the cat crawled out and started chowing down. A cry of voices went up, shouting "grab it, quick!" The kitten nearly bolted, but the lure of food was too strong. I got everyone quiet, then moved very slowly. It kept looking up to peek at me as I got closer, but still kept eating. Finally, I snatched it up, much to the delight of the crowd outside. I could see people clapping inside the restaurant when I turned around with it in my arms. I'm glad they found it entertaining. In the meantime, I was freezing and dirty and holding a terrified kitten.

Now what? Back to PetCo to grab a cardboard carrier and a bit more food. There was nothing to do but take it home and decide from there. Even let loose in our neighborhood was safer than the busy parking lot, but I knew that was unlikely. Luke, of course, was begging to keep her (he's been asking for a kitten for months). He was already picking out names. "Don't name it!" was DH's exasperated response. DH was very against keeping it, justifiably concerned about the reaction of our current cats and the safety of such a tiny kitten. Even if we turned it over to the vet for fostering, it would still have to have someone pay for the rabies and FIV screening. We decided to take it to the vet, have it checked out, and pay for at least the first visit, then decide what to do. If it was sick with something that would endanger the older cats, we absolutely could not keep it, and Luke seemed to accept that. In the meantime, it would stay in the office. After watching Luke and DH play with it that evening, though, I suspected what was coming.

The vet visit turned out well. They verified gender (girl) and age (about 12 weeks). No fleas, no ear mites; negative rabies and FIV tests. She was purring so loudly, they couldn't listen to her heart; even alcohol and wet paws didn't work! Other than intestinal worms and being a little skinny (both fully expected), she's in great shape. "Kittens have very little reserve to start with, and she is underweight. Given how cold it got Sunday night, you definitely saved her life." Everyone loved the story of how we found her, and the staff voted to name her Breadstick. I told them they'd have to take that up with the 6-year-old! We got all of the instructions, and the doctor did say that, being the holidays and given the age and extreme cuteness and good temper, we shouldn't have any trouble giving her away if that's what we decided to do. "I suspect we'll be seeing you back in 3 weeks, though." We shall see. I called DH and gave him the news. "Why am I thinking we'll have one more mouth to feed come Christmas?" My heart lightened. There was nothing in the world I wanted to do less at that moment than to have to tell Luke we would be giving the kitten away, and now I didn't have to. Yay! I couldn't wait to pick him up from school.

"Is the kitty sick? Are we keeping her?" Yes, we are. "I want to name her Fireball! Or Snake Girl. How about Warrior Kitty?" Oh boy. I actually think Fireball is a great name for a cat, just not *this* cat. I didn't really care for Breadstick, but along those lines, maybe Crouton or Olivia? (Had it been a boy, we might have had to go with Romano.) How about something Christmas or December related? Holly, Noel, Joy, maybe Christmas and just call her Chris? "What about Snow?" Meh. I think that would confuse everyone. Snow is usually a name for a white kitty. "But I want to name her!" Well, you can, we just need to find the right name. We'll know it when we find it. "Tree? Grass? Brown? Pink!" ::snort:: This is going to be painful.

I tried to be as gentle as I could when steering the name conversation, but Luke was clearing getting frustrated and disappointed. This was so critically important to him, but I felt like it needed to be a name we all agreed on. The only name he had thrown out that DH or I had liked even a little was Sonic, followed by Snow, but I still didn't think either of them truly fit. We had gone to Petsmart to pick up some food and toys for her, and having not ever made it to the grocery store on Sunday due to the kitten incident, we had to eat out again, this time at Piccadilly. While eating dinner, we all admired their Christmas tree. (Another Sunday plan that never happened at our house, putting up the tree.) Names were still running through my head. Garland, Sparkle, Bell(e), Tinsel? They still weren't right.

Then Luke was struck with sudden inspiration. "What about Star?" My eyebrows went up. That could work. I glanced at DH. I could tell he didn't love it, but he didn't hate it either. "That's pretty good, let's think about it some more." We tabled the discussion for the night. I kept the name in mind as we played with her that evening. It seemed to fit.

Welcome, Star!

Currently feeling: amazed that we have 4 cats again


  1. She's super cute, Erin! Love the name Luke chose for her.

  2. What a nice story and she is really cute! Congrats Luke and welcome Star! :)


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