I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days now. I started out writing about my son’s coach and moved on to writing about my town. But somehow neither seemed right. And then I realized that the answer to what I should blog about was staring me right in the face–literally. My cat, Lilo.
Lilo is one of two kittens who came to live with us just about one year ago. Here’s how it happened:
My sister Pam happened to have a small, empty house on her property in Hawaii. Since she already had a kennel up and thriving, she decided to turn it into a cat house (no, not THAT kind of cat house–it was a vacation home for kitties while their people were away).
The Honolulu paper did an article on her, and the reporter asked to her do a guest blog. So she did. Pam called, me, all excited. “Go read the blog,” she said, “and ask a question so I’ll have some visitors.”
Since I’m a good sister, I did. Then I called Pam back, and told her what I’d asked, and we just sort of rolled around laughing in the joy of blogging, and being good sisters, and that was that.
Or so I thought. The reporter, of course, was not privy to all this background information, so she, being a good blog host, emailed Pam and asked her if she’d respond to my question. She cc’ed me, so I’d know what was happening (as I said, a good blog host). At the bottom of her email was a picture of two tiny black kittens, and a note. The note said that the kittens had been found on the campus of the University of Hawaii, and badly needed a home.
Even though it was really none of my business–I live in Oregon and these little kittens were in Hawaii, and I was only a CC on the email, anyhow–I wrote her a note back, sharing far too much personal information. I told her how nice it was that she was trying to find a home for these two little orphans, how I wished I lived closer because we had lost our twenty-year-old cat Ginger a few months before, and on and on.
Well, I got an email back from her, saying that she and the other people in the kitty cabal had liked what I’d written a lot, and they wanted me to have the kittens–but that the lady who had found them was holding out for a home in Hawaii.
To be honest, I was a bit relieved. I wasn’t sure we were ready for another pet yet–we still missed Ginger a lot; she’d been a huge part of our life. I dashed off a quick note saying I understood completely, and wishing them all luck again.
A few days later I got another email from the reporter. “Call me,” it said.
I called. “The lady who found the kittens has agreed that you should have them. A local vet has donated vaccinations and spaying, and we’re just working out how to get them flown over. A man here is letting them stay with him for a few days while we work everything out. Can you meet them in Portland?”
“Uh, yes,” I said. I mean, what else could I say at that point?
It turned out that the best way to get the kittens to Oregon was for the reporter and her husband to burn their frequent flyer miles and fly over with them.
And so it was that two days later we drove down to Portland and took custody of a bright blue kitten carrier, and two extremely nervous black kittens.
We named them Lilo and Lila Raspberry. Lila loves to play video games with Patrick. She’s not a lap cat–she only wants to lean up against shoulders. She loves to lay her head on my shoulder and have me cover her up with a blanket.
Lilo, on the other hand, loves to be cradled. She climbs up on my lap while I work, and then onto the table by the keyboard. She puts both feet on my chest, and stares deeply into my eyes. And then she wiggles around so she’s lying on her back with her head against my chest, wraps her front and back legs around my arm so I must scratch her under the chin, and purrs and purrs.
So what’s the point of all of this? The first and most obvious is, if you’re looking for a pet, consider adopting. I’m not a great one for attributing human emotions to animals, but I suspect that in their early days here Lilo and Lila remembered the bad old days, and were grateful–and they expressed it in affection, and that set a wonderful tone for our first year together. Ginger was a hard act to follow; I had her for a long time. She was there for the most dramatic changes in my adult life. I honestly didn’t expect these kittens to be able to measure up. But it only took me a few minutes to realize that, though these kittens weren’t Ginger, they didn’t have to be. They were their own funny little selves, and it was shocking how quickly they made their own places in our hearts.
Most of all, though, Lilo and Lila have reminded me that there are many good and kind people in the world. I think of how they came to live with us, and I am amazed. Everyone, from the woman who found them shivering under a bush at the University of Hawaii and picked them up to the vet who provided healthcare for them to the reporter who used her network to search for a home for them to the gentleman who allowed them to stay with him while they worked out all the details–a whole group of people quietly and simply made it their business to make it right for two small kittens. It’s a reminder for me that there are many good and kind people in the world who are happy to lend a hand, if they know what needs doing.
We haven’t solved the homeless problem for the world population of animals. But we have solved it for Lilo and Lila. And maybe that’s all it takes–each of us, solving the the problems we see around us, one at a time.