I was volunteering at a rescue centre in 2011 when a pregnant long haired, mostly white, tuxie cat named Lucy was found on the street and placed in the cattery. The next night she gave birth. It was early April so still quite chilly in Britain and the cattery was not heated. There were no staff or volunteers on duty that night. Luckily, someone came to work earlier than usual the following morning and checked on the cattery first. One of Lucy’s kittens was found lying in their litter box and appeared dead. Quickly, the staff member wrapped the kitten in a towel and cleaned and warmed it up. Lucy seemed oblivious to all the fuss. She happily began nursing the wayward kitten along with the others. I would later find out that the kitten who almost died was my Fernando (who at first was named Willow, for a girl, but I’ll explain all that in Part Two).
Within a couple of weeks, the strange naked looking creatures turned into cutesy black and white furballs tumbling around their pen causing mayhem. Whenever I checked on them, the kittens looked like a massive pile of squirming fluff. But soon little individual characters began to emerge. I secretly named them. There was one poor kitten that had very unfortunate markings on his face. There just wasn’t any other name for him except Adolf. He seemed shy but he was always hoarding the food. Then there was Mouse who, I don’t know, just looked more mouse than cat. She hid a lot in the corner. Then there was Num-Num who just looked yummy handsome but like a runway model he didn’t have much personality. “Willow” seemed to always be crying. Sometimes laying in the litter box. Always following the others around. Jeez, talk about early childhood problems. This was a kitten with issues. But “Willow” seemed the most sweet of the bunch, always licking and cuddling the others, always watching out for them, and had particularly bonded with Bridget. Yep, then there was Bridget.
Bridget. Well, I don’t know why but as soon as I saw this kitten she just instantly struck me as a Bridget. And I knew I had to adopt her. She was the smallest of the litter but had the biggest head in proportion to her body. She was the boss of them all. Right from the beginning Bridget made it clear she was a princess diva. Whenever Lucy nursed the kittens, Bridget consistently pushed her way to the front of the queue. She particularly monopolised Lucy when it came to grooming & cleaning (a princess has to look good right?). If one of her siblings annoyed her, she’d put up her paw, shove it in their face and push them (ever so politely though) away. And to this day, Bridget still does the “talk to the paw” move. I must admit, it was her little black nose that got me (the rest had pink noses) and of course her kitten princess moxie!
Lucy was adopted first. Within a few more days, Adolf and Num-Num went to their human family. Mouse, “Willow” and Bridget were still in the cattery when I arrived for my next volunteering shift. I spent that day performing my usual duties blissfully unaware of certain forces at work. Now, fate? Hm, stupidity more like….stepped in next. The woman who was meant to adopt both “Willow” and Mouse phoned the centre. She’d decided to take only one kitten. Well, you can surmise (partly) what happened next. At the end of my shift, my husband arrived to pick me up. I got in the car with the cat carrier and casually informed him it contained not one but two kittens. His cute sarcastic reaction? “Only two?” Haha. He figured we had survived a year of Tristan the Terror (see earlier blog) so he figured….bring it on!!