She came to me a little more than three years ago, the day after hurricane Floyd blew through...
We had closed the shop down because of the impending doom approaching (which thankfully passed us by). The day after, I was at work when someone told me they had seen a kitten back in the bindery department. Now, the one real soft spot that I have is cats, especially kittens, especially kittens in need. So I got up from my desk and went to the other end of the building to see if I could see the cat they were talking about.
The bindery department was very busy that day, a lot of movement, noisy paper folding machines and forklifts running all over the place. Through all of that noise I could hear a little kitten just screaming, 'MEOW! ... MEOW! ... MEOW!.. MEOW!'. All I could think was that she was calling out 'MOM! ... MOM! ... MOM! ... MOM!' and it made me crazy.
I tracked down where the sounds were coming from, and looked carefully and all I could see was the silhouette of the tiny cat, under a large palette of paper. Me and one other guy (nobody else there could have given a *** about it) moved some boxes around to block her in and keep her from running out and getting hurt, or worse. But no matter what I did, I just couldn't reach her. So I had an idea...
I went to the snack machine and got one of those ham and cheese 'snack packs'. Tearing off tiny bits of ham, I tossed them towards the edge of the palette to try and get her to come out. The first throw was right on the money, and I watched as a little, tiny, white-tipped paw come out of hiding and scoop up the piece of meat. I kept tossing the treats, and each time they were a little further away from her hiding place, and she would come all the way out, scoop up the ham, then run back.
With the last piece, I threw it right at my feet and waited. I stood there, NOT MOVING and watched her little pink nose come out first, sniffing away. Then she came out, walked over to the meat, and with one smooth motion I reached down and scooped her up.
I was afraid that she would just FREAK OUT in my hand so I held her away from my body at first, but surprisingly, she sat, rather calmly, in the palm of my hand, and looked RIGHT INTO ME and sad 'MMMMMEEEEEEEOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!' So I pulled her close, and tucked her under my chin and she snuggled right in, purring like crazy. We bonded immediately.
I carried her back to my desk, picking up a big box on the way, but every time I tried to put her down she would just SCREAM. So I sat at my desk, and for about an hour, I held her in one hand while I worked at my Mac until lunch.
Luckily, the place I have lunch every day is right across the street from a vet. So I dropped her off, then went and had lunch. I left her at the vet so she could be checked out, and picked her up on the way home. In the car, she curled up in my lap and purred all the way home.
The vet guessed that she wasn't quite six weeks old. But other than being a little dehydrated, starving and covered with fleas, dirt and dust (that's why her name is 'Dusty'), she was fine.
And although she was the baby at the time (the other cats quickly took over as surrogates), she VERY quickly became (and still is) the leader of the pride (of three) and can control the other two with nothing more than a look.
After three years she still rarely lets me out of her sight, and argues with me every day when I leave for work.
I went in for a small medical procedure this year, and when I got home and was back on the couch, she was immediately at my side, protecting me from the other cats (and some people) growling at whoever would get close (it was funny)!
The day that I found her and brought her home, my four-year-old nephew came over to see her. I told him that I found her at work, he got a little teary-eyed, his bottom lip came out and he asked me, 'But how did she get at your work?'
I told him that she came looking for me.
Copyright © John Rahn
December 22, 2002