After we left the SPCA I don’t know how long we had been driving since I was asleep for a good part of the trip. When we stopped I was taken out and brought into a nice place that was full of all kinds of smells. I was put in a small container that had a heating pad in it. It was cozy and warm and I felt safe in it.
“Hey, Sandy,” her husband called out, “I see you have another one.”
“Yeah, this was an emergency. They found her under a shed and her mother was nowhere to be seen. The owner heard her crying and rescued her. She brought her right away to the East Texas SPCA and that’s when Megan called me.”
“I got home early and couldn’t find you. Figured you had gone to help some critter out,” he said with an understanding smile.
“You know me, ” Dallas”, I dropped everything and went right up there. It’s so far I didn’t want to wait until you got back”.
I felt him looking at me and then he gently touched me with a big finger.
“She’s going to be a cutie”, he said.
Now I knew their names!
While I was wiggling around on the warm pad I felt something cold and big touch me. It was smelling me! It was a nose! Then I felt a warm tongue licking me! What was it? It had fur, but didn’t smell like my mommy.
“Looks like Sadie found her new ward!” Miss Sandy laughed.
Sadie was their Lab-Mix who “took over” caring for all the bottle fed kittens when they arrived. She made sure they were properly cleaned until they became litter box trained. She was their surrogate mother!
“Sadie?” I thought. “She’s not a cat! Should I be afraid? She’s very friendly and is welcoming me. I think I’m going to like her!”
I was so tiny Sadie’s tongue kept rolling me around. It tickled!
“Okay, Sadie, that’s enough. I have to feed her now.”
Miss Sandy picked me up and I could smell the formula. My tummy rumbled. I felt the nipple and gobbled it up. When I was through, she put me back. Nap time.
Later on I heard someone sniffing at me. It smelled sort of like my mommy, but it wasn’t her. It was a cat checking me out.
“Hi! Mew,” I said, trying to be friendly.
“Humph, another one!” I heard as it padded away.
Later on I perceived heavy breathing next to me and it smelled like Sadie, but it didn’t sound like her.
“Hi there! Woof! Woof! Welcome to our house!”
“Hello. Mew! Mew! Who are you?”
“Name’s Bailey. I’m a dog.”
“You’re like my friend, Sadie,” I answered.
“Yup, there’s three more like us, too, Harper, Ginger and Scout.”
“Wow!” I mewed. “Five dogs!” “What’s a dog?”
“We’re sort of like you, usually much bigger. We have fur, and our tongues hang out so we can breath better. A lot of dogs like to chase cats, but we’re all cool here and really like cats.”
“What’s a cat?”
“You’re a cat. No, you’re a kitten and that’s a baby cat.”
“Are there cats in this house?”
“Yup, there’s three of them.”
“I think one came by before, but it wasn’t very friendly!”
“Probably Valley. She always checks out the newbies. The other two, Suzy and Casper, are kinda like her, not very affectionate. That’s normal for most cats. They’re aloof and go their own way and do what they want to do when it pleases them.”
“I’m not going to be like that ever!” I mewed with conviction. “I’m going to be nice and friendly to every one. I’m going to be a real good when I grow up!”
“That’s the spirit, tyke! What’s your name, by the way?”
“Don’t know”, I said softly.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be getting one before long. Just wait and see. All the bottle-feeders get to name their kittens and I’m sure Miss Sandy will give you a real nice one.”
“See ya around. Gotta get back to my pals,” Bailey said as he sauntered away.
I liked Bailey. I think dogs are better than cats if they’re all like him and Sadie. I want to be a dog when I grow up!
Night soon came and everyone went to bed.
Several days later I could feel something happening to my eyes. There was some light coming in through
narrow slits. My eyelids were opening up! I was so excited! When the lids were all the way up I could see things, but they were all hazy, not very clear. Bright light hurt my eyes! I didn’t want anyone touching them.
After a few days my eyes started clearing up and I could see things better. It would be another five weeks before they cleared completely and I would no longer have the sensitivity to light.
“Hey, Blue Eyes, it’s about time you opened them up!” chuckled Mz’ter Dallas.
He was holding me. I liked being in his strong hands and nuzzling in his soft beard. He was tall and the floor looked a long way down!
Sadie was looking up at me. It was bath time. As soon as he put me down she started cleaning me all up. Her tongue was nice and gentle, just like I remember my mommy’s being, only Sadie’s was a whole lot bigger!
When she finished it was time to eat. I was always hungry it seemed. Miss Sandy was an angel. She fed me promptly every three hours those first two weeks. Even Mz’ter helped sometimes at night when he heard the alarm go off. I guess it was like having a human baby to take care of.
After I finished, she kept me in her arms and started walking around with me.
“We have to give you a name, so what will it be? I always like to use people names instead of objects, so let’s see,” she said to me.
She walked around holding me muttering all kinds of names, but none seemed to fit me. Suddenly she said “Nina!”
She voiced it a few times, mulled it around a bit and then said decisively, “Yes, it fits you fine! Nina it is! Welcome Nina, I hope you like your name!”
I was ecstatic! I loved it! Finally, I had a name. “Nina, that’s me,” I mewed happily!
She put me down in the pet container and Bailey moseyed over, “Told ya you’d get a name. Nice one, too!”
The phone rang and I heard Miss Sandy say “Sure, I’ll be right up to get her. I’ll leave here in ten minutes.”
Two hours later she returned and she took this small white bundle from the pet carrier and put it right next to me. It looked like me, only white! I had company!
“Hi! Mew!” I said in a friendly voice.
“Oh, me-e-e-ew!” she said in a frightened little voice.
“Don’t be afraid. Everybody’s nice here. You’ll see. Where’d you come from?” I asked.
“There were three of us and we were brought to the SPCA. We were hungry and scared because we had lost our mommy. They fed us and someone came to get my siblings and I was left alone for awhile. Then this lady came and got me and now I’m here, me-e-e-w, me-e-e-w,” she whimpered.
Sadie came over and started licking us both. “There, there,” she said, we’re going to take good care of you so don’t worry.”
The days passed and the new kitten adjusted. We stayed together constantly and as time wore on her siblings became a memory. I later learned that they always made an effort not to have a bottle feeder be alone. So when the three came in, one was chosen to be with me. I was very happy to have a playmate my size. She was white and I was black, we were sister-mates, our color didn’t matter.
One day, after she had been fed, she came next to me all thrilled, “I have a name” she mewed out! “I have a name! It’s real pretty. It’s Tina!”
“Wow”, I congratulated her, “It sounds like mine! Now we’re truly like sisters, ” I mewed as I jumped around!
“How did you come up with that name?” her husband asked Miss Sandy.
She laughed. “I was listening to one of my favorite songs by Tina Turner when I was feeding her and then it hit me – Tina rhymes with Nina, so why not!
“Good a reason as any,” he smiled back.
Tina and I had a good life.
We ate, we slept,
we played and always had visitors with the other cats and dogs coming by. Soon enough we needed more room to run around in so Miss Sandy put us in a sort of doggy playpen. That was so much fun! There was a tower and we would chase each other up and down! There were balls we’d roll around and toys we could bat up in the air.
Being very curious I wondered what else was around beyond the playpen. I started climbing one of the sides. Fell down! Tried again. Same result! Finally I gave up.
The next day I was at it again. I was stubborn. I was determined to do it. After the zillionth try I made it. I got to the top, wobbled a bit and then crashed to the other side! Freedom!
I started sniffing around and checking things out.
“Woof, woof! Wo-o-of, wo-o-of!” Sadie was sounding the alarm!
Miss Sandy came into the room.
“Why you little rascal,” she laughed. “You finally did it! I was wondering how long it would take you,” she said as she picked me up and put me back in the pen.
This repeated the next few days. It became a game! I even taught Tina to follow me out and we both started to explore the area. At this point Miss Sandy just let us join the rest of the family. No more playpen. We were all “grownup”!
One day the phone rang. Miss Sandy was talking and I heard her say. “I’ll bring her in tomorrow.”
The next day, which was a Saturday, Miss Sandy came and got me and put me in a carrier. We drove away. Little did I know that I would never see my sister-mate Tina again.