Once upon a time, there was a mom and her younger daughter making a trip to the vet for some reason that the mom can no longer remember. It was October 2007. This family had just lost a beautiful black cat named Kovu to leukemia. Now they were back at the vet's office with one of their many other animals. They pulled up in front of the building but discovered that the vet and staff were not yet back from lunch. It was a beautiful fall afternoon, so the mom and daughter rolled down the windows and enjoyed the warm autumn breeze.
There was light conversation as they waited. But the daughter stopped the mom in mid-sentence and asked - Did you hear that? The mom listened intently, but finally said - I don't hear anything. What was it? Oh, nothing, I guess - said the daughter. Conversation resumed. And then - No, stop. Do you hear that? No, what do you think you're hearing? Well, it sounds like a tiny little meow. The mom listened really hard this time. Wait. Yes. Maybe it was a meow. But the sound was so tiny that it must have been a house or two over from the veterinary clinic (which was in the middle of a neighborhood of homes).
One of the staff drove up, waved, and went inside. The mother and daughter got out of the car and started walking slowly toward the building, waiting for the staff member to unlock the front door. Mew, mew, mew, mew, mew. Where was that meowing coming from? It sounded closer now, but the sound was very tiny (this is important to the story later on). The daughter moved in the direction of the sound. Mew, mew, mew. She told her mother - It has to be somewhere right around here. I think it's trapped inside something, or . . . I don't know, but it seems to be frantic. We have to make sure it's OK. And then - (drumroll - I just love to stick in a drumroll ) - the source of the meowing is revealed. Something comes crashing down from above and dangles in the branches just over the daughter's head. Like a kitten on a greeting card, this one hung on for dear life by just the front two legs, the body hanging straight down, face twisted into a combination of pure panic and massive determination.
Were you having any trouble figuring out who the mom and daughter were? I thought I'd launch the story that way so that you would be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out who this family was. (insert laughter here) In case you're still struggling with that, here's the big reveal - the mom was me, and the daughter was my younger daughter (who was 15 at the time of this event).
And the dangling kitten was . . . . (drumroll - smile) . . . . Magic.
My daughter immediately started reaching as high as she could toward this kitten who was having no luck at re-positioning himself. In a flash, there went my daughter up into that tree. I ran to where she had been in case this little guy let go and dropped. He might make a conscious decision to drop when he saw my daughter climbing towards him. Instead, her movement toward him seemed to motivate him to try even harder to get those back feet in contact with the branch he was on. He did make contact (all four feet gripping now), righted himself, and raced directly toward my daughter who was climbing directly toward him. When they reached each other, she pulled him close and he buried himself against her chest. It was love at first sight - for both. I knew I was in trouble.
I started talking. Well, isn't this lucky? We found a kitten at our vet's office. I bet they can find a home pronto. Finally, this is one we won't have to worry about. My daughter wasn't responding. She was talking to kitten and he was purring loudly. I remember she mumbled something like - What are the chances? I remained steadfast. My vet would save me here. We entered the building with our appointment pet and this little black kitten.
As we were taken to our examining room, the staff person looked at my daughter with the kitten wrapped tightly in her arms and smiled. It wasn't one of those "oh, how cute" smiles. There was evil at the edges of this smile. I caught it, but I was too consumed at the time with how to make sure I signaled to my vet that I needed a savior here. I turned to my daughter and explained that we didn't need another cat. She asked me what about Kovu. If he had lived, weren't we going to keep him? I said I would have tried to find him a home.
Then in walked my vet. He beamed a smile at us, and said - Oh, I didn't have your black kitty down for today. I started to leap into the story of how we just found this kitten right outside his door, in the tree there in the front, it was there when we got here, we got it down, but . . . . Then I saw it. The gleam in his eye. He knew where this kitten had come from. He was playing me. I stopped and shot back the meanest, most demanding look I could muster. Yeah, - I said - we got your kitten out of the tree for you. Thought you might be busy and wouldn't have time to climb up and get him, but, well, here he is. He started laughing. He told us how someone had dropped the kitten that morning on the doorstep and sped off. The kitten immediately shot up into the tree. They had tried a couple of times to call it down, with no success. Just before lunch, as they were talking about the afternoon appointments, they suddenly realized that their worries were over - the 1:00 appointment was me.
To be fair, they had called around to some people they thought might be interested in a kitten. No. They called the local shelter, but no way were they taking in any cats or kittens. With a smile on his face, my vet looked directly at my daughter and said - I thought I'd make your mom a deal. If you guys will take this poor little kitten home, I'll do the initial vet work and neuter pro bono. Then all three of them - my daughter, my vet, and the staff person - looked directly at me.
We took care of whatever pet we had actually come in with - a vaccination or something. Then kitty was named, examined, vaccinated, and notes were made that we had a free neuter coming. Kitty was estimated at 10 - 12 weeks. My daughter accepted responsibility for this kitten. This would be her cat.
Once upon a time, there was a solid black kitten. A mom and daughter discovered this kitten in a tree. Homeless. Dumped off to fend for itself. The date? October 31, 2007. Yep. It was Halloween. Not a few days before, not a few days after. The very day of Halloween. What are the chances? My daughter named him Magic. He is our Halloween cat!