Friday, July 14, 2006

Teresita the Kitten rescued from the street

I was driving to work this morning along the urban-green streets of Gainesville, avoiding the main roads, when I saw a college student walking along the side of the road with a kitten hopping through the grass trying to follow him. Periodically he'd stop and try to wave her off with his hands or feet. The kitten would duck, but continue following him.

A cat that tries to follow a stranger? I did the math quickly and stopped at the STOP sign, turned right, stopped immediately (this confused the red land-yacht behind me, who eventually passed me), turned the minivan around, and drove back up to the walking student, kitten still in tow.

I asked him "Mister, could you grab that kitten for me?"

"Sure," he said, "she's going to get hit by a car." He picked her up; the kitten ducked but did not protest.

"My girls will love her." I said, taking her into my arms.

I held her in my left arm and drove with my right on the ride home; she pressed against me and purred. Every moment I was stopped or slowing down, I'd pet her, and she purred. I showed up at home and got out of the 1986 Plymouth Voyager minivan, Rafael. My daughters, perplexed at my return, opened the front door and saw the kitten. The picture above was actually staged; I had already come inside and given them instructions and was then leaving.

All I said was that her name was Teresita and we were keeping her and to keep Dulce Maria (my 6-year-old) from getting too close because I didn't want her asthma or my allergies (which seem to be fine around a clean one-cat house, but kill me around male cats or dirty houses) to stop us from keeping her.

Lunch Time
When I came home for lunch, she was lapping up her milk. I stepped into the girl's bathroom with her (the crate is in there with some of the colored wrapping paper you gave us outside the crate and a towel inside the crate) and my daughters quickly followed. I brought her out and put her on the kitchen table.

Teresita saw the spaghetti and steak Alejandra had made (though it was cut super-thin, Alay didn't realize until she got home) and stepped over to it and tried to find something to nibble on, so I cut up a piece of steak into tiny bits and fed her one noodle and lots of bits of steak. So she sat on the table and ate with us, and she seemed to think this was perfectly normal. She'd look up at us once in a while and go back to picking at her food. Sometimes she'd come over to my plate, especially if she had finished what I had given her (so naturally I'd give her more).

Once she was done with that we put her back in the bathroom and kept eating. She hopped out immediately and went under the table and startled Maria de Guadalupe (and vice-versa). I picked her up and held her in my lap and proceeded to pet her and scratch her softly. The girls joined in. Then Teresita surprised me by suddenly splaying out her side and lying prone, so we continued to softly scratch and pet her.

Then she suddenly jutted out her neck and chin, offering us her most tender spot without fear or doubt, and I scratched her ever so gently, at which point she fell asleep. After it was time for me to go, I carefully lifted her and put her in Lupe's lap, who was on the couch, and she fell back to sleep. Her head stirred when she heard the garage door, but when I called home at 2:48 PM, Teresita was still asleep in Lupe's lap. I left at 2:20. Talk about a patient 9-year-old!

So, that is what we know about little Teresita so far.

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