A black cat dropped into my life over a year ago, and he's had such an impact on my life I haven't gotten around to blogging about him yet.
I first met him hanging around the parking lot of the community college where I work in January 2008. My campus is bucolic – perfect for a cat, as there are many hidey holes, lots of vegetation, flat and hilly terrain, and plenty of critters to play with and prey on.
But This Cat really liked people. I would come up the steps of the library, walk to my car, and The Cat would run over and greet me as if I was a very familiar friend – his question mark tail, hanging lazily in the air.
Not to say that he didn't make friends with my colleagues (many of whom are catfolks too).
They even named him – “Dewey” – after Melvyl Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, a library classification scheme. Dewey is a boy. Had he been a girl, it's very likely he would have picked up the name Elsie (“LC”) for Library of Congress Classification system – that's the one most academic libraries use and the one my library uses. I know, saddling a mysterious cat with a reference to a classification system of knowledge…well, I'm sure there are cats out there with names more sublime and ridiculous…
But Dewey's story was a mystery. My campus has two feral cat colonies, and he looked like he didn't below to either. Though he was a bit thin, his coat was ok, and he was just too friendly to be a Feral Kampus Kitty. Over several weeks, he would show up just before sunset, and we'd hang out in the parking lot behind the library. I started bringing him snacks, and I opened up my car to him. Before long, he was hanging out in my car as we both listened to the BBC news on NPR. It was dinnertime in Hawaii, and Dewey and I were hearing about tomorrow already.
I was getting home later and later, and F was curious to know what was up. F loves cats too, and we talked about having one come and live with us (because you know that no home is really complete without a cat, or dog, or bird – that's the way I grew up) but the biggest problem: What to do when we travel? If you get hung up on questions like these, you'll probably never get what you want.
Dewey and I met during in winter. Winter in Hawaii is absolutely glorious in that it is windy, and rainy, and cool. I felt bad leaving Dewey at night, but my campus has plenty of buildings on pillar and post where he could find shelter, and the temperature never dropped below 60. I made sure he had a tummy full of food before I left.
One very windy night I worked until about 8PM – a little later than the time Dewey and I would meet. I climbed the stairs from the library entrance and walked to my car. I heard a strange, disembodied meow coming from….where?
I walked back and forth around the parking lot, and the meowing got stronger and then more faint…for 5 minutes I walked around, and around, and around, only to discover that Dewey…
was in the parking lot storm drain!
I fished out a flashlight from my car, beamed the light through the grate, and saw a very unhappy cat staring up at me.
We have a crackerjack security team at KCC. I called Wayne, who came over with a large crowbar. We lifted the grate up, and I climbed down to get a very relieved Dewey. Dewey was so anxious to get out of there that he helped himself out using the climbing rungs!
Of course, this made it more imperative that I make a decision about bringing him home with me. There were a few other pieces to the puzzle that needed solving.
Dewey and I hung out from Monday to Friday – I went to find him on Saturday, but he wasn't around. Sunday–same thing. F actually began to put the pieces together – he suspected that he was somebody's cat who came to KCC during the week when people were around. Ok. made sense. KCC is surrounded by the neighborhoods of Kaimuki and Kahala
But whose cat was he? Time to find out.
My boss loaned me her cat carrier, and I took Dewey in to see if he was chipped – he was, and the veterinarian would call the owner and tell him/her about me.
An hour later, I got a call from a woman named Heather. I told her that I had really fallen for Dewey.
I popped the question whether I could take Dewey home, and to my joy she said yes! Dewey was one of six who was hand-fed as a baby (his mother was killed by the next door neighbor), so he's extraordinarily bonded with people.
It seems that Dewey has a half-brother at her house – right across the street from KCC – that didn't like him. Dewey was exiled to roam outside because of this, but would return to his home for food. Heather was grateful that he was going to a good home, and, if for some reason it didn't work out at home, I could bring him back. I couldn't believe my good luck that day!
I have much more to say about this cat, and will add more information later…
pics to come!
Dewey loves to be vacuumed (!), and loves boxes: