Give a Cat a Home part II
It was just after 10:00 on a frigid February night in 2001. The temperature was minus 10° with a minus 25° wind chill. The GVSU downtown campus buildings were dark and the parking lots empty as everyone had left long ago. Amber was walking home from her GVSU office, when something darted across the deserted road under the US 131 S Curve. She saw the black shape sneaking behind the parking garage and thought it was a possum. Amber crouched down to peer into the dark space and called out to the mysterious animal. Shortly there came out a timid, frightened little kitten. To her surprise, this little bundle of fur allowed itself to be scooped up. Amber held the little kitten snugly and tucked her safely inside her thick winter coat as she continued her walk across the blue foot bridge over the Grand River. When she reached the other side, she went into Kinko’s to borrow the phone and call her friend John. The kitten didn’t want to be let down and stayed tightly in Amber’s arms. After what seemed an eternity, John arrived. Of course, he had had to stop to buy food, a box and toys for the kitten. At Amber’s apartment, the kitten, who had been christened Punky because she was so, so small, became playful, energetic and was running in and out of paper bags.
Punky quickly grew fond of her rescuers and decided to adopt them. She moved to John’s house where she met her new brother Big Kitty (Hoosier) who Amber and John had found roaming downtown streets in August 1998.
Always an overindulgent father, John bought Punky her own kitty bed to match Hoosier’s, along with many new toys and lots of treats. Her life turned from being alone, hungry and afraid to one of loving attention.
It took about three weeks for Hoosier to really welcome Punky, but once he did, the two of them became inseparable. Each had their own cat bed, which were identical except for size. Hoosier, at 15 lbs. always stuffed himself into the smaller bed, meanwhile, Punky, at about 6 lbs. was swimming in the large bed. They loved lying next to each other in the warm light of a bright sun beam or next to the warm heating vents, usually together. The one exception was when people were around. Hoosier did not mind the commotion. Punky preferred quiet and calm and sought refuge under a bed, under a dresser or up in her cat tree.
Punky stayed quite small for about 3 years. She did not get spayed until she was close to 4 years old because of some anomalies in her blood tests. Her veterinarian thought anesthesia might be risky in her early years. Once she was spayed she gained some weight and got up to 8- 10 lbs. She was still quite small compared to her brother Hoosier, who always seemed to be twice her size.
Punky’s six toes on her front paws made her very unique. While she was small, her paws seemed large. It was like she has opposing thumbs. She also had very soft fur. Someone at Cat Clinic said “rabbit fur”. Those traits along with the symmetrical coloring on her nose and face and her big round eyes really make her a very pretty kitty.
Punky loved to be petted and her motor purred quite loudly. Other than her purring, she was not vocal at all. Rarely was there even a meow. However, when she took a car ride (almost always to the veterinarian), she would make the deepest, most guttural growls. Where did that even come from?
Punky adopted a new brother in August of 2012. Amber (of course) found Buddy at an Iowa rest area off of the highway as she was driving back to Michigan. She could not resist giving this small stray kitten a home, which was her car for the next few days. Buddy could be a little handful for Punky, but they still hung out together in a warm sunbeam.
Punky loved her some cat nip and playing with her cat toys, especially the Turbo Scratcher (the toy with the ball in the circular track and a corrugated scratch pad). Punky also loved climbing the cat tree and watching the birds. But, her favorite pastime was always just being next to John. She did not like getting picked up and she did not like sitting on his lap, unless, of course it was her decision. When she decided on her own, to get on John’s lap, she would sit there as long as he stayed seated. And John stayed seated as long as Punky wanted.
She always wanted to be next to John, whether it was on her chair next to him or on his pillow in bed. As she got older the bed was too high to jump on so John bought her some pet steps. She could more easily get on to the bed walking up the carpeted three stair steps. Once she was on the bed, it was straight to his pillow. Sometimes Punky left half of the pillow for John and sometimes she just took the whole pillow.
Punky had become friends with everyone at the Kentwood Cat Clinic over the past five years as she faced a few health obstacles. Mega colon was a major hurdle, but with John’s constant and consistent care and attention, Punky managed the challenge very well. John gave her medication twice a day which included liquids, powders and pills. To make it easier on Punky, John handmade her powders and pills into single dose gel capsules. He also had some of the powders compounded into liquid solutions. Punky and John tested several flavors for the liquid medications before Punky settled on the Vanilla Ice Cream flavor. Punky loved a little treat of vanilla ice cream, so when that flavoring was offered as an option, John knew that was the one. Neither the triple fish nor chicken flavorings could make the cut.
Even though the medicine cocktails took a lot of time to make and administer, it was never a burden. It was just a part of a normal day. John dutifully kept an extensive journal of the medicines to make sure they never missed a day.
As Punky was getting into her senior kitty years, John made sure to be home as much as possible. If he had to be away, then her friend and per sitter, Sara would stay full time in order to give Punky the attention she deserved. John always made sure Punky was cared for.
Punky’s story is a long and happy one. Amber rescued Punky from weather conditions that were not survivable and Punky adopted John and Amber. Then John gave her a forever home.
Punky, Hoosier, Buddy, John, and Amber want everybody to remember to “Give a Cat a Home”.
Rescue, Love, Repeat.
A Poem: Punky-Poem-Cat-of-Month