This one time, I accidentally adopted a pair of Siamese cats.
You might be wondering, “how does one accidentally adopt a cat?” It’s fairly simple. You kid yourself into thinking you’ll foster this pair of beautiful kittens with bright blue eyes that seem endless. You find your way to the shelter, and the adorable little lady kitten leaps onto your leg as if she was one of those decorations people used to put on their crocks because they fit into the holes. She just kind of hung there, staring at me. Let’s be real – that was the moment she was mine. Her brother flitted about, nervous about having someone new in the kennel. He seemed skeptical, but unfortunately for him he was also destined to come home with me.
I changed their names pretty quickly. No cuddly kitten needs to be named Morticia and Gomez – though, it’s a pretty cute couple name when you think about it. I renamed Morticia and Gomez as Dory and Nemo. The Adams Family just didn’t seem suitable for the little balls of fur that had taken up residence in my apartment. Dory and Nemo were great kittens; they were so easy! Both of them loved car rides, stealing socks, and nerf darts. What more could you ask for?
After the end of that school year, I moved back to my parents’ house and brought Dory and Nemo with me. My parents knew without a doubt I had adopted them instead of fostering, but leave it to Dory and Nemo to grow on them fast enough that they didn’t care we now had five cats at home. The other three cats were indoor-outdoor pets, so they took refuge outside when the Siamese kittens were too much energy and play for them. I didn’t want to let Dory and Nemo outside because I knew I wouldn’t be at my parents’ house forever and it wasn’t fair to teach them about the outdoors then take that opportunity away from them.
So you can imagine my distress when Nemo went missing.
There are woods surrounding my parents’ house which is in a fairly rural area. Nemo had gotten out a few times over the winter, but we always found him within an hour or two. When Nemo went missing, it was around my birthday over the summer. To make matters worse, I was supposed to leave for a horse show that afternoon. My grandmother mentioned she hadn’t seen the “Siamese Mafia” as they’re so lovingly referred to which worried me. She often didn’t shut our backdoor with enough force; it blew open if you didn’t slam it. When I went to check, I opened the door and there Dory was. Chirping (we do call her Chirpy) her greeting, Dory toddled on in the house and waited for a treat like she’d seen the other outdoor cats do. But Nemo?
My heart stopped and I’m pretty sure I ran barefoot into the backyard to check the places he had hung out in the last time he had an outdoor rampage. My grandmother assured me he wasn’t outside, she would have noticed! But my gut said differently. My instincts told me he was in the woods, and for some reason I had this feeling that he was in a wood pile. One of the outdoor cats greeted me and casually walked towards this wood pile in the trees behind our house, but I didn’t think much of it. I was ready to call my trainer and say I wasn’t coming to the show. I didn’t think much of the other cat’s behavior until a few hours went by and lots of tears (Ok, in my defense we had lost a cat the year before in the woods) had fallen, and I heard the tiniest of chirps come from this massive wood pile in our yard. Nemo was meowing as loudly as he could which, for the record isn’t loud at all, shaking and waiting for me to save him.
I wrapped him up in a shirt and carried him back to the house because he had leaves, dirt, and all kinds of things stuck in his long fur. Dory chirped happily when she saw him, starting to comfort him by cleaning his wet fur. And me? I learned one of the most important lessons I’ve ever been taught: trust your intuition and trust the other animals for they’ll tell you what you need to know. Have a horse who gets nervous while you’re on a trail ride walking through mud? Maybe they’re trying to tell you something.
Trust your gut, listen to your instincts, and believe what your animals are trying to tell you.