May 21, 2005 — A couple of months ago, I dropped by our friend Rob’s house. He was away, but Carolyn, another American, was there. She showed me a small kitten, looking to be two months old or so. A few days earlier, Carolyn had come upon the kitten on the lookout of the house, with a large tomcat about to attack her. Carolyn ran off the tomcat and fed the very thin kitten, who had the good sense to stick around the patio.
“She’s the sweetest little thing,” Carolyn said, picking her up and stroking her. “I’m sure she’d turn into a great pet in no time.” The kitten was a soft orange color and displayed the mellow qualities that often go with orange cats.
I was enchanted and took a turn holding the wary but purring little fluffball. Carolyn (a great cook) gave me some little bits of chicken for the kitty.
“She can’t stay here,” Carolyn told me. “Rob is allergic to cats.”
“He knows a lot of people in Bernal,” I said. “I bet he can help you find her a home.”
“He said the only people he could think of were you guys.”
Uh-oh. Should I have said “No, thanks” at that moment? Kelly and I are animal lovers but we have never taken in strays. I gulped and started to say no but the kitten was so happily curled up in my lap with such a loud purr that I agreed to at least think about it.
I went home and told Kelly. After some discussion, he agreed to at least go look at the cat — provided our landlord and next-door neighbor Francisco would agree to feed her while we went back to the United States.
Francisco agreed. Kelly met the kitten. We thought about the lack of other choices for the cat. And we agreed to take her.
Carolyn brought the kitten over the next day. She soon acquired the name of Misty, discovered several places where she could get behind things and be safe, and purred so much and so loudly that I called her the motor of the universe. She sometimes slept with us on our bed, and other times preferred her own little cat basket we’d found at the crafts market in nearby Tequisquiapan.
After we’d had her about a week, we went out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, leaving her with the run of the patio, which hadn’t yet been enclosed as it is now. When we came home, she was crouching wild-eyed in a corner and there were bits of her fur and her poop scattered around the floor. She had been attacked by one of the many free-roaming cats in the neighborhood. Was it Francisco’s cat from next door, Capullo, who was a frequent visitor, or another one of the toms we’d seen in our yard? We had no way of knowing. Misty was pretty traumatized and we were more careful to keep her in. She had already been wary around Capullo but also played with him. He would sometimes play with her, despite his adult status. I think he’s a young adult.
Her wariness toward Capullo did a complete about-face one night when she began uttering mournful little cries. Our baby was in heat, and oh how she yearned for Capullo, who of course stayed around our place almost all the time, deftly navigating roofs and walls to come see us. He is part-Siamese and seems to have inherited all the genes for talkativeness, so we always knew when he was arriving.
We revised our estimate of her age upwards a bit and borrowed a rabbit cage from Rob. Misty spent a few days in there. It had been years since I had been around a cat in heat, and she was so soft, so beguiling… it was fascinating.
With time, Misty was less afraid of Capullo but he did attack her quite often and she would usually run under the bed where he couldn’t go. He sprayed a rug by the bed to mark his territory. Kelly had put the roof on the patio, and we were glad when he got the doors and glass in, and we could keep Capullo out. We slept a little better without his early-morning visits. He still came in the yard.
I wished we could take her back to the United States with us, but I had agreed to leave her here when we decided to take her. Kelly was very clear that she would greatly complicate what is already going to be a very busy time. We will be doing some traveling in the U.S. as well as deciding what to do with our two other cats and our dog before we return here. My mind could easily see his logic, but my heart ached. Misty would lie on my chest as I napped in the afternoon, keeping the universe on track with her purrs, while I shed more than a few tears.
It is not simple to create a life where you have animals and also have a lot of freedom to travel. I knew that, but now I was staring it right in the face. Things turned around emotionally for me one day when in a kind of meditative state, I received the message from Misty that she wanted to stay here. Over ten years ago Kelly and I had produced a video, Telepathic Communication with Animals, featuring Penelope Smith, and ever since then we had become more telepathic ourselves.
So I paid attention when Misty said she belonged here. She went on to say that I had been her second mother but that she was growing up fast and would not need a mother soon. She reminded me how attached cats are to their places, and she said she loved living in our house here in Bernal. She loved feeling safe and she loved having food to eat. She had already told Kelly once that she had chosen Bernal to be born in because she was interested in what’s going on here, the healing energies and the people that are drawn to them.
Over the years, Kelly and I have come to trust these kinds of communications. So we worked out our plans. Francisco will feed her a couple of times a day. A Mexican friend will spend some weekends here. An American friend will come by to play with Misty now and then when he is in town. We will be in touch telepathically. Kelly built Misty her own totally enclosed yard and she can come and go from the house via the cat door. This also eliminates the need for litter boxes. Capullo and any other cats can visit but not get to her.
Misty in her totally enclosed yard, seen from above
She has the balls she loves to play with.
There was also the matter of ensuring that she doesn’t get pregnant. A retired veterinarian was going to spay her, but he was away and when he returned, he had broken bones in his hand. While the first vet was away, we had found a local veterinarian who was of the opinion that birth-control shots (not available in the US but widely used in the rest of the world) were the way to go, and we had had him come to the house and give her the first shot.
I phoned a veterinarian in Tequisquiapan, and he said he could do the spaying the next day. I got directions to his clinic — my first successful phone call in Spanish — and then asked the price. “Mil seiscientos,” he said. I couldn’t believe it. Sixteen hundred pesos, about $150 US? I said no thanks. Later I found out that the concept of doing low-cost spays is not common in towns though some of the cities have free programs. For now, we will stick with the shots, and when we come back we will see about spaying. Misty had her second shot yesterday and will need one in a month, then every six months. We favor spaying. Misty has told us she might like to have kittens. I must admit that Misty-Capullo babies would be enchanting but we have told her that we are not into kittens and that’s part of the deal for living with us.
Every time there has been a frustrating delay in getting our FM-3 visas, the silver lining has been more time with Misty. Soon we will part from her… and knowing she is here will help keep me on track in getting down the various tasks that await us north of the border.