Shady Cat Pet ID: 2014
My hang out: Schuyler, VA

My mug shots …

Here’s my story ...

Hi, I am a preschool teacher, and the current director of our school.
About mid to late July 2019 I had a small group of kids on our playground with a couple of teachers. I was inside cleaning, and putting off doing paperwork. Earlier in the morning one of the teachers reported hearing a cat meowing at different places around the playground, and one teacher tied to catch the cat. No success. Around five in the evening I swapped out with another teacher to let them do some cleaning while I watch children. The meowing was heard again, and this time we spotted the critter, only it wasn’t a full-grown cat. Instead, it was a roughly 10 week old, three-quarter starved kitten. It got close enough to the fence for us to see pretty clearly hell starved he was, even with the long matted hair you could still see each and every bump in his spine. The kids begged me to catch him, and make the kitty feel better. As things like this have happened in the past, I have a small live catch trap that I keep at school for such occasions. I showed the trap to the kids and told them that when they all went home, so the playground was all the way quiet, I would put the trap out and try to catch the kitty and help him. So, the kids all leave I set the trap and beat it with a chunk of cream cheese because I don’t actually have any cat food on hand, and go about my business. Checking a little later, the cream cheese is gone but the trap hadn’t been triggered. (Must have set the pressure plate too heavy for the three quarters starved kitty to trigger) I baited the trap again with a little cream cheese and this time added a string to the trigger mechanism, then walked far enough away that I could still see the trap but not be too noticeable to the kitten. Within 15 minutes the kitten came back and was caught. Now, up to this point my plan had been to catch the kitten, get a good meal in him, and turn him over to someone else. I had no intention of adding a kitten to my already unstable housing situation or to my already over extended emotional and mental health. (Nutshell: 2017-2019 had been very rough, and by August’19 very few people knew what exactly was going on in my private life. I know this is a tease, and I will add more on this later.)
However, somewhere between fishing do you extremely loud, and surprisingly deep toned, yowling ball of orange fur out of the trap and looking for some leftover chicken to feed him, I realized I wasn’t sending him anywhere. I was gonna have to keep him. What happened was that the moment I cuddled the scratching, biting, yelling little bag of bones, he went still and quiet. He didn’t relax, but he did calm quite a bit. Very surprising in such a wild kitty, and he was wild born and not someone’s lost pet. (I have relocated several wild kittens over the years and found a couple lost pets as well. You can tell the difference.)

Nyx is now about a year old and has gone from being a just bigger then palm-sized bag of bones to being about 9 pounds of opinionated catatude, He has learned to wear a harness and mostly will walk on a leash, and visits the different classrooms at school frequently. He travels with me, a lot. He has even been to a Harry Potter festival. (My sister wanted to go, and I somehow forgot about the Wizarding World’s noted cats. He spent the day pretending to be Crookshanks, made a kitten again by accidental exposure to one of Lockheart’s potions.)
He has gotten to go to Tractor Supply, Lowe’s, and any other animal friendly store in my area. We have gone to PetSmart and other pet supply shops so he can watch the fish and the Guinea pigs, and gone Pokémon hunting at the local downtown mall. (Think historic, cobblestone, tiny shops, etc). He has surprised more then one person at a traffic light by looking out a side window at them, and has attended several game nights as well.
He is my buddy, and showed up at one of my darkest times. Having him around during the fall and winter has made the difference between me staying somewhat sane and me hopping on my motorcycle and abandoning everyone and everything to live on the road. He has made a huge difference in how I have been able to deal with current events and times too, making sure that even though I want to completely shut down I have someone to cuddle and hug. Someone to comfort me when I cry. Basically, a reason to give a damn anymore.

Being a teacher I am short on cash a lot of the time, so I had to save up so I could get him microchipped. When I was filling out the online forms and history for Nyx, I was asked for his birthday, or an approximate one at least. Thinking about when I had caught him, and counting back around 10 weeks or so, I picked May 3rd. for his birthday. See, Nyx appeared in July, very close to my mom’s birthday, and May 3rd. was my dad’s birthday. May 3rd. 2019 was also the day day that mom was finally reunited with dad in whichever afterlife you choose to believe in. For me the timing of the dates are a reminder from both of my parents that there is always light in the dark, and that I can make the light keep getting brighter, as long as I remember to love and allow myself to be loved. (And I do love the little fuzzy orange bugger, even when he jumps up on a stack of folders during a zoom meeting and, thankfully out of camera range, pees on them and then proceeds to sing at the top of his lungs.)

Author – Katherine C.

Shady Pet Awards/Notes:

  • Rescue pet

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