Two weeks ago, as I was walking home from Saturday at HASCON, I heard the sound of a cat crying. Immediately, my heart skipped. I looked around and saw a tiny, black and brown face peaking out from behind a concrete staircase leading into a building down the street from my apartment. I clicked my tongue and a small, tortoiseshell kitten came running into the bushes beside the stairs. She kept crying, clearly trying to get my attention. I set down my bag and my camera (I’d been covering the Hasbro toy convention for Rogues Portal) and then called my partner and asked them to bring a scoop of cat food down the street.
Then I sat down, and the kitten jumped up to say hello. Her fur was greasy, matted in some spots, and visibly dirty. She purred when I touched her but also kept crying, as if she was trying to talk to me. I kept petting her while I waited for Reed to arrive and when they did, we put down the food in front of her and she scarfed down half the dish. I checked for fleas and ear mites — she didn’t seem to have the former, but might have had the latter — and we made the decision, together, to take her back to the apartment.
Our plan was to keep her quarantined in our bathroom for the weekend (away from our other cats, since we didn’t know if she had any communicable diseases like FLV) and then call a local rescue operation to come get her. As you can probably tell from the name of this blog post (or my social feeds, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram), that didn’t happen. We fell in love.
Elektra Meowchios cried out for my attention, then stole my heart and Reed’s. We’d named her before we even brought her back to the apartment. We should have known, at that point, that we were doomed. Reed has been telling me for months — years, even — that we couldn’t have a third cat.
But we certainly couldn’t leave Elektra Meowchios outside. What were we supposed to do?
Luckily, our new roommate understood when I knocked on her door and said, “I brought home a kitten, is that okay?” She’s the real MVP.
At home, we gave Elektra a bath (which she hated) and cleaned her ears (which she also hated). We gave her a purple monster bed Tommen and Jojen haven’t touched since my mom bought it for them (well, me) on clearance at PetSmart last year (it was cute!). We gave her food and water. We snuggled her. And within an hour, we had gone from “we’ll call a rescue!” to “so, we’re keeping her, right?”
That weekend, anytime we left the bathroom, Elektra would scream until one of us came back. We took turns sleeping on the bathroom floor all weekend, then called several vet offices on Monday until we found one with an open appointment for that afternoon. That was a much bigger challenge than expected — even the clinic said they were booking appointments weeks out. (And really, can it call itself a clinic if it doesn’t take walk-ins? Hello?)
No chip. No fleas. No ear mites. No FLV. No worms. Somehow, Miss Elektra Meowchios had lived outside for who knows how long and managed to stay completely healthy. What a little warrior. (Just like her namesake.) She’s about five months old and the perfect size for her presumed age… even though her tail is really, really long.
She’s been with us for two weeks and there are a few things we’ve learned:
- As cuddly as this little baby was when we first brought her home, she’s far more interested in running all over the apartment and playing now. She still cuddles sometimes (and she loves to be pet if you’re in the bathroom/on the toilet), but mostly she doesn’t have time for that.
- She’s a little bit feral. She keeps her claws excessively sharp — we’ve trimmed them just once since she moved in — and she has no qualms about gnawing on you both to a) work on her teething and b) tell you who’s boss.
- We thought that Jojen was gassy, but no. Not compared to Elektra, she isn’t.
- If one of the three food bowls does not match, everyone will fight over who gets the smaller bowl — even though the same amount of food has been put into each dish.
- Having more than one litter box is Very Important.
- Kittens are gangly and awkward and totally not in control of their limbs. We knew this already, but we had forgotten.
- As much as we thought Tommen and Jojen still acted like kittens, they’ve matured and calmed significantly since they were Elektra’s age. Wow.
- Sometimes, the best way to let your two older cats get to know their new baby sister is just to let them sniff each other’s butts and hiss a little. As long as no one gets hurt, it’s all good.
Elektra Meowchios is the first kitten we’ve successfully rescued, though we’ve fed and tried to trap other feral cats in the past. If you want information on how to help feral kittens — whether through TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) or socialization and adoption — check out Hannah Shaw’s Kitten Lady non-profit. I follow her on social media and her tips have been genuinely life-changing.
To keep up with Elektra, Tommen and Jojen, follow them on Instagram! I’m trying to get better about updating their account regularly. For all the thousands of photos of them on my phone, I should post a lot more than I do. Help hold me accountable by following!