When McCallum people leave town for a couple days, it’s not uncommon for them, while in the city, to purchase items for family and friends back home; items that aren’t easily acquired via snail mail, the ferry, or the Internet; anything from tiny mechanical parts at Canadian Tire, to a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Occasionally these errands are run as a matter of convenience, and other times because some folks don’t like to leave McCallum—a preference that I respect.
So it is no surprise to me when I’m asked to pick up something in the city. I’m happy to help. But this past weekend was different: I was asked to acquire a kitten—a job that I was pleased to assist with, but an assignment that turned into an adventure when the address and contact name I was given didn’t exist.
So what to do? Do I return to McCallum without a kitten? Or find one? Well, thanks to the attentive tracking of a few hardworking Hermitage residents (Janet, Nancy, Brian, Georgia, Megan, Kendra, and Lucy), I found a stray kitten named Sookie at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, grabbed it on my way to the early ferry Sunday morning, and held it in my arms for the next two hours, afraid that if it got away from me on the Terra Nova, it was gone for good.
All things considered, that cat was more relaxed than many of the ferry passengers. And less than a dozen weeks old, it is one cute kitten. It’s a tortoiseshell—a patchy colouring of black, orange, cream, and chocolate. Tortoiseshell being a colouring that is almost exclusive to female cats, it’s not uncommon for such a complexion to present itself in a ‘split-face’ fashion, with orange on one side and black on the other, divided by a line that runs straight down the middle of the nose. Such was the case with this soon-to-be McCallum kitten.
Cats of this colour are believed to bring good luck. In countries that worship money—nations like the USA and Canada—tortoiseshells are sometimes called money cats. Tortoiseshells have a reputation among cat owners for not only being distinctly coloured, but having a well-defined attitude. According to Wikipedia, tortoiseshells are believed to be “strong-willed and fiercely independent,” not unlike this kitten’s new owner, who lives alone and has a reputation for treating his pets like kings and queens, but was currently without one given the recent passing of a pair of his precious pussycats.
I had to smile when, upon acquiring his new orphaned kitten, this fellow served up a plate that contained a portion of cat food as large as the kitten itself—a ration the skinny little cat was happy to consume. As a previous owner of (eight) cats (including two tortoiseshells), I was happy for this man and kitten. I was pleased to know of the pleasure, and the company, that the two will share for many years to come. So I told them both that when the day comes, less than one year from now, for this feline to get fixed, that I’ll gladly take her for a trip out of town to visit the vet. But at that point, I’ll probably want to carry her in a cage, as I don’t expect her to willingly want to leave her life in McCallum even for a couple days. Not unlike her owner.