Arrival Story: Harlow announced her arrival, one foggy 3am, in the spare tire of my [now bequeathed to my mechanic] '92 Dakota: Mew! Mew! Mew! Her cries pierced the fog and woke the whole airport-adjacent neighborhood. She was starving, and had determined what to do about it.
She let Abbott rescue her, from some fate somewhere, and carry her home to his 6-member pride of similarly rescued felines, with the help of Ash, his boyfriend Charlie, and the venerable, kindly, valiant papa Tobias. Charlie and Tobias were not pack members, until that day, but lead the village effort to keep and raise this child.
It took 3 days of kitty cartwheels, and all-night demonstrations of bellyrubs and kisses with the gawky hairless ape creature to get her in the door, but once she had one foot inside the garage, that house was home. I lost track of her in minutes, saw the forumula-bowl gone dry and heard the cries: Mew! Mew! New bowl in hand, I sat, and called, and waited. Finally the mews grew closer. Inquisitive. I put the bowl down, stood up, and called again. Kitty? Mm, kitty? Let's get you a name: I'll try a few, and you say when. 'K? [mew.]
And there she was, front and center, sitting on her haunches, forepaws at attention, very keen to this verbal communication business. She, you see, could as like have been a he, at what the vet determined must have been the three week mark (when they met, two weeks later). When we discovered that he, Arlo, was a she, I wasn't sure what to do. I don't go around assigning names, willy nilly. He just seemed like an Arlo. How to feminize Arlo? The vet tech had it: just add an H! And a w, and e... Et voila: Harlow P. Webster, smartest cat I ever met.
Bio: *UPDATE* Harlow is alive, and feral, and living in an alley a block from the house I've been working to get us all out of. Moving in to the new place commences when [I've pulled out the carpet and dealt with whatever's underneath, and] got her in hand. East Bay happen-to-read-this-ers are way beyond welcome to come over and help. Herding cats, in particular a young super genius charmer like Miss Harlow, ain't a 1-girl job.
HARLOW IS MISSING after a series of traumatic encounters the first week of August, some part of a retaliatory eviction in progress. Landlady's volatile husband walled Harlow and Ash into the crawlspace, with petrified rat carcasses and broken DIY plumbing disasters, but not quite food or water, where he'd been advised that young miss sheltered after a dog bite-and-shake after a red velvet ant encounter. That red velvet ant visit was harrowing: my own recovery from a stinger to the knee took more than a week. She seems to have suffered a stroke, and was partially deaf when last seen, 8/1/12, on Emeric Ave x 19th Street in San Pablo, CA. The rest of the pride has been in lure-her-home mode ever since, with play and feeding behaviors that got her to me from the spare tire of my truck, when she was 2 wks old. Given her penchant for truck-hiding, and the assault on her former repose, she could be pretty much anywhere. A distinctive scar on her belly, from the below, and the HomeAgain chip in her neck, are nearly foolproof clues to her ID.
Harlow lies in hospital, this weekend, after cheating the jaws of Cerberus or some other 5" maw-spread bearing beast. Something crushed her middle so hard it tore her muscles from the bone - second such event - and emergence of things held back by same. The pride has not stopped pacing since placing her back in my arms, Friday night/Saturday morning. Only Griselda is as keenly human-language adept, so she's busy translating every hour or so, when the very hungry sleepless boys whimper, weary: Harlow's at the doctor's. She'll be home, soon."
If you've got any tips on best practices for rib frx/avulsion/hernia surgery recovering kittens [she's my first babycat] and how one keeps them restricted to small spaces and safe from standard jumpy type behavior, please lay them in the comments, early and often. 10hrs and counting...
Griselda, alpha female of the pride, passed on Valentine's morning and now prowls the rainbow bridge. So look out. Mom's been so busy since Griselda showed up and took over household management, sometime around July, 2012, that our human hasn't even put together a profile celebrating this most magnificent beast. So I'll offer up a little holding place, right here in my diary:
J is not sure what she's going to do, without her.
Griselda made sure everyone was accounted for, each morning and each night. This meant J could be dragged off to bed, before the sun came up most days, and boy did Gris make sure she slept at least 5hrs every single night. Every one of them. This is no mean feat, when you've survived what J's been through with that creepy weird pasty faced hairless wannabe ape she accidentally married once upon a stupid, who took all our moneys and gives them out to other brutes just to see that she stays broken and jumpy… And that Sven never walks or jumps or hunts or predicts human behavior quite right ever again, and that I hide under neighbors houses and Abbott gets to where he thinks I'm waiting for him way across two towns after a 14month trek, and that J can't plan our impending household's move anywhere that'd mean I'd have to cross a major road [freeway, they call them] or bridge to find my pride… pant… Griselda had all this handled, see, and made sure everyone ate, five times a day, even the foster kitties we keep under our house and here in the neighbor's crawlspace with me, and THEN Griselda would ask for food for her own self. And she got to eat under the desk where our human spends most of her time, struggling to get herself and our stuff back, just a little of it so she can keep us in crunches and rabies shots [hello. I'm two years past due on mine, and Ash is starting to look a little foamy around the fangs, himself. mom. hi.].
Griselda was Queen.
She worked so hard making sure our star-studded world maintained its orbit that she let something take over her right kidney and turn it all hard and lumpy. Didn't say a word til she started screaming them, about 2 wks back. J had kept Beauregard going for years, with subcutaneous fluids and hand-fed raw livers, and was prepared to do that for a decade if mama Gris would let her. And she would have. But not that thing that took her kidney.
J got her to the nice fill-in lady doctor just in time - actually the whole office stayed through their lunch hour just to see Griselda off - and while waiting for the tech to come and shave her leg for her sleepy-time shot, she offered one last happy-cat routine to let mom know all was well with the saying-bye-bye plan: she hopped down for a lap around the exam room, sniffer at ready, but only had enough oomph for 1.5 steps of that stroll. She stretched her paw out, and collapsed, and let mama J hold her hand one last time. They purred together gently on the floor. Then the shaving, and the shots. Mama J cooed at her and told Griselda how much she loved her, and would always love her, fiercely and forever. And then Griselda passed. And it was kind of beautiful. Not the horrifying no-no-don't-make-me-make-this-decision that struck J down when, say, Beauregard, or Percival, or Phillip had to go, too soon. This was as a death of a Queen should be.
Griselda rules, OK.
And if I can just get the guts to let her call me to the car, to the yard, to the walk, and to the house then inside, and if I stayed there a minnit,my mommy J just might be ok.
There's no modulated way to say this, so I'll keep it short (mom, a writer and editor in her most recent past life, finds a rolicking case of otherwise-keeps-us-breathing-despite-some-bad-stuff PTSD gets in the way of perfectly balanced prose): you remember how i went feral, last August, after the Red Velvet Ant encounter, after the skunk trappings and surgical interventions, after the landlord walled me and Ash into a crawlspace, and then that same guy hired local no-goodniks to do horrible things to us in broad daylight in our very own garage, which then got emptied of all the stuff mom was hoping to move to the new place? Well, I didn't make it to the new place. Mom came back just about every day for months, fed me, made sure I knew i was loved and stuff, took the kitten I brought to her just before the move and gave her a place in the new home, and even kidnapped my BFF Serena before her kittens were born. Well, maybe it was Serena coming back here, when the kittens got big enough to stay on their own with the pack, or maybe it was Abbott feeling his way to his best girl, the kitten he adopted at 2wks (me) after his beloved son Percival was... but that hurst too much to... WHATEVER HAPPENED it seems I've returned to my pack. I'm HOME! Not inside, mind you, but mom knows I love her, the pack keeps me very well fed and the whole neighborhood can see I'm relaxed and very, very happy.
Take after my amazing adoptive Uncle Ash, I do.
Just so you know.