Sarah Donner's Origins: The Making of a Cat Lady, Part 2
Catster's singing cat lady, Sarah Donner, wasn't always a cat lady. Read Part One of this story here.
It was a gray day in February 2004. My boyfriend at the time was working days and nights, and I was a lonely lady. I just wanted a little cuddly something to keep me company. I had looked into sugar gliders, but they were too expensive. My fascination with hedgehogs was short once I realized that mealworms and crickets would be on the menu.
In desperation, I headed to the pet store for a kitten. I had seen them many times when I went to the store with my boyfriend, who bred freshwater fish. In retrospect I should have gone to the shelter, but I was young, inexperienced, naive -- not even a cat lady yet! There I bonded with a three-month-old black-and-white kitten.
I named him Dunkin, after Dunkin Donuts. Growing up in New England predisposes you to an affinity for the coffee. They are on nearly every street corner. I worked there for two years in high school, and yes, I made the donuts. The smell of coffee grinds, glaze, and grease aren’t easily removed from your polyester uniform ... or your mind.
Anyways, Dunkin came home with me that night, and he satisfied my need for a fuzzy friend. Until ....
A few months later I found another kitten outside my door. I had left the cover off my garbage bin, and the hungry little thing was chewing on an old bagel. Since I already had cat food for Dunkin, I started putting out food for the kitten. Soon word got out. That was the beginning of the end. A feral colony moved in, and soon their kittens came, and their kitten’s kittens.
I’d catch the pokey ones, socialize them, and find them good homes. Unfortunately there were a few slippery ones who kept the cycle going. At the time, I didn’t know about trap, neuter, and releasing (TNR). Sometimes the kitties would be too old or skittish, and I’d give up on finding them a home. We called two of those ones Shosha and Rory.
Shosha likes head scratches and tuna. DO NOT scratch her past her shoulder blades, or she will bite you. When strangers come over, she still hides on the top step of the basement.
Rory is even worse. In the kitchen, and only in the kitchen, she meows incessantly. If we so much as talk about trimming claws, she runs into the basement. To her credit, she has the disposition of a proper, pretty, and trim tabby cat. I’m convinced her slim figure is due to the constant state of fear she lives in, and the fact that she binges and pukes her kibbles if the bowl had been empty for a while.
My favorite cat came to me three years ago. My father-in-law, who owned a garage, started calling me when he discovered kittens were being born in his old cars. Puma Bean Jackson was found in the backseat of a Triumph TR-4, and I fully intended on finding him a home. One day he began following me around like a little shadow, and that was the day he became mine!
Since then I’ve taught Puma Bean how to sit, roll over, and even jump through a hoop. I’m pretty sure he’d learn to use a toilet, but that’d be a waste of time. Trying to train the rest of the crew isn’t worth the amount of retaliatory puke I would have to clean up.
Thanks to our TNR efforts, the feral colony outside my door has thinned out over the years. I have begun fostering for other organizations in the area. The pressure to find homes is off, and I get to play with kittens at their cutest! It’s totally awesome. Drop the kids off and call me grandma.
For now, my cat collection is holding steady at four permanent residents. I do hope to someday have a few more. That will happen when I can afford a bigger place, or I find a cat that can clean up after Rory.