As oxymoronic as it sounds, the most colorful kittens I have fostered this season were black. I have previously written about the plight of black dogs and cats. They are, tragically, the least adopted and most euthanized group in the rescue world. These poor creatures linger in shelters and foster care. Unfortunately, in many cases, people look for surface beauty not personality when searching for their new canine or feline companion. Thankfully, Planned Pethood is a rescue that does not discriminate by color, age, or health status. Let’s take a look at my latest crop of ebony beauties.
Early on this kitten season, I got a call to pick up the Flinstones. BTW, you have to be of a certain age to even know who the Flinstones are. I took Pebbles and Wilma to meet our kindergarten friends at Beverly Elementary, and when I introduced them as the Flinstones, I just got blank stares. Mrs. Steinman explained that these kids had never seen the cartoon.
Five of the six Stones were good to go but the little black dude had to have his eye removed due to an infection that was left untreated. But unlike most black kittens, he was the first to get adopted. He was only with us for one day! It was a good thing too. He was supposed to be separated from the rest of the kittens so he didn’t get batted in his former eye.
He was having none of it. The bookkeeper at the vet’s office, Thelma, fell in love with him and he currently resides with her family, a BIG kitty and a little dog. His name is now Mike, after the little monster with one eye in Monster’s Inc.
The next black dude who crossed my path was a little spitfire named Horatio. Now really, what do you call a kitty with that name, Hor? So we shortened it to Ratio. This minute maniac child was rescued after he was hit by a car. Thankfully, he didn’t have any serious injuries, just some road rash and a hysterical limp on his back leg (only for a couple of weeks).
The vet said cage rest was mandatory but they forgot to tell Ratio. I separated him in a dog crate with his own food, water, litter box, and toys. Oh h-E- double-hockey-sticks no. Ratio was swinging from the bars like a monkey. Out into the general population for this little black tornado.
He was adopted quickly too. A math professor who loved his name adopted him. My advice to the family was to fasten their seatbelts. They insisted that was exactly the type of kitten they wanted (they actually adopted a buddy for him too). I kept checking my porch for the next couple of days to make sure Ratio wasn’t sitting there with his bags packed ready to return to me.
The most memorable black of the season is Elphaba, for sure. As is usually the case, I got an evening call about a kitten in a dire situation. This one was from my kind-hearted niece Lyndsey. Some deadbeats had ditched a black kitten and there were torrential rainstorms predicted for that night.
After seeking an o.k. from PPI to take her into the program, I asked Lyndsey what she would like to name my new charge. She decided Elphaba, the green witch from the musical “Wicked” would suit her (she wore black, you know black is the new pink). She could not have chosen a more appropriate name.
Elphie purred when I took her from Lyn. But after she was vetted, something seemed wrong. She was acting mean to the other kittens so I reached for her to put her in a crate for a while. To my stunned disbelief, she nailed me with both teeth and claws. Blood was spurting from my hand all over the room.
This was something I had never experienced before. Could she be feral? Thanks to cat foster extraordinaire, Nancy F, for coming to our rescue. She explained that Elph had been traumatized by her experience at the vet. She instructed me to wrap her in a blanket and feed her chicken several times a day until she trusted humans again.
Food is a powerful tool used to redirect the brain. And believe me, it had to be a blanket substantial enough to contain her. She was NOT happy. She made noises I had never heard come from a cat. I thought her little head was going to spin around and we would have to perform an exorcism. But it worked! After a few days, she was my bestie. The purr was nonstop when I held her and she was even more loving than before. Elphaba was adopted in Ann Arbor along with another one of her foster kitten roommates.
As kitten season draws to a close, Mike, Ratio, and Elphaba will remain with me in spirit. They are three kittens I am not likely to forget anytime soon. So, if you are considering adopting, don’t forget to consider the abandoned and forgotten blacks out there. Before I close, I just want to mention my two newest fosters, Ernie and Erma. They are two itty bitty black kittens who were going to be released after they were fixed if Planned Pethood could not find a foster for them. They are happy, funny, and safe. Maybe you will hear more about them in the future.