Last year, I had to say good bye to one of my family members – albeit four-legged – my kitty Liz.
It so happened (God’s perfect timing, no doubt) that I could fully grieve for one day and then I met Sam – back then a friend, now a husband.
We kept talking about animals at home, and I missed Liz, so I talked Sam (and he allowed himself to be talked into) getting a kitty. Next was choosing what kind. He likes the breeds with no hair (Sphinx), I prefer cats to be warm and fluffy (and Sphinxes for me are like Joey from Friends said: “It’s inside out!”).
The compromise was a Devon Rex. They have hair like people (and poodles), so they are hypoallergenic, and also their hair is very short and curly.
About a week ago, we started looking at ads for the kittens and stumbled upon a couple that intrigued us. One turned out to be something weird (the ad said the owner’s from Kyiv and turned out she’s from southern Ukraine). Considering the political situation in Ukraine at the moment, I was wary of getting entangled with another region. The other ad interested me more and the lady I exchanged messages with was far more friendlier than the first one. The only thing was that this cat was already 2.5 years old.
“But they live to 10 years or longer… That’s at least 7.5 years together.”
Sam agreed to go look and make a decision. We borrowed a basket for a cat from my coworker, and went to a little town near Kyiv to see the cat.
However, when we came to the building, I realized that I don’t know the apartment number. I knew the building, I knew the entrance number, but no apartment number and it’s a big building. The lady didn’t answer her phone.
We sat next to the entrance, slightly crestfallen because both didn’t want to give up so easily, but had no idea what to do.
A man walked out of the building.
Sam jumped to his feet. “Excuse me, sir, do you, by chance, know any people in this building who are selling cats?”
“I’m renting the apartment and moved in just recently.”
We continued sitting on the bench. A lady and her daughter walked out.
“Excuse me, do you by chance know anyone who’s selling cats here?”
“No, I’m not from here.”
“Oh, okay, sorry.”
We sat back, feeling more and more defeated by the moment. Here we are, with a pink basket, on the street, 50 kilometers away from home (without a car), waiting for something.
One more lady walked by, towards the entrance. Sam and I looked at each other. “Shall we try? I’ll go.”
I ventured… “Um, excuse me, maybe you can help us. Do you, by chance, know if there’s a lady here who sells cats? Her name’s Elena.”
The lady looked at me, smiling wryly. “Would you also like to get a couple of dogs? Come on, I’ll show you where she lives.”
Turned out it was her neighbor. (Thank God for sending her.)
Finally we were in the apartment. Lena brought out Zara, the kitty we originally wanted to get. She’s a red haired Devon Rex, 2.5 years old, and sterilized. Since we didn’t really have any time for kittens, the fact that she already was sterilized was a good thing.
I took her in my arms.
“The only thing is, you should feed her twice a day and watch that she doesn’t overeat, or else she’ll have health problems.”
I looked at Sam. “That might be a problem because then we won’t be able to even stay overnight somewhere because we’ll have to come and feed her. And asking someone to watch over her would be a hassle too.”
The air started slowly leaving my happiness balloon. The other kittens were way too expensive for us…
“We have another cat.”
Elena went and brought Athena, Zara’s daughter. I took her in my arms and she immediately cuddled there and started purring.
“This is her daughter. She is about one year old and also sterilized. She was already bought before, so there was no ad on the website about her… but the owner returned her.”
Turned out, the gal who got Athena wanted quick money (Devon Rex kittens are not cheap) and had Athena pregnant at 8 months old (that’s pretty much the same as a human girl of 12 getting pregnant these days i.e. way too early.) Because the cat was still a kitten herself, she had rough time being pregnant and afterwards, the gal who bought her wanted to get rid of her – either sell her on the usual market or return to the original owner.
The other factor that helped that decision was that the new owner lived in Crimea (southern peninsula in Ukraine) and the political situation there was really unstable (right now, it’s annexed to Russia all of a sudden…)
So Athena, after spending three months in a place where she was just a money-making incubator, returned back to Kyiv.
After hearing this story, all the while holding a purring Athena in my arms, I looked at Sam. “Let’s take her?”
“How much do you ask for her?” I asked the owner, in my thoughts already counting the cash that we had to buy Zara.
“Same price as for Zara, since she is also sterilized. I just want her to have a good and loving home.”
The decision was made.
1.5 hours later, we were finally home with our new family member – Athena, our super-social, fun-loving, purring, talkative cat.