But then one beautiful clear evening, we were taking a walk in our new neighborhood in Jordan. Down the street was an empty field with a trash bin, surrounded by apartment buildings. As we walked toward it, we heard an odd sound, like a small animal crying. Out from the trash bin ran a tiny, filthy, orange kitten, crying piteously at the top of its lungs. It ran right for us.
To this day, I have no idea why, but I knelt down and held out my hands in the street. The dirt-encrusted kitten ran right up into my hands. I stood up, he nestled down into my palms, and we started walking on as if nothing had happened.
As we walked, we decided that he was clearly very ill and we couldn't let him die alone in a garbage dump, so we'd take him home to die in comfort.
We walked by an apartment building where we could hear children playing in the back yard. The dying kitten stood up in my hands, and craned his neck to try to see the children, as if he wanted to go play with them.
Okay, maybe he might live, but then we'd get him adopted, since we weren't going to have any more cats.
We got him home and put him in the bathroom, where it was warm, and he had food and water. He was very grateful.
Well, maybe not. But you had to excuse him. He wasn't well.
That night I woke up in the middle of the night to hear him gasping for breath. The mucous had covered his nose, and he couldn't breathe. I held him and kept it clear until it passed. The vet came the next day and said he had a 50-50 chance.
Boot, who was about 8 by then, was hoping for the worst. He didn't need a new friend. He didn't need competition. We had promised no more cats, and he doesn't like liars.
But Gus lived...and Boot decided he kind of liked the little guy.
Sort of. Does he have to sit on Mommy?
And what's with the spots on that tummy? Isn't he kind of...strangely proportioned?
But Gus grew up fat and happy. He had lived in three different countries with us by the time he was three. He's now having a great time out in the country, ruling the household.
Sometimes it just works out...