Sunday, July 5, 2009

Never Give Up: A Story about Remarkable Thunderstorms

If you've read either of my previous posts through to the end, you've seen our cat, Cheeky. She is our beloved friend--a sweet, funny, caring, sensitive, playful, and curious individual. This is the story of how we met and how we stayed together.

The Streets of Dublin
Our paths first crossed on a fateful day in August 2003. My husband and I were living in Dublin, Ireland. As I was walking home from work along a busy street in Drumcondra, I noticed a group of people kneeling on the path and peering under a parked van. Of course, I had to stop and ask what they were doing.

"There's a kitten under the van; we're trying to lure her out. She'll be killed on this road."

A few people were jangling their keys in hopes that she would be drawn over by playful curiosity. But, she wasn't going for it. There was an in-and-out market nearby, so I went in, bought a pouch of cat food, opened it up...and voila...instant kitten. She was very thin and dirty, and she had a wound on one of her paws. It was obvious that she had been straying for a while, yet she couldn't have been more than eight to ten weeks old at the time.

I did an image search for Drumcondra Road, and I found a shot of the exact place I found her - in front of the Drumcondra Railway Station, near the Centra shop:

No sooner had she come out to eat than everyone quickly moved on and disappeared, leaving me on the kerb with a bedraggled kitty. I scooped her up, brought her home, and she settled in right away. I was touched by her trust and cheerfulness in spite of being so down-trodden.

The next day, having already fallen completely in love, I reluctantly put up some signs around the neighborhood announcing "Kitten Found." My husband and I kept our eyes peeled for any notices of lost kittens. Fortunately for us, no one surfaced and Cheeky was ours by default.

But alas, that wasn't the end of my sign-posting days...

The Thunderstorm
About two months later, Dublin weathered an intense thunder and rain storm that lasted for most of the day. It was a memorable day; the intensity and long-lived nature of the storm was remarkable.

Cheeky was still young and the only outdoor experience she had was playing within the walls of our terrace. This day, the thunder was roaring like cannons and she was frightened. Thoughtlessly, I left the bedroom window open, and in her startled state, Cheeky jumped out.

The Sign Posting
We searched in the rain for hours with no luck. We left food on the window luck. I posted signs on every available pole within a mile radius of our house. We got calls at all hours of the day and night: someone saw a kitten here, someone saw a cat there, but none of them turned out to be Cheeky. Every day, I walked up and down neighboring streets calling her name and rattling her favorite play sign of Cheeky.

Dublin aerial view...zooming in on lost-cat-posting radius area..."Do-do-do-do-do--Doo-do" (unfortunate EastEnders reference (lo siento))

After two months of searching, everyone, my husband included, was telling me to give up: "She's long gone." or "She probably got knocked down by a car."

I posted more signs in a wider radius, adding the details of the day she disappeared - the day of the intense thunderstorm, October 22.

Then, about ten weeks after she had gone missing, I got a phone call: "We have your cat... we have Cheeky."

They had seen one of my extended-radius signs and had a hunch it was her; they had taken in a young stray cat on the day of the thunderstorm. I went along to see...and there she was.

So now, if anyone I know has a missing pet I always tell them to keep searching, don't give up.

The Trans-Atlantic Journey
We've since relocated to North America, and Cheeky became an international feline. We flew Air Canada, because it was the only airline that would allow non-human animals in the cabin on a trans-Atlantic flight.

Here's her European Pet Passport...what a worldly kitty, my Drumcondra kitty, my Cheeky:

Now, as I think back on that day in 2003, it was quite a coincidence that I was walking on Drumcondra Road at that time. I normally walked home a completely different way, which pre-empted any occasion to be on Drumcondra Road. But that day, I needed to deposit my paycheck on the way home. My usual bank branch was closed for a remodel, and the next closest branch was on Drumcondra Road...just blocks from where I met Cheeky.

If you've managed to get this far,thanks for reading. I know it's not terribly gripping or extraordinary, but I just had to post it-I love telling this story.


  1. Rose,

    What a great story! I got a few of my past felines as rescues so I love a good cat rescue story.

    We have three felines that we live with now. I say it that way because they think the house belongs to them and they are allowing us to live here and wait on them.


  2. Thanks for reading the story. I'd love to hear more about your feline friends.
    2 years ago, we adopted a senior cat from the animal shelter; he was an orange tabby and a huge love bug. He ended up having cancerous growths in his lungs and abdomen, so we only shared a year with him before he passed on, but we still miss him.

    I think Cheeky likes being the queen of the castle though, and doesn't really mind being an only cat.:)

  3. Rose,

    I should post something about the cats I guess. They are my little furry children. We have three Turkish Angoras (Luca Bella, Massimo and Nico .. no Italian connection here). Spoiled doesn't even being to explain things. I was just in the kitchen running the baby out of the hummus that was cooling. He thinks hummus is much better than cat food. They all turn 8 this year, but still act like kittens. Our boys are great friends, but the little girl would prefer to the be the only queen of the castle ... but that isn't going to happen.

    We also adopted an old cat that was left at our vet after one of the owners died. She was a calico and had cancer so we only had her for about a year.


  4. Your kitties sound lovely; you should post some pics sometime.

  5. Rose,

    There are a few cat pics in my older posts but I think they are hard to find since I don't remember tagging them. I will tag them now so you can see them. Then I need run since it is cooking class tonight.


  6. Rose,

    Apparently I had tagged them as "cats". They one cat not pictured is the little girl, she is much too prissy to sit still for a photo.


  7. Oh, what a great post about Cheeky!! Now and then when I have time, I like to click on one of the "you may also like" links at the bottom of your posts, and while I am never disappointed in what I find, I'm especially glad I clicked on this one! I'd say you and Cheeky are linked by Destiny as well as by Love! I'm so glad you found her both times!

    And I had no idea they issue pet passports! :-)

  8. Laurie,

    Thanks for having the patience to read through the post :) I really do feel like we were destined to find each other...maybe it's all psychological, but who knows, right?

    Yeah, the European Pet Passort is an EU-wide program, adminstered via the Depts of Agriculture for each country (I's administered through the Dept of Agriculture in Ireland anyway), it's meant to allow people to travel easily with their pets btw countries in the EU...neither the US nor Canadian customs people knew anything about it...and the paperwork I needed to submit to enter the US with her was separate.

    People always get a kick out of it when I tell them my cat has her very own bona fide passport! :)


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