Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oh Dear... Aloha of a Different Kind

This is the sight that greeted me while I was fixing dinner my first night here. The owner had told me that there were some "cats" and that his wife had been feeding them while they were here just before I arrived. Cats? Not a problem. I can pretty much guard my heart against a grown up cat. But these aren't cats. They aren't anywhere near cats. These are kittens. Not only that, but one of them is my favorite kind of cat/kitten - which is basically anything with even a smidgen of Siamese. (For those of you who don't know cats, the Siamese shows up as darker points on the ears and tail (and usually the nose and paws).

True to Siamese, she has a loud voice. She meows enough for all of them. Tells me that they are hungry. And I can tell that they are. They're not skin and bones, but they could use some fattening up. I cut up some cheese, it's gone in two seconds. Cut up some more cheese (which btw, I just spent about 3x more on than I would have spent on the mainland.) We do that for two nights, but they are still really hungry. On the third day, the clunker and I head into the little town of Maunaloa. What do you know. They have a big bag of Purina Kitten Chow right there waiting for me. My lucky day.

For the first few days, they show up promptly at dinner time. Then they start arriving for lunch. Yesterday they were there for breakfast when I got home from my early morning walk.

There are cats everywhere here. Apparently there have been for years. I guess it's the place people dump them when they no longer want them. Luckily, the people in this complex are animal-lovers. They've been taking care of them as long as the complex has been here. They feed them, catch and spay and neuter them, get them shots, etc. Of all the wild and semi-wild cats I've seen since I arrived (quite a number), not one of them appears sick. And they all, except for the kittens, seem pretty well fed.

I'm more than a little in love with this white one. And I think she might have a crush on me, too. While the others seem purely interested in food, she obviously wants more. She hangs around more than the they do. She cries and comes toward me - sometimes even instead of eating. She is so sweet, I can see how badly she wants affection, but she's wild, and scared. Though already we've made progress, she often lets me pet her while she's eating. Today she was here all morning, sans her brothers. We played the cat and mouse game. Except I'm the cat and she's the mouse. :) Sometimes she lets me a little closer, other times not so much

I found out yesterday (completely by accident - I did not go looking for this information. Honest) that it is disgustingly simple to bring a cat back to the mainland from here. Who would have thought? Lots of people apparently do it. One woman I talk to every afternoon at the pool (the self-proclaimed "cat woman" of the complex) has brought home several and they've made great pets. The association here even has a fund... and if someone (read: I - but only if you must) chose, say, to take a cat home (purely hypothetical, of course), the fund would pay for all of its shots.

Hmm... What a deal...

With aloha, from Moloka'i

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