Kit the Kat: Warning – May Contain Copious Cat Pictures
This week marks the 2 year anniversary of me accidentally adopting Kit the cat. Those of you who don’t know the story are probably thinking, oh she went to a shelter not meaning to get a cat, and got a cat. You’re wrong.
In honour of Kit’s 5th birthday (I mean it’s all guess work. We only have a rough idea of how old he is, and no idea when he was born) I thought I would regale you all with the tale of how he came into my life…and the trouble he’s got into since.
In the Beginning:
It was early 2016 when I started noticing a tabby and white cat hanging around theIT building on the University of Birmingham’s campus. Every day, twice a day, he’d trot up to say hello as I walked to and from work. Sometimes, when I went out for lunch, I’d see him being fussed by students on their way to class. One girl sat on the floor with him in her lap, and he smiled as she scratched his chin in the good spot.
I quickly started referring to this charming chap at “IT cat” and would always pause to chat for a few minutes. He was every bit the socialite. I thought maybe he was the Vice-Chancellor’s cat (who had a house nearby) or that someone was bringing him to work, and letting him roam. One day I noticed a dish and a cat box had been left tucked into the corner of the IT building, and someone had propped a couple of carpet tiles around it. At the time, I thought that confirmed it.
Then, on the morning of the 19th of April (thank you 2016 diary), IT cat didn’t want to come out to say hello. He sat in the carrier with a wistful look. I frowned and though, maybe he’s just tired. That evening on the way home he was loafed under a tree, and again, he wouldn’t come and talk to me. He seemed lethargic.
So I made a decision. I would go home and come back later, and if he was still there at 10 pm I would take him home and get him scanned for a microchip. I needed some peace of mind. I went back to my flat, dumped my stuff and went shopping. On top of my usual groceries, I bought a washing up bowl, some tuna and a bag of Sainsbury’s cheapest cat litter. I figured that if IT cat wasn’t there, I could still make use of everything (cat litter is great for melting snow to get cars out). Then I went home, had tea, and waited.
I drove back to campus and pulled up as close to the IT building as I could get, then walked the rest of the way. I sighed with relief when I couldn’t see him. And then I thought, better check properly.
I looked in the cat carrier, but he wasn’t there, and then I peered under the bushes. I couldn’t really see him to begin with. It was pretty dark, and the street lights weren’t doing a great job of penetrating the shrubbery. However, there he was, curled up in ball, fur fluffed as big as it would go. I put my hand out and he sniffed it. I gave him a fuss and he got very excited and came out for more pets.
I opened up the little tub of tuna I’d brought with me, and gave him some on the edge of my finger.
What followed was about half an hour of me trying to trick him, tempt him and wrestle him into the cat box, so I could get him in the car. He wasn’t having it. In the end, we came to a compromise. I gave up and carried him. He was happy to go along with that. I put him on the front seat, and then went back for the dish and the box. Then I drove us home. He very much enjoyed the trip around the back of the hospital. He was mesmerised by all the lights going passed the windows.
I took him up to the flat and let him have a roam. He had a walk around for a bit, and then disappeared under my bed. I sighed and guessed I’d be sharing my bunk with a furry friend. I popped an antihistamine (because yes, I am allergic).
When I got back from the bathroom there was a furry pile of contentment on my bed, purring away. I got into bed, and lay on my stomach. He immediately climbed on my back and started purring in my ear.
That night is by far the worst nights sleep I have ever had. He never stopped purring, he kept moving to get closer to my head, and at one point he got up and went to the bathroom, then leapt right into my face as I opened my eyes to check on him. After that, I vowed never again.
The next day, I cocooned IT cat in my hoodie and wedged him into the cat carrier. He was not amused. Then I drove to the nearest vets. He meowed at me all the way there, and I sang to calm him down.
The vet was happy to scan him free of charge, but found no chip. She tried through the box, and then took the lid off and tried again. No luck. Then she confirmed he was a neutered male, and sent us on our way. I took him home then went out to buy him some proper food and a little bird toy…because I guessed he might be staying a while.
That night I took some pictures and posted them on as many lost cat sites as I could find. Then I printed some posters. On the way to work, I sellotaped a few along my route. On the way back, I stopped in at the IT building. They told me that they’d noticed him just after they came back from the Christmas break, and they’d been feeding him.They also said that they’d phoned the Vice Chancellor’s PA and it definitely wasn’t his. He didn’t have a cat. You cannot understand the relief that comes from knowing you hadn’t kidnapped your bosses bosses boss’s cat.
Someone recommended I try posting about IT cat to a bunch of Facebook pages, so I did that as well. I even put him on Gumtree. But his owner never came forward, and suddenly I had a whole bunch of choices to make.
Naming and Housing:
A lot of people I’ve spoken to have said they think Kit is a clever name, I think because they assume he’s named after KitKats? However, the name came about because I didn’t want to give him a name. I didn’t think he’d be around for long enough, and I didn’t want to confuse him for when he went back to his owners. So, like the proper Welsh bird I truly am, I started calling him “Kit”, like “pet” or “love” or “chick”. I also frequently started asking him, “What’s occurin’?” a phrase I had never before used in my life. He seemed to like it and would meow cheerily.
But then…he started reacting to “Kit”. And suddenly, IT cat had a name. Although, privately I now call him Christofurr Coopurr. I enjoy how it makes him sound like a PI. Plus I get to yell, “Christofurr!” when he’s doing something naughty.
The next issue was that, I wasn’t allowed pets in my building, so I knew I couldn’t keep him around for long. Particularly when he started meowing and scratching at my bedroom door at 3 am. None of my cat loving friends were in a position to take him in, and I felt like I’d be a little heart broken if I had to leave him in a shelter.
Fortunately, my mum stepped in. She said they’d have him at home in Wales, until I had a living situation that Kit would be happy in. Given that my family are mainly dog people, this was something of a miracle. I drove him down, and left him there with my family, where the cheeky monster still is. They all love him to pieces.
Present Day Kit:
Kit is still a little charmer. Unless you’re a child (he really doesn’t like kids), he will come strutting over to you in the hopes that you’ll pet him. Preferably on the top of his head, but you can do his chin if you do it properly. And if you catch him on a good day, he’ll let you pick him up for a bit to give him a cuddle.
Just before Christmas, he mysteriously broke his ankle. He did time for this crime and cost me a fortune in vet bills (insure your pets folks!). But he’s been on the mend.
Of course, this week, he gave us all a scare. His walking suddenly went wonky and Mum rushed him to the vets. They discovered the pin had moved in his ankle. So yesterday we waited, with baited breath, to find out if he’d have to have the joint frozen with a plate.
Thankfully it looks like the body was just rejecting the pin because it wasn’t needed anymore. The vets took it out, popped a stitch in, and as of last night, Kit was walking much better…although a little drunkenly from the anaesthetic.
Fingers crossed, my mysterious Mr. Kit doesn’t do himself any further mischeif in the near future. I love him to pieces, but he is a menace.
And because I couldn’t fit all of my favourite pictures into this…here’s some bonus ones 😀
Happy Birthday, buddy.