by Margaret Schill
In October of 2001, after almost a year of trying to get two of our five cats to get along, but failing, we drove one of the cats, Snookums, to meet her new "parents" at a pet friendly motel in Kentucky, which was the halfway point for both parties.
The next morning, as we were heading into a restaurant in a business area, we saw a little black cat outside the restaurant. Being as there were no houses around, it was curious. We kept thinking about that little cat while we ate, so didn't dawdle. The kitten was not in front of the restaurant when we exited, so my husband walked into the parking lot and looked around.
There was a bowl of milk next to an employee door of the restaurant, indicating that the cat was known of by at least one restaurant employee and that the cat had been there prior to that day. As my husband got closer to the cars near the motel at the other end of the lot from the restaurant, he saw the little black cat running up to people, only to be ignored. He called to her, and she came running to him! He picked her up and she was mighty glad about that. She was still a kitten, around 6 months old maybe, and scared.
Thinking perhaps some guest from the motel had lost her, my husband asked the desk clerk about her. He said the kitten had been hanging around the parking lot and constantly trying to get into the motel for the past two weeks! No guest had reported losing a cat during their stay. So, it seemed rather clear that Jolie, as we named her, was a dumped pet. There was no way she would have wandered to that parking lot from any house, as there was the interstate on two sides, a very wide major road on the third side, with more businesses on the other side, and yet another road on the fourth side with more businesses.
Jolie was wearing a blue, non-safety release flea collar (boo! hiss!), and was extremely tame. She was also too thin, sunken in as if dehydrated, had black gunk in her ears which turned out to be earmites, and pale gums indicating anemia (which starvation would be a cause of). Since it was clear that the most any employees of the businesses were going to do is put out a bowl of milk, which is inadequate nutrition for a cat, and being as a black kitten will not live long in a parking lot at night especially, there was no question that we would take her with us back to West Virginia. We brought her to our motel room, gave her some water and fed her some cat food that we had brought for our cat that we were delivering to our in-laws, the new caretakers.
The cat we were delivering was still in our motel room, and was NOT pleased to have another cat show up. Jolie got sequestered in the bathroom for a short while until the other cat was on her way to her new home. We packed up and stopped off at a store to get a pet carrier for Jolie to travel in for her several hour journey to her new home. Jolie was calm as could be, probably extremely relieved to be in the care of humans again.
She cried a lot in the carrier, which I was sitting next to, so wound up lying on my lap the entire trip. Being anemic and weak, as well as probably being safer than she had been the past two weeks to allow for total relaxation, left her quite content to just lie warmly snuggled on my lap.
Since Jolie was the same color, and around the same size of the cat who had left, our other four were at first not sure what was going on. It looked like their former housemate, but didn't smell like her, or act like her. No hisses when they crept up to the carrier to have a look!
It didn't take very long for Jolie to be integrated, since she was so docile, not posing a threat to the others. We did do an extremely careful, protective introduction of Jolie with the cat who was the cause of the other cat being rehomed, but he wound up being a gentle playmate with her, doing purposeful slow motion pounces on her instead of rowdy jumps. So all was well in the life of Kentucky Jo and there was peace in our home ... for a while.
Jolie, then and now.