Four years ago I was touring with a theatre company called Wandering Souls in a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Part of what made Wandering Souls brilliant is that its purpose was to bring shows to underserved communities in DC – nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc. – and so on September 14th, 2010, my castmates and I found ourselves in SE preparing for a show at an after school program for at-risk youth. A group of us were chatting before entering the venue when one of my colleagues saw a kitten (surrounded by young kids) about to run into a road. And she was NOT having that. So she politely excused herself and came back to the group with the kitten in her arms, curious as to what to do with it; the kids had told her that their mom had thrown the cat out and my castmate already had two cats at home herself so could not take another.
Without thinking much, I said: “I’ll take it!”
I’d never had a cat before – let alone a kitten – but have a bleeding heart and was a few months out of a messy romantic situation feeling that I needed some sort of anchor and source of affection. So I took home a semi-feral feLion. And thus began the epic adventures of Fabian Raven Ittameh Bittameh Kittameh, The Duchess of Things and myself.
Fabs is by no means the easiest cat. She’s gone through phases of extreme violence-against-people (mainly me) and stretches of peeing on my bed – which is the *last* thing you want to come home to at the end of a long day. She is not friendly with others, yet asks for their attention and I have to give warnings to anyone who enters my home regarding her erratic behavior.
And I leave notes for repair men that look something like this:
And have created a way to track attack patterns.
Don’t get me wrong. Fabs is affectionate in her own quirky way – she sleeps with me, sometimes on top of me, likes to cuddle on the sofa and be pet; occasionally I get head nuzzles. She gets really upset if I have been away from home for too long and will want to curl up on my chest and near my face for comfort. She loves to chase lasers and play with her toys; sometimes she’ll drag her toys into my room in the middle of the night in an attempt to get me to play. Not to mention she is more entertaining than any other animal I’ve ever met. Most recently, I switched her on a low-grain diet. I was sitting in the family room when I heard commotion in the kitchen and I went running in to find that she had dug into the cabinet and pulled out whole wheat pasta which she proceeded to gnaw on. Seriously?! Seriously. She’s a smarty-pants, goofball with a slight anger-management/impulse control issue and I love her.
I mean – look at this face:
Fabian – in all her semi-feral glory – has also taught me so much. It’s weird to say, but I have learned more about dedication and love and persistence and honoring promises from this KitBit than from any person. During some of Fab’s “dark times”, people encouraged me to give her up; to let her go to a different home or to give her over to a shelter. And during one stretch, I was at my wit’s end feeling like I wasn’t giving her the right home and maybe she’d be better elsewhere. But the thing is, no matter how frustrating and difficult things got, I had made a promise that I would take care of her for the rest of her life. And I’m big on keeping promises.
Things aren’t always simple with my main kittenlady, though they’ve been better in the last two years. But at the end of the day, Fabs is my family and I would be missing out on something really special if she was not a part of my life.
So, rock on with your bad (please be good!) self, Fabian! And happy 4th Welcome Home anniversary, you feisty feLion, you!