Of Cats And Dragons

Tormy kitten

Stealing Kittens

Published 2020-05-07
Carol E. Leever

Was Tormy's namesake (our beautiful Maine Coon from college) ever in an actual box? Well, not one we ever put him in (he did love to jump into boxes), but he was in a purse numerous times.

Camilla found Tormy in a storm outside her apartment (the cat and the storm were both outside, in case you were wondering). He was just a kitten, apparently abandoned. He had no fear of people so had likely been raised around them. He was probably no more than about 7 weeks old -- far too little to be alone. And he was adorable.

Camilla took him in (she had two other cats at the time), fed him, and named him Storm (seemed appropriate). Her two adult cats took to him right away. They were both probably also Maine Coons -- (incidentally, all these cats were adopted from shelters). Tormy was originally a scruffy-looking orange "tabby." I'm convinced he turned into a Maine Coon just to mimic the other cats.

Tormy kitten

I came over to visit Camilla the next day and instantly fell in love with the little guy. For some reason, my family cannot leave a name alone. We have to play around with it -- change it -- make ridiculous sounds with it. Camilla went along with this tradition. Storm became Stormy, and then quickly morphed into Tormy. And that name just stuck -- suited him well.

And every time I came over, I plotted ways to steal him. I'm not typically someone who resorts to theft -- but this cat was something special. I'm also not typically dishonest by nature, so I felt it only fair to warn Camilla when I was planning on stealing him.

When I'd say goodbye and gathered my things to head home, I'd always call out, "Well, I'm off, I'll just get my purse, my coat, and my Tormy and head home."

I'd pick up my coat and my purse, then I'd stuff Tormy into said purse and head out the door. Tormy was always a good sport and kept quiet so he wouldn't rat me out.

I actually made it all the way out to the car once before Camilla caught me. She always caught me.

Eventually, to stop the great Tormy-heists, we agreed to get an apartment together and share custody of the little guy. And curiously, Tormy seemed to develop a distinct fondness for purses. Our purses always had long, orange cat hair on them, and a typical answer to the question "where's my purse?" was often, "under Tormy." (He got far too big to fit inside them.)

NOTE: Sorry the pictures are such poor quality. All we had was a cheap old Polaroid camera and very little money to buy film. This was the days way before cell phones and digital pictures.

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sue said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

I have never stolen a kitten before. I have been feeding some ferals at work for over 8 years now. Twice at work tiny kittens have come up to me. The first was a solid white baby with one yellow eye and one blue eye. Naturally she came home with me. We were within a mile of home when Sugar began prowling around the car for a place to relieve herself. I pulled over, but too late. My car was decoraed by diarhea. I got home, gave Sugar 4 baths immediately because she was covered. Then I cleaned up the car. My husband-who has asthma and many allergies-was too busy cleaning the car that he didn't say a word about our new baby. The second kitten was a Bengal. My daughter named her Penelope. We call her Penny. I call her my Pretty Penny because she is beautiful. As for the ferals at work, I have found homes for 12 so far. One little momma came up and had kittens at my feet. I'm trying to catch her to have her spayed. She will let me pet her, and she knows my car and always comes running when I get there. She won't let me pick her up yet.

I love your books and short stories. I impatiently await the next. I hope the medical crisis is over and that everyone is well. I look forward to many more books and stories. I reread them frequestly and usually find something new each time. I'm collecting the books for my retirement-in about 18 months.

There are no bad cat pictures.

Camilla Ochlan replying to: sue

Carol helped the Feral Cat Society in her town set up their website years ago.

We had our own experiences with feral kitties, adopting one while we were in college. She was a great cat and made the transition to being an indoor cat very well -- especially since she brought a litter of kittens with her, two of whom we kept. The other two were adopted out together. Good memories. Sweet cats.

So great that you're finding homes for so many feral kitties. They are lucky to have you look after them.

We're so glad you are enjoying the stories. Congrats on your upcoming retirement. Bet you have quite a collection in your To-Be-Read pile.

Claire said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

One of my very favorite kitties was Sweetie Pie. I found her on the rural road leading to our house, eating a dead rabbit. I immediately stopped and called to her. She came right to me. I took her home and housed her in our office/catch-all room until I could get her checked out. That was also to allow my other kitties and dogs to get used to her. The vet estimated her age at a year plus she was pregnant. But she was so tiny. He thought the pregnancy had interfered with her growing so she always remained kitten sized. We got her shots and took her home. The office became her home. After the babies were born and adopted (one to a dear friend who named that baby Sunshine), Sweetie Pie moved into the house. She would sleep on the bed, under the covers, on hubby and anywhere else she decided was hers - including the middle of a very large dog bed, much to the chagrin of the greyhound who was leery of all cats due to a run-in with another of my kitties. Sweetie Pie lived up to her name, having the sweetest nature of any cat I've had the pleasure of sharing my life with. She's been gone many years but we keep comparing our other cats' attitudes to her sweet nature. She was one of a kind.

Chelsea said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

This actually came at an interesting time (I haven't decided if it is a good or bad timing) as I just had to put down my first furbaby, I was able to raise, a week ago today. So, here is his story.

I had been playing World of Warcraft (WoW) for a while and had befriended a couple that I loved to play with. Unfortunately their relationship hit the rocks pretty hard and she ditched the game and the relationship. She never really wanted to play the game, but did to be close to her husband, and never really wanted a cat, but had gone along with it for him. So, he was left with the game and a cat and having to put his life back together. He was a police officer up in Oregon and had just landed a job down in southern California. He was afraid that he would not have the time or the love to be able to give the nine month old kitten he had with him so he reached out to me. At the time he thought I had cats, but I was currently cat-less, but love cats. He asked if I would like to take his kitten/cat in so it had a happy life. I turned to my boyfriend, at the time, and asked if we could. He was a little sad which made me think he was going to say no, but it turned out he had been planning on getting me a cat for Christmas, but said this was more worth it than getting a cat present.

So, come Halloween (about three days after saying yes), I drove halfway to meet him and meet the little guy. I pulled into a Burger King parking lot and realized that it was really dangerous to have gone by myself, but it was a little late. I decided to pull in, survey the situation and make sure I had something in case things went side-ways. Thankfully, it didn't. The guy was leaning against his car as I pulled in and as he saw the car I described to him pull up he took the cat carrier out of the backseat of his car. It was clear there was a cat in the carrier so I parked and got out. We said hi, I said hi to Skipper (the name he was given and I decided to keep it) and after having a small chat Skipper and I went home.

It took about a week for him to feel at home, but after that.... there was no going back. After a month of him getting used to us we put in a sliding door cat door and showed him how to use it. We were in an apartment complex on the first floor but he was pretty smart and safe. The first about week of him learning how to go in and out of the cat door was interesting. He would run out, come in, cry, come find me in bed, jump on my stomach and paw my face to make sure I was still there and then do it all over again. That week did not see a lot of sleep, but oh well.

We decided to get him a pal to play with and found a black and white tuxedo kitten who needed a home from a foster home. He is my husband's (same guy as before) cat and loves him.

Both cats travelled to Florida with us when we got married and we wanted to try and different location (we had grown up, gone to college, all in the same area more or less and wanted something different). It didn't last long and we moved back. Got another apartment and then a house, cats following us all along.

Had a friend call me up (have known her since 2nd grade) saying she was leaving her then husband, moving to Idaho, and didn't think her old lady cat was going to make the move well. So, we got a third cat. She was about 7 or 8, long hair, black, and did not like being held. She was also a nervous wreck from living in a house with three Chihuahuas who liked to chase her. So she wasn't quite sure about this new situation. I was pregnant with my first child at the time and I was a tad worried but had no need to be it turned out.

Skipper turned into the nursemaid when I had my son and would let me know anytime he thought I was moving slow in getting to the crying baby. The first night after bringing him home was my anniversary and my mother stayed with my son to let us go and enjoy a meal out. She sent us a picture of Skipper keeping an eye on the baby as he slept.

We moved then to Arizona, where we had a second child and he was nursemaid again to my daughter. He has been the first one of the cats to allow them to practice gentle petting and was gentle in letting them know when they crossed the line or he got tired of the practice.

We had two more places after Arizona we moved to and he was definitely starting to get old. A few years ago we had him go through radiology due to a hyperthyroid and him losing way too much weight all of a sudden. He was good for a few years after that, but in the past year he started attacking his back foot. When we took him to the vet it turned out he had a tumor on his toe, so we had it amputated in November. Come February he was licking and attacking it again. They thought that the under stitches had gotten infected and was irritating him so we tried medicating it but it didn't seem to be doing anything. They tested it and it came back as two very aggressive different infections that needed different medications. So we did that, but two months later it wasn't getting any better. They still had the amputated toe so they sent it in to see exactly what they had cut out. Turned out it wasn't the simple tumor we had assumed. It was an aggressive soft tissue cancer which had been attacking his bone. But because it didn't seem to have started in the toe we weren't sure how far spread it was. So, while there was the option of amputating his leg, most likely it was already in an organ. So, about two weeks ago I had to make the very hard decision to put him down. Due to the pandemic we wouldn't haven't been able to hold him as he left us so we called some mobile veterinarians to get quotes and possibilities. There was option of the next day but none of us were ready. A week later we allowed the inevitable to happen.

We gave him tuna which we had not been able to do for the past few years due to kidney issues and allowed him to enjoy everything he has always enjoyed. He was enjoying tuna as the medication for the part of putting him to sleep took affect. He fell asleep in the can of tuna and it made us all smile since we knew he was enjoying it. We laid him out in the sun on a blanket and the doctor administered the medication to take him away from us.

We are currently waiting on his ashes and a paw print that we had done for us. I miss him dearly.

Rose said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

Our newest kitteh, Pirate's Mess is the latest in a long line of kittehs with Pirate as a first name (mistakenly let husband name the first Pirate). Now, understand that all of these were tortoise shell calicos and therefore female. Oh, well!

I had taken one of the dogs into the vet's and there on display was a kitteh of our favorite flavor of calico. Our favoritess vet tech noticed me playing with her. She also knew that Pirate's Mate had recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was insistent on me taking her home. I told her that hubby didn't want another kitteh yet.

Weellllll, favoritess vet tech said let me talk to him. He's at work, I told her. She said she had that number from our file. With a wink, and before I understood what she was doing, she called my hubby, at work!!! She told him about the kitteh and that the kitteh had the light patch on one side, just like the others before her. I was in awe of her persuasion because she said I was there and could take the kitteh right home. I could hear his laughter from across the room. Yep, I took her right home!

Now,as to her name, we knew her first name was Pirate (sigh). We always wait to see what happens at home before we know what the rest of the name would be. Showed her where the litter was, she had it flying everywhere. Showed her where the water was, she, and the table, were soaked. Showed her where the food was, do I really need to say what happened??

So Pirate's Mess joined the gang. And Messie was her name-o!

Betty said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

My two cats are both shelter rescues. They are both about the same age. Buddy is the one who loves up on his friend, Rusty, who was a stray a few months ago. Meusic is the one who just watches everything. He (Rusty) was found on the front porch of a friends porch during a rain storm. Sound familiar? She knew I had just lost my Jolene, also a stray, Rusty is as good a dog as I could ask for and goes with me everywhere

Camilla Ochlan replying to: Betty

Stories of kitties and doggies. You know I love them all. What great names, too! Thank you all so much for sharing.

Daniel said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

I have three cats in the house now... but before we got our new little girl (Mara) our boy (Lupin) got out one day - the door opened somehow - Tonks (his sister) was just sitting inside watching the door. My wife was panicked, and I was sent out to search. He was scared, hiding under a car, and came right to me to bring back home. That event turned into a children's story my wife wrote. I am not trying to pimp the book... but it fits this topic so well. You can see it at juliemdobson.com and the art was done by a friend of mine. (I am so proud of my wife for actually following through and publishing her first book)

Camilla Ochlan replying to: Daniel

I think I may know where some of your kitties' names came from. Your wife's book looks adorable. Thank you for telling us about it.

Cher said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

I looked out the kitchen window to my back yard and saw a Snowball stalking a squirrel twice as big as he was. Since my yard seemed to have a sign up that said a sucker lives here, just look hungry and shell feed you, I kept a bag of kitty chow handy. I took out a dish of food and a bowl of water, but the baby was scared. Maybe seven weeks old, his ribs were sticking way out. I sat on the patio about three feet from the food dish, and on the fourth day, he ran to me, rubbed his little head on my hand, then jumped away and got a bite of food. He repeated this behavior more and more over the next week, always coming when I called him to eat. Finally, little Snowball began to fill out and rubbing against my legs. Hes 10 now and thinks his primary job is to sit on mamas lap.

I do wish he could talk, but I talk for him!

Jennifer said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

We adopted a beautiful and very loving grey tabby, with white boots on her feet, so naturally we named her Boots. She has a big bushy tail that does not seem to fit her body. She has decided her favorite place in the house is on top of the fridge. Wish I was able to send a picture with this as I was able to get one of her on the fridge.

Camilla Ochlan replying to: Jennifer

I love hearing the stories of how you found your kitties. If you have a picture you'd like to share, please send it to meow@ofcatsanddragons.com and, with your permission, I will include it in the next newsletter. Those sweet little furry faces!

Joanna said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

We acquired both of our cats from the woodpile in our backyard. Loki and orange tabby was about 3 to 4 weeks old. Our pup "found" him and mama was no where in sight. We found one of his littermates dead so we took him in and bottle fed him. He is now about 20lbs and is a pain in our backside but we love him. Mama kitty was also in the woodpile but she had a litter (2) with her. Someone must have dropped her in the country since she was not scared of us. We found homes for the kittens but kept her. It took some time but she is the most loving cat with a funny personality. They have filled our lives with laughter and love and we would not trade them for anything.

Jane said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

I love the photos of Tormy! I, too, only have Polaroids of my first and favorite (apologies to all the others!) furbaby.

I was working in a little party store, and a customer came in with a tiny kitten, saying it got a glancing blow from a car. I called my husband, he said I could bring him home! Kitten was fine, no injuries, thank goodness!

Rocky, too, was a Maine Coon. He was a brown tabby, smart, loving, playful -he LOVED playing fetch with the ring from a milk jug!

Strangely, he preferred to eat generic, store brand dry cat food; he'd refuse anything better, even wet food. Even on that, he got to be 22 lbs. One day I came home from work, and found him curled in a tiny ball, crying. A fast trip to the vet, who diagnosed a urinary blockage (expensive to treat, and at the time, both my husband and I were laid off from the auto industry and only I had any kind of job). My husband didn't want to spend the $$, and I told him in no uncertain terms we were doing ANYTHING necessary to help Rocky! My husband said to me, "You love that cat more than me!" I agreed, but not out loud! Rocky came through with flying colors, but had to learn to eat good food; not a happy camper for awhile.

A couple years later, I rescued a female kitten, and oops, Rocky got her pregnant (not once, but twice!) before I could afford to get them both fixed. From the first litter, only one survived out of three, a little boy who looks like Tormy! All 5 of the second litter made it, I kept one and found homes for the others. So I had father, mother, brother and sister.

During the second pregnancy, my husband left me, and Rocky endured hours of crying, cuddling me with his front legs around my neck and his head snuggled up under my chin. He'd always know when I came home from work, meeting me at the door. He's the only reason I didn't have a nervous breakdown.

When he died at 12.5, I buried a piece of my heart with him. The mother and sister died within a month of each other, both at 12 years old. I lucked out, and the brother lived 4 more years.

I've had many furbabies (and feathered, finned, and scaly ones, too!) but my first love will always be my Rocky.

I love your stories of Tormy and all his adventures, can't WAIT for the next.

Susan said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

The pictures are adorable. Tormy is just right. Our Syd (ginger short hair) was outside our house and a bit skittish. My husband continued to "court" him and over one summer they became friends and we brought him in and he has been with us inside for the past 7 years. He follows Lou around like a puppy. Now Max(a Maine Coon) also showed up on our doorstep when we moved to SC. We thought he was a girl but one day I happened to see some "peanuts" while wooing him/her on the porch. Inside he came within a few weeks. Now Max follows me around like a puppy. Funny how they attach themselves to someone. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and stories. Waiting for the next ones.

Loretta said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

All through my life my fur-babies have just wandered into my life. I recently lost my little angel, Rozelle, to a heart condition. She came into my life during a period where I was recovering from the illness and subsequent loss of my husband to cancer. I was helping my mother clear out an overgrown patch of wild roses when I heard this small meow. Shifting some dead leaves away, there was the smallest grey tabby kitten. So small that her eyes were still closed. We found her mother deceased, nearby. I took over the role of 'mom'; with baby bottles, tummy rubs and cuddles. That was over fourteen years ago. She was also my crutch when I fell in love again, married, and faced him also getting cancer. She was always willing to cuddle on my lap while the tears flowed and soaked into her fur.

Love comes in many shapes and sizes, my fur-babies help keep me going when I find life hard to face. Losing Rozelle during this pandemic has been hard due to the isolation. Thankfully, my other fur-baby, Tigger, is right by me.

Tigger is another foundling (who finds who?) that I encountered one early morning clinging to a Palo Verde tree near the parking lot of my church. He was probably 7-8 weeks old at the time. I took him home and he is still bouncing his way through life--even after a decade of informing me how things should run in the house!

Carol Leever replying to: Loretta

So sorry to hear about Rozelle's passing. Recently my little cat, Kitsune, was diagnosed with a liver infection. We've been giving her more pills than I'm currently taking for my cancer, but she's recovering well. When I come home from chemo she sits on me all day long, keeping me company for the days I'm stuck in bed. There's nothing quite like an animal to comfort you when you most need it.

Maria said about Stealing Kittens: Reply

Adorable Tormy! Can't blame you at all!

As for me, every single fur and feathered pal has been either found injured, a humane Society sweetie, or a foundling. I'll start off with our current kitty, Neo; I first saw him as a kitten bouncing around our backyard with a troup of wild chickens. These chickens made a daily visit through the yard, probably knowing instinctively the owner, here, had 'Sucker' tattooed on her forehead, and they were safe.

One day, I noticed a wee little orange and white fluffball trooping along with the chickens. When I noticed kitty again, and than again, I began to wonder where he came from. It soon became obvious he was on his own, and, he was living under our house! Our home, here, in Hawai'i is built off the ground with a 4-deep tile base. Every few feet are little square openings, and little guy had appropriated the one closest to my patio as his personal doorway.

I decided to place a bowl of food for kitty, every morning and evening, hoping to lure him to me. Sigh, might as well have whistled up the Wind! It took almost 6 weeks for this little rascal to just sit by while I put down his bowl. And another two, to accept a scratch under his chin! Finally, he let me pick him up, and he was mine!

Vet visit; healthy, although a bit underweight, I brought him in amidst hysteria from my two men. We had an absolutely adorable little househen, Tuppy, and they were both worried about her safety. They needn't have been concerned; Tuppy saw Neo on my lap, jumped up next to him fluffed up to twice her size, let out a formidably loud squawk, and happily watched poor Neo scurry off and hide under the bed!

Tuppy and Neo became great friends, and when we had to put Tup to sleep (canceroustumors), our poor Neo was inconsolable, and spent a week under the bed.

Neo still pals around with the outside chickens, and sits quite happily with the new chicks while the mamas catch a break.He is a loving and lovable furface giving so much to our household.

Aloha e noho palekana

Love and stay safe,

Camilla Ochlan replying to: Maria

Thank you so much for sharing your adorable story of Neo and Tuppy. I am sorry to hear that Tuppy is no longer with you, but I love the tale of a cat and a chicken becoming best friends - that's so lovely. Sounds like you've created a beautiful safe haven for all.