Monday, January 10, 2011



This is a month some of us feel a little depressed. Not only is sunshine a bit scarce, but the days are generally cold and dreary looking. The holidays are over and even though it's a brand new year, we feel blue. I've decided to turn that around and think of all the BLUE things that make me feel happy.
My Russian Blue cat, Dustin, made me very happy. Maybe this would be a good time to tell his story. I've rescued many cats through the years and have loved every one of them, but Dustin was very special. He's no longer with me but hardly a day goes by that I don't think of some crazy thing he did and smile at the memory.
I was traveling down a country road one summer afternoon after checking on a friend's farm, and out into the road in front of me appeared this tiny little gray thing. I actually thought it was a large mouse. When I recognized it was a kitten, I pulled over and stopped. I rolled down my window and heard the tiny one wailing. I told him to stay where he was and I'd come help him. That was silly I suppose, but there were cars behind me and I coudn't get to him at that moment. I'd started to open my door but the driver behind me was impatient so he drove around, then another person drove past me. I covered my eyes because I just knew the kitten wouldn't have survived both those cars.
To my shock, there he sat on the side of the road, safe, but covered in fleas and crying so sadly. He was such a tiny baby. I scooped him up and began looking around for other kittens. Just as in Tucker's case, there were none. Down the road a bit I did find a deceased cat, which might have been his mama. I knelt there beside her, touched her, and told her I had her kitten and would take good care of him. It appeared he was alone in the world. I immediately took him to the vet's office but the vet didn't offer much hope that he would survive. He said if the kitten survived the flea treatment, he might have a chance. He did survive and I took him home, placed him in a towel-lined box, then went out to get kitten formula and bottles. I named him Dustin because of his gray color and was instantly in love with him. The vet said he was a Russian Blue, so how he came to be orphaned on a country road, I'll never know.
Dustin grew and thrived. He would lay his head on my shoulder and sleep, purring loudly. He became my little shadow and wherever I was, there he wanted to be. So much so, that he once caught a bad cold from me because he woudn't leave me when I was sick in bed. He had to be taken to the vet for treatment and I almost lost him. The vet affirmed he most likely did contract the flu I'd had since he had been such a loyal companion while I was ill.
Dustin became our resident clown and loved to romp with the two dogs, Molly and Tasha, we'd rescued years ealier. There are so many Dustin stories that I can't tell them all, but one is about him stealing balloons at my daughter's birthday celebration. She and I were blowing up purple balloons for her party and every time we turned around, a balloon was missing. We didn't see Dustin taking them into this room and placing them in the corner. Apparently, he'd get one, carry it down the hallway, put it in this room, then go get another. We finally caught him with one in his mouth. He held it by the opening end and had to straddle it as he made his way down the hall. There were no digital cameras back then so I don't have a photo, but what a cute sight that was. We didn't have the heart to take away his balloons after he'd worked so hard to collect them and hadn't broken a single one. We simply blew up more.
Our two dogs used to get into Dustin's cat food so I began feeding him on the hutch and if I didn't fill his bowl when he thought I should, he'd find food himself. He knew we kept Molly's soft food in the pantry so if he was able to catch that door open, he'd go in and pull out a pouch of her soft food, carry it across the kitchen, then jump onto the hutch with the food in his mouth. He'd lay it in his own bowl and open the pouch with his teeth. The contents would spill into his bowl and he'd have breakfast. I told this to my spouse, who didn't believe me.
One morning while Spouse was eating breakfast, he yelled for me to come quick. He said, "You won't believe this!". I staggered out of bed and into the kitchen where Dustin was sitting on the hutch tearing open the soft dog food pouch he'd placed in his bowl. I already knew what Spouse was about to tell me. He'd watched the cat go into the pantry, choose a pouch from the dog food box, carry it across the kitchen, then jump onto the hutch and deposit it in his bowl. When Spouse finally saw it for himself, he believed it.
Dustin was my best cat ever and lies in peaceful repose beside my backyard cabin. A gray cement kitty sleeps on top of his grave as a marker. I often wonder how my life would have been different had I not happened to wander down that country road so many years ago. I was very blessed to have Dustin for over 18 years, but oh what I'd give for a few more years with him. I miss him and probably always will.


Anonymous said...

Lovely story Kady, Dustin was a beautiful looking cat, when you've had them for so long you never forget, even when you don't have them for long, you never forget!
My last cat Ella, I had, just shy of her 18th b'day, she had cancer and I had to put her down, after such a safe and loved life - that was 18mths ago. I'm aftraid you have been a dreadful influence Kady!, late last week I adopted a surrendered 8th old female (her first owner had to return overseas to look after a dying parent and was heartbroken to have to give her up). She was named 'Mini', she is ginger & cream, and just such a sweet dainty little lady. She already has my two dogs sorted out LOL, and plays hide & seek with one, the other dog pretends she doesn't exist LOL. I blame you entirely, but I thankyou for it, I didn't think I could have another cat after Ella, but there you have it, I'm glad to give this poor little life a home where can feel safe and loved, and dreadfully spoiled.........Merilyn (Australia)


Hi Kady--what a lovely story and what a Sweety Dustin was!! and in your heart still is!!!
I had a very close relationship with my all black kitty-Bear--and was afraid I would or could not have that connection to another one---but I am afraid that Miss Gracie is going to be even closer--ouch!!!!
there was alot more to the "day of the pill hell" but I did not go into it--just too much!!
am happy to say that I am getting the medicine down her--but tiny amounts at each feeding--so hope it works that way!!!! she discovered sleeping on my legs today--and now I find that she has to follow me everywhere--everytime I leave one room--even for a minute--I look around and there she is!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story about Dustin...he sure was a special kitty.
We had a kitty that lived to be 15 1/2 years old...she used to take my jewelry and hide it in the closet. I didn't fugure out where she was hiding it until years later when we were moving to our new home.