Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Many years ago I lived in a small apartment at what was then called "garden level." In other words, it wasn't exactly a basement apartment, but it wasn't at ground level, either. Once you came through the door you took a few steps down into the apartment. There were two bedrooms and for awhile I shared it with a girlfriend. This was long before I was married to my current husband. The landlady didn't allow pets. But that didn't stop me from feeding this beautiful golden colored wild cat that came around regularly. She wouldn't let me touch her but she had no problem eating the food I put out for her.

I named her Alchemy and she lived under the apartment in a crawl space. In Boulder it gets very cold in the winters, and I suspect that there were warm pipes down there that she used to keep herself warm. Well, since she wasn't spayed, she got pregnant, which was obvious only from her size and her growing appetite. One morning I woke to the faraway sound of mewing kittens, and I knew she had given birth. Once she was no longer pregnant, she became bolder at demanding to be fed (of course she had a family of unknown size to feed). Once she even allowed me to get close enough to reach down and put the food in front of her.

Never did I see any sign of those kitties, and one night I woke to horrendous sounds of a fight going on under the apartment and then the strong smell of... skunk. Apparently a skunk got in there and found her kittens and that was, well, that. For weeks afterwards, Alchemy would be looking for me through the kitchen window, which had a view out onto the ground at about my eye level. She would let me know when she was hungry and wanted some food, and I of course obliged.

A few weeks after the terrible row and smelly incident, what should appear but Alchemy in my kitchen window with a kitten! She looked straight at me and dropped the kitten onto the ground on the other side of the window, as if to say, "not my job any more." And then she walked away.

I of course went out and scooped up the hissing frightened kitten and put it in a box with a towel and brought it into the apartment. It was a very well-fed champagne colored thing, just adorable. What to do? Well, I couldn't very well keep the kitten because the landlady wouldn't allow it, and after all that the kitten had survived I was not willing to just let it starve to death. Alchemy would not go near the kitten again. I decided to take this little life to the Humane Society.

When I got there, they told me they could not take an unweaned animal of any sort, but they would be very glad to euthanize it for me. I was crying so hard by this time I couldn't see straight, but I decided no, this would not do. I took the kitten to the nearest pet store and explained my plight to them and asked how to feed this little one. The very sympathetic store owner looked over this deliciously colored kitten and said, "I would be very happy to keep it. It will be my cat, and I'll feed it myself." And that is exactly what happened.

A few months later I went by the store to see if things had worked out. The beautiful champagne-colored tomcat that lay at her feet had become her favorite cat. (She had a few, it seemed.) He had survived all the trials of his birth, and I was so glad to have been a conduit for all of this to have happened. I have never forgotten Alchemy and her beautiful kitten and wanted to share the story with you.


  1. Aw, DJan, that is a wonderful story. I'm glad it had a happy ending for the kitten. Years ago when I lived in Georgia a kitten turned up at the office where I worked. I got talked into taking it home, my townhouse didn't allow pets either. So I hid a six weeks old kitten, named her Salem, and took her to Alaska with me. For eleven years she was my sidekick and buddy.

  2. DJ, I waited for the end of the story, and I am so touched. You're a hero to Alchemy, kitties can't talk and if only they can Alchemy may have thanked you over and over again.

    Cats have instinct and they know whom to seek help and she found DJan. Applause! First time I saw a pet on your blog and I like it!


  3. I am glad you shared it. It was a very moving and tender story. Unfortunately there are too many feral cats that don't have a guardian angel like yourself watching over them. It was nice to hear that the kitten survived and ended up in a caring home.

  4. What a beautiful heartwarming story. You have a soft heart....
    I have taken in, and cared for many strays, it's hard to turn your head away, especially if your an animal lover.
    That was a lovely ending, I'm happy the kitten found a wonderful home.
    Thanks to your effort !

  5. Thank you, DJan, for this sweet, heartening, and spirit-lifting story! I’m always a softie for animals, and i just love hearing wonderful anecdotes like this one. My next-door neighbor started feeding a group of 6 or 7 feral cats long before i moved into our Escondido house three months ago. She had recently gotten help from the feral cat society so that they were all captured, neutered/spayed, and then returned to our neighborhood. I had quite an exciting experience when i found “Tripod” — the gray feral cat with only one-and-a-half hind legs — in our house when we returned home one night last week!

    The animal-lover streak definitely runs in my family, and my daughter (Brittany) is a vet tech. Both she and the vet doc she works for (Megan) have donated many supplies and lots of food as well as countless hours of free medical services for the humane society. Brittany and Megan take in all kinds of animals, too — many of them are “broken” animals (as she calls them), including two one-eyed Chihuahuas and a diabetic rat terrier mix. There’s quite a menagerie at our Colorado house now, where Brittany and her boyfriend moved in last year. And i ended up letting myself get talked into fostering a mother cat and her 3 kittens, and wouldn’t ya know it... i adopted one of the kittens, a darling dilute tortie (gray and peach/cream/beige colors). She has one paw tipped with the beige/cream coloration, so i named her “Un Petite Chaussette” (emulating John Dunbar’s naming of the wolf “Two Socks” in “Dances With Wolves”)... we call her “Chaussette” for short.

    Whew! Please forgive the rambling commentary, and again, thanks for the delightful account of Alchemy and her kitten!

    ❤ anita

  6. I had my fingers crossed when I read your story, I really did. I was hoping..... I can't bear sadness when animals are in trouble. I love ginger cats too. Thank goodness this story had a happy end, they don't always. Bless you for taking the trouble to do your best for these two animals.
    Blessings, Star

  7. Thank you for this lovely ending to the story. I don't really like cats, and have never had one as a pet, but I do love animals and am glad that there was a happy ending here.

  8. Sweet story. Our feline herd started with 3 orphaned kittens. They have well earned their keep out here!

  9. I am an animal lover and while I no longer have any cats I have rescued quite a few.
    While in college I found 3 little kittens in a tire. They were young enough that their eyes weren't yet open. All 3 were black with a white patch somewhere and one of them had a broken tail. I took them back to my duplex and tried to save them. I fed them milk with an eye dropper and they lived in a little cat carrier stuffed full of towels for coziness. I'm sorry to say that only one made it. Sometimes you just can't save them all.
    This one kitten who survived was the one with the broken tail. I couldn't keep him forever because I already had 3 half grown cats I'd rescued before I found him. Fortunately my sister was able to take him. He lives with her still and now my daughter loves to hug on him whenever we go to my sister's. He looks just like a Halloween kitty, and his tail takes a sharp left towards the end.
    I'm glad you were able to find a happy ending for Alchemy's survivor.

  10. Awwww...it was so sweet of you to go through all that effort to find it a good home.
    I would have hidden the kitten from the landlady.

  11. I would have been a renegade and hidden the kitten also..What a wonderful story! I really enjoyed it! I do so love animals. Alchemy must have known you were a good person..I do believe that animals can sense that about people:)

  12. You have such a sweet spirit. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  13. This was such a beautiful story. I loved every word of it. I'm so happy Alchemy found a home to be loved and adored, as all animals should have. Great post!

  14. What a lovely story!!! I'm so glad you shared it!! I fell in love with both Alchemy and her kitten...and I'm so glad that you found the kitten a home!!! Wonderful story! You had my attention from start to finish!!! ~Janine XO

  15. beautiful tale (tail?) :)
    you have me welling up!
    do you have a cat now?


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.