Most days that I teach are filled to the brim with a whirlwind of students, classrooms and lessons. Other days I have only one class in the morning and spend the rest of the day sitting in the teacher’s lounge occupying my time with
animal videos productive activities. Tuesday was a slow day and as I was going on hour 6 of sitting around doing super productive work, a group of girls came in with a box looking for me.
Now I’m no stranger to the Indonesian’s love for gift-giving and having been the past recipient of many dresses, sweaters, candy, letters, paintings, arts and crafts and random thingymabobs galore. The box they held could have contained just about anything and I wouldn’t have been all that surprised.
Then it started to meow.
Okay, I admit I didn’t see that one coming. I can’t exactly say I ever expected a group of kids to give me a tiny cat in a box. It was my dream come true, a kitten surprise!
The Reality Is This:
As resident cat whisperer of my school, the girls had brought me a kitten they found had been hit by a motorbike and, knowing that I would take care of it, they swiftly brought him to me. I must say, they have a lot of faith in me because for a moment I felt completely useless. What exactly was I supposed to do with this scraggly little thing?
The tiny kitten tried to get out of the box and I saw that he clearly had no functioning in his back legs. All the while he was meowing in a way that was pitiful enough to melt the hearts every guard at Buckingham Palace, who would all no doubt have broken stance to cuddle this little guy and say “awww.”
But what could I do?
A moment later, with a dozen hopeful 8th grade faces staring at me in desperation and a room full of teachers peering over, I snapped into problem-solving mode. It’s time to save a cat! I began giving instructions, asking questions and Googled the nearest vet, which thankfully was less than a mile away. I gently put the kitten back in the box and made to leave but the girls stopped me before I made it to the door and handed me a bag of money. They had pooled together a fund for the little cat to be taken care of! Cue my heart melting into a puddle at my feet.
Next thing I know we are on the motorbike and making our way to the vet, who of course was the father of one of my students. Either that or I’m famous throughout this whole town because after I rang the doorbell the child standing at the vet’s feet said, “Miss. Caitlin! Miss. Caitlin!”
Tell Us Something Good, Doc…
The vet took us into the office, a room barely larger than a walk-in closet attached to his house. He started to do his thing, checking the kitten’s legs, seeing if the nerves were working and doing other veterinarian type sorcery that they are known to do. He concluded that the right leg was past saving but the left leg would possibly heal and he gave us pain medicine to give the him twice daily. He also provided the phone number, and a hand drawn map for safe measure, to an animal clinic that does acupuncture in the next town over. His final suggestion was to make a kitty wheelchair, which we planned to attempt.
The vet asked for the cat’s name to which I said Dobby, because let’s not lie to ourselves, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? Afterwards, we drove Dobby back to the headmaster’s house where we are staying (“headmaster” in this instance is not to be confused with Dumbledore, though I wholeheartedly believe he would make a fabulous cat owner). We gently put Dobby in the fenced yard and introduced him to his new roommates, four fluffy bunnies.
The headmaster happened to be out of town during all these kitty shenanigans and we hoped he’d be cool with it when he returned home. To cover my bases, I concocted a foolproof backup plan which involved recruiting his adorable animal-loving 8 year old daughter to beg her dad to let Dobby stay. But really, this guy has deer in his backyard, fish in the pond, frogs in the pool and bunnies out front so I don’t see him saying no.
One Week Later…
The big man in charge, Pak Agus (formerly known as the headmaster that isn’t Dumbledore) returned from his trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. I was conveniently out of town at the time, leaving my friend-and-soon-to-be-teacher to break the news about the family’s potential new pet. Apparently my friend and Pak Agus were enjoying a coffee together outside when Pak Agus looked over and very casually and in only a mildly puzzled tone said, “When did we get a kucing?” (“Kucing” meaning cat.) My friend explained the story of said kucing and thankfully the headmaster didn’t mind the new addition at all. Dobby found himself a home!
Not only does he have a home, but he is also healing! He still slides around on his butt sometimes, but by some miracle he is trying to use the leg that we thought would never work again. We believe he’ll be running around in no time after a little more in-home kitty therapy sessions with the resident cat doctor, aka me, using a cut up piece of fabric and helping him walk around.
He’s currently living it up with his new bunny friends, chasing grasshoppers, snuggling in laps and consuming as much tuna as possible.
All’s Well That Ends Well
When I got back in town I thanked Pak Agus for his understanding of the situation. He explained that it is no problem at all and that we must love all things, including all people and all animals; We must be kind to all living things. He even suggested that the girls who originally brought Dobby to me come by his home and see how he is doing after they rescued him. He believes there is a wonderful lesson to be learned and I couldn’t agree more. By Merlin’s bear, I do think the man is almost as wise as Dumbledore himself.
Have you ever taken in a stray? Can your cat inhale a packet of tuna in 0.8 seconds too? Did Dumbledore ever have cats? Please tell me, comment below.