One day early in my marriage, I was sitting in my apartment, waiting for my husband to come home from work. I heard the door open, saw him dart in, drop off the stuff he'd taken to work with him, and dart back out as I said, tentatively now, "Hello?"
I had absolutely no idea what was going on. But I figured I would soon, so I waited and sure enough, soon my husband came through the door.
With a kitten.
Now, I've always owned birds, and at the time we did have my old cockatiel, Liriel, in residence. So I calmly looked at the kitten and said something very intelligent like, "What? What are you doing bringing a cat in here?"
My husband held the kitten as he told me someone had brought the kitten up to the second floor of our apartment complex, where we lived, and left him there. He thought it was possible that someone thought he was cute, missed the fact that he was clearly a feral kitten and sick, and then abandoned him. This was something that my husband could not stand.
Well, I had no idea what to do with a kitten. But we got out our spare bird cage, lined with paper, gave the kitten a spot to sleep, and planned to take him to the vet next day.
He had beautiful deep eyes and was so trusting. He'd never been with humans before, but he trusted me to hold him and purred at me, even though he was so sick he couldn't meow.
Well, we took him to the vet, and sure enough, he had infections galore. Ear infections. Eye infections. A feline herpes infection, which he never completely recovered from. But we gave him medicine, told our on-line friends about him (and a couple of them donated to his care), and tried to figure out what to do with him.
We knew we couldn't keep him. We knew his mother had loved him from her yowls outside our door, but she said goodbye with my husband's help before we took her son to the vet. He placed the kitten in his tiny cage outside and let her nose him, seeing he was okay.
So we asked our local animal shelters. And I'm sure as most of you more experienced kitty people know, we got laughed out of town. There was definitely no room at the inn for our one little mite.
And so my husband turned to the people we knew would help, the people who took in numerous cats and dogs for every reason under the sun while he grew up and taught him to do the same...his parents. We couldn't bear the thought of our kitty spending years in a shelter. And sure enough, his parents took in our kitty. My husband's sister named him Caliper.
He was beautiful. He was friendly. He was curious and playful. Because he never got well, he had to go a few years before a perfectly well cat would.
And sometimes even a bird owner misses a kitty.