We’re in a Bit of a Pickle

This idiom has taken on a whole new meaning for me—a rather positive one. Since my last post, a lot (and I mean a lot) of things have happened, one of which is an unexpected feline adoption. Yep, I am now a cat mother.

One Sunday last October, our dear Pickle found us. I recall waking early to go to the bathroom when I heard cat cries from somewhere nearby. Still sleepy, I went back to bed not thinking much of it. But later when the cries persisted, I told my partner we had to find the source of those distress calls, stat.

After a bit of searching, we found a scared little kitten tucked behind our outdoor trash bin. He (we still didn’t know the sex at the time) was black and white with a mask and mantle pattern. He was visibly distressed and hid further behind the rocks and overgrowth on the lot. Despite his situation, he seemed to be in good condition—meaning he didn’t look injured or ill, just terrified.

We had limited time to perform a rescue since we were about to head out. It was obvious the little nugget wasn’t used to people. He was hissing, growling, and spitting. (I honestly didn’t know beforehand that cats spit when threatened!) He wasn’t ready to be rescued, and he hid where we couldn’t reach him. Unfortunately, we had to go. We left with just the hopes that he would be found.

We had a lovely lunch out and a productive afternoon of errands, but I had the lost (or maybe abandoned) kitten in my mind the whole time! My boyfriend and I agreed that if the poor little baby was still there by the time we got back, we would do our very best to rescue him.

It was late afternoon when we returned home. It was quiet. We thought maybe the kitten was found. Thank God! We went inside the house and started to get settled. Not long after we had put our bags down did we start hearing his cries again. This time, they sounded weaker and more desperate. I imagined he didn’t have anything to eat or drink at all the whole day, and that broke my heart. A sense of panic took over me.

It also started to get dark, and we knew we had to move fast. We looked for the poor kitten first. Thankfully, he was back where we first found him. We could tell he was exhausted and thought perhaps he was finally ready to come with us. He wasn’t spitting or hissing anymore, although he was still crying and clawing.

A very distressed Pickle moments before we rescued him

Thankfully, we live near my boyfriend’s family home where his dad—a certified cat person who looks after their own house cat and several community cats—had a lot of supplies. We started walking, determined to save a kitten that night. Tito Mon was very kind to help us. He gave us boxes and paper bags for a makeshift bed, and some litter and cat food to tide us over until we figured out what to do next.

Preparing for rescue

We made our way back to the house supplies in tow and discussed our game plan. I was to prepare space for the kitten in our garage, while my boyfriend was in charge of actually extracting the kitten from where it was hiding. After a few tries and many gentle words, we were successful.

The first order of business was to give him food and water. He chomped up the kibble immediately, still crying in between chews. He was still frightened, but at least he was in a much better and safer situation. We left him alone for a little while to eat, drink, and rest. We had to decide what to do next now that we had accomplished our first mission.

Some food and water after a long day for this poor nugget

After ensuring no one was looking for him, we had a couple of options. Option 1: We could take care of the kitten as a community cat. He could stay in our garage, where we would feed him and provide his other needs. Option 2: We could fully adopt him and make him part of our family. With these possibilities clear, we decided to check on the kitten again to help us make our decision. Seeing him, all tiny and fragile, just tugged at our heartstrings. Without question, we had to welcome him inside our home and give him all the love and care he deserves.

And so not long after his rescue, Pickle (still unnamed at the time) moved into our home. He had calmed down a bit but was still visibly scared and often cried out. He didn’t understand a lot of the sights and sounds around the house, so he was easily spooked. The good news was that he was eating and drinking. He also immediately learned how to use the litter box to relieve himself.

That Sunday was eventful, you can certainly say. The following Monday, thankfully, wasn’t as manic. Since I worked from home, I was left with the task of making Pickle feel safe and confident in his new home. During his first day in the house, he pretty much just hid behind the refrigerator whenever I wasn’t around. I suppose he didn’t feel confident to explore without me in the same room. I frequently went downstairs where he stayed, careful not to make any sudden noises, to make sure he went out to eat, drink, and use the bathroom. I also did my best, with my softest voice and a lot of patience, to encourage him to come out to play, explore, and cuddle.

Pickle’s first day at home. Look how small he was!

The way Pickle immediately recovered from his fears made me believe he was really destined to meet us and become part of our lives. In less than a day, he was already showing his playful and curious side. He became less and less afraid and more and more confident. He started inspecting more things around the house and expanding his territory. By the time my work ended in the late afternoon, he was already cuddling with me on the couch!

My sweet little cuddle buddy

A couple days later, we had decided on a name: Pickle. (Admittedly, we were partial to choosing food as a pet name.) We thought it fit him perfectly just looking at him. There was something so perky and cheeky about him even though he was still getting used to his new home.

We also brought Pickle for his first ever vet visit to make sure he got whatever medical help he needed. Thankfully, the doctor said he looked great and was overall healthy. We went on to discuss Pickle’s future checkups and his vaccines. He has since been to several vet visits with each one being a success.

Pickle’s first vet visit

Just recently, however, Pickle had to fight the calicivirus. Our first scare! It was easy to know that something was wrong. Over time, Pickle had learned to climb up the stairs, so he would often head up when he heard us shuffling in the morning and wait for us to open the door. It had become our morning ritual to greet each other good morning with some pets and purrs. So when one morning he failed to greet me, I immediately knew something was wrong.

Good thing we caught it early and that his symptoms were mild. He only had to fight recurring fever for a few days. No damage to his gums, no congestion, no diarrhea, no vomiting. Of course, it was still unnerving to see him weak given the ball of energy he usually is! We’re absolutely glad that’s all over now and he is back to his old self.

Poor Pickle battling a fever

There is no question, our home life has become a lot more exciting with Pickle around. Yes, it hasn’t been that easy adjusting to a new routine and taking on more responsibilities, but the joy he brings is priceless. It has been an adventure shopping for supplies, cat-proofing our home, setting up play areas, going to the vet, and just overall getting to know the new member of our family. Since joining our little unit, Pickle has blossomed into a delightful little kitten. His personality and skills are developing by the day. Aside from being brave, he is also curious and playful, affectionate and loooves the attention. He enjoys different types of play (additional workout for me) and has picked his favorite foods.

I’m sure that as time goes by, more things will surprise us about about our darling Pickle. We estimate he is now about 4 months, so there’s still plenty of growing for him to do. We’re curious to see how his personality develops over time and what kind of cat he settles into eventually. However he turns out, I only hope he remains to be the courageous and bold feline that he is because we still have many adventures ahead of us.

So that’s one update from the past couple of months. Certainly a plot twist we didn’t expect but absolutely are very grateful for. I’m pretty sure I’ll post more updates about Pickle here—and hopefully some other content too—but here’s where I’ll end things for now. Please enjoy this little gallery of kitten cuteness!

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