Love at First Meow

In October of 1991, an orange cat strolled into our townhouse as we were packing for a trip to Vermont. I wasn't into cats then, but was charmed by this friendly, chill cat. He just sauntered in like he owned the place. Our neighbors ended up adopting him. As I got to know, and love, more cats over the years, I would sometime think "Lord, I'm ready for that to happen again!" Also, for some reason I knew that if we ever did get a cat, it would be male, and his name would be Walter. Who knew where that came from!

Fast forward to April of 2020, the strangest of years, as we were driving up to my Mom's, about an hour away. GPS had me taking a left at Roosevelt Ave in Manville, NJ, but I felt like going straight. But when I looked in my rearview mirror, there was a line of cars, so I went ahead and made that lefthand turn. That small act changed our lives for the better, for good! Within a 10 yards or so, we almost hit a small orange cat who was crossing the road. I immediately pulled over, and also waved my arms madly at an oncoming car. He thought I was nuts until I told him I didn't want him to hit this little cat. He said "Well he's under your car now!" I knelt down, we locked eyes and this little fella meowed - I scooped him up in my arms and he hugged my neck and started purring madly. It was love at first meow. After I went to a few houses to see if he belonged to anyone, I brought him back to the car (and my infinitely patient husband), and said "Watch him while I go knock on some more doors!" We had our tiny maltipoo, Lily, in a crate in the back seat, and she was yowling and howling. The cat, for his part, just calmly and curiously put his nose up to her to say "Oh, hi there!" Then hopped up to sit on her crate as if it was something he did on a routine basis.

We did due diligence to see if he belonged to anyone in the neighborhood, but the story we got from a couple of people was that there were a LOT of stray cats in Manville. And he most likely would have been a dead stray cat if we hadn't flagged down that oncoming car. Which would not have happened if I had not made that left onto Roosevelt Ave! Oh, the importance of these small decisions we make in life!!

So now we have our male, orange cat, as friendly and chill as the one who walked into our home so many years ago, and have indeed named him Walter. He was estimated to be 7-9 months old when we found him, so he is just around a year now. He is sweet, funny, curious, mischievous, and will do a meow that sounds like he's saying "Huh-rowwww? (Hellooo?)" He is also so beautifully marked! Truly, our own little tiger. I didn't know I could be this much in love with a CAT!!!

I also did some research after we took Walter home, thinking about how friendly and chill he is. (Although he definitely has his Crazy Cat times too.) For some reason, orange tabbies have a rep for being very friendly and outgoing. Sure is the case with our guy!

We found a new home this year after almost two years of looking; and we found a cat who I love to the moon and back. Lily and he are quite companionable now - he actually seems quite attached to her, and I call him her Bratty Little Brother. This year has brought so much weirdness and heartache, but Walter is one of the biggest silver (or orange!) linings to 2020.

Kate Hammett