Bourbon's story

One of our blogger friends was working on a book with several rescue stories. Mom decided to write out Bourbon's story. It didn't make the book, but we wanted to share it with you. For those who haven't heard about Bourbon, his story will give you the basics, but you can read blog posts about catching the family, the vet visit, and being adopted.

We still care for their mom and she lives in our garage.
And now:
Bourbon's Story

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, I am not sure if it was dark or stormy or even night. But my brother said that good stories start like that so I am taking his word for it.
In May of 2012, my momma gave birth to my siblings and me and did everything to keep us warm and fed and safe. One day a lady came over to check on us while our momma was gone and said we were very tiny and needed more time with her. She said that the window well where we were living wasn’t the safest place, but it was better than some other places. She said she would keep food out for our momma and keep an eye on us.

But our momma had other plans and moved us around the neighborhood. Then one day the lady showed up with two big boxes and said she was done watching us move around and it was time to catch us. Our momma wasn’t very happy and got mad, but the lady caught us kittens and put us in one box. She left the other box for our momma and then took us to her house. We tried to be very brave (I even hissed at her), but it was scary. Finally she put us in a big cage and our momma was there! She was tired and smelled funny, but she was happy to see us. The lady said she had been spayed but would still be able to take care of us.

The lady would come and visit us several times per day. She brought smelly food and we thought that was wonderful. But our momma still didn’t like her and sat in the back of the cage. But the lady continued to talk softly to all of us and we decided she wasn’t so bad. Soon we were greeting her at the door of the cage every time she walked by.
One day the lady said it was time to see how we were doing on our own. So she carried us upstairs and set us up in a place she called baby jail. We played and ate and showed her we knew how to use the litter box. She sat on the floor with us and that was when she noticed I was a little different from my siblings. She picked me up and watched me walk around the floor. I wasn’t sure what she wanted, but I was happy to keep coming back to her. She spent more time with us and then took us back to the cage with our momma.

Several days later our momma was beginning to get restless. We knew she loved us, but the cage and the lady and the other cats in the house were becoming too much for her to deal with and the lady realized that. So the lady moved our things upstairs to this baby jail place. We could hear her back downstairs talking to our momma. The lady said she promised to take very good care of us and that she would continue to provide food and shelter for our momma and that our momma would now be called Allie.

The lady came back upstairs and looked sad. She said that our momma was a feral cat and that meant that she didn’t like people very much. To keep our momma happy, the lady released her back outside but promised to make sure she did her best to keep our momma safe. But starting right now, she would be our foster mom and would continue to raise us until we were big enough for our forever homes. And then she gave us our new names. She called me Bourbon.

There were lots of new things to learn and see and smell. We played and played and tried to make friends with the bigger kitties we could see on the other side of baby jail. The foster-mom-lady spent time every day playing with us and picking us up and kissing us. She continued to watch me walk and would mutter something about me being weird.

 Finally one day she decided that she needed a second opinion about how I was walking. She packed me up in a box and took along my brother Whiskey for company. The ladies at the vet office were very nice and they kissed us both and said how very cute we were. And then they took me into the back and took pictures of my legs. They brought me back and I told Whiskey I thought it was strange that if I was so cute that they didn’t want a picture of my face. The vet came into talk to the foster-mom-lady and told her that the pictures said either my kneecaps were on backwards or that I didn’t have any kneecaps in my back legs. No one knew what that would mean for me long term, but they decided to keep an eye on me and come back if anything changed.

One day she packed Whiskey and I up in the travel box again and took us to get neutered. We slept through most of it but she told us later that it meant we would be healthier and wouldn’t be able to make more kittens. And then one day she took Whiskey away from the house and said he was ready to find his forever home. Whiskey was adopted pretty quickly and the foster-mom-lady said that she had put my picture on the internet and was hoping someone would see how special I was and contact her about adopting me. She told me that she would take me to adoption events but that she didn’t want to leave me at the adoption place. She was concerned that someone would feel sorry for me since I was a little different and she didn’t want me to be adopted for that reason alone.

In the meantime, she fit me with a harness and a leash and started taking me different places with her. We went to the local pet store a lot and she would let me walk around while she followed me. She said it helped me work on my social skills. I tried to tell her I was plenty social without any help, but I don’t think she understood.

She also took me to another vet who took more pictures of my legs. This vet told the rescue and my foster-mom-lady that my back legs had no kneecaps at all. The vet said that while I was walking funny and it was certainly weird, she didn’t think it was causing me any problems right now. She said she thought it might somewhere down the road but that we could tell potential adopters and she would send my pictures to them.

The foster-mom-lady started calling me a low rider due to the way I was walking. My back legs don’t straighten out all the way since I don’t have kneecaps. This means my back end is lower than my front end when I walk. But it certainly doesn’t slow me down at all.

One day she took my other siblings Gin and Moonshine to get their surgery and then up to the adoption place. She said that no one had contacted her about me. She promised that if I got to be a year old and no one came for me that I could join her family. In the meantime, I was having a good time meeting new people and going new places and helping her with the next litter of foster kittens.

Moonshine eventually came back to the foster house. The foster-mom-lady said that he wasn’t doing very well up at the adoption place and she was worried that he was making it harder on himself to find a family. She said better to give him a chance to relax her with us and see what happened as he got a little older. She put his information on the internet too and said we would see what came our way. Moonshine wasn’t a fan of the harness and hated going any place so the foster-mom-lady kept working with me and left Moonshine in peace at the foster house.

Meanwhile the foster-mom-lady took me to adoption events and would talk to people about me. While everyone thought I was cute, no one seemed to want to take me home with them.

The foster-mom-lady told me not to worry. I was ok living with her and the kitties. I was even helping her with the new foster kittens that came to live with us. The foster-mom-lady said she loved me very much and that things would work out in their own time. For now I was having a good time with her and the other cats. There was plenty of food and toys. Plus I got to sleep on the bed with the foster-mom-lady. And some days if I looked very closely out the windows of the house, I would see my momma coming and going from the garage to the house as well.

Besides the kneecap thing, the foster-mom-lady said she had another concern about me. The rescue lady had agreed that I was not to be declawed. Now, the rescue isn’t in favor of declawing any cat, but in my case it was going to be a requirement. Since my back legs kept me from jumping, I was using my claws to climb up things. The foster-mom-lady said she knew some families would hesitate since I was climbing chairs and sofas and anything in front of me to get up. However, she also discovered as I got older that part of the reason I was climbing was that I was too short to get up without climbing. As I got older, I still couldn’t jump very far, but I could jump enough to get up on the coffee table and the chair in the living room.

One day in the fall, a vet came to the house. She was here to visit the cats that live here. I love everyone, so I made friends with her and the tech that came with her pretty quickly. Plus they had treats, so that was good too. The vet picked me up and kissed me. Her tech tried to convince the vet to take me home, but she said that she had an old-ladycat at her house and it wouldn’t be fair to her. I tried to tell the vet that I like all cats, but I don’t think she understood. I decided to make myself her unofficial assistant. I tried typing on her laptop, but the foster-mom-lady grabbed me and said I had reset something. I then tried to use the vet’s listening device, but the foster-mom-lady said that if I chewed on it I was going to have to get a job to pay for it. Then she decided I had been enough help for one day, so she put me back in baby jail with the little kittens. She thought that was safe since she knew I couldn’t jump at all and she hadn’t seen me ever get out. I proved her wrong and climbed over the gate. I was very proud of myself, but the foster-mom-lady grabbed me and I had to spend the rest of the appointment in the bedroom by myself.

Moonshine and I celebrated our first Christmas with the foster-mom-lady and her kitties. She got us special presents and said her Christmas wish was for our own home. She told us that she loved us very much but that it would be nice for us not to have to share her with the other kitties in the house.

And then it happened. One night the foster-mom-lady got a text from the rescue. It said that a couple had come up to the adoption center to donate some cat items. They had seen me on the internet and wanted to meet me. They had to let their previous cat with special needs cross the Rainbow Bridge due to his neurological issues and they had decided that just maybe they were ready to share their lives with another cat. But they had discussed it and decided they wanted to get another special cat.

The foster-mom-lady called the couple and they talked on the phone for a long time. She told them about my knees and what issues may come up down the road. She also told them about how I was learning to walk on a harness and leash. And she told them about my brother Moonshine.

Moonshine had been at the adoption center at the local pet store and he hated it there. The foster-mom-lady knew it would take a special family to be willing to take him since he was also very shy. She told this couple that he was a nice boy but would do better in a home with another cat. She also said that it would help me adjust since I got bored easily. They agreed to meet us both and set up a time.

The foster-mom-lady packed us up in the travel box and took us off in the car. She packed the blanket we had been sleeping on at the foster house along with some of our toys. She talked to us all the way over to the place where we were meeting this couple. We sang some of the songs of our people from the carrier to help her feel better about the whole trip.

Since we were early, the foster-mom-lady put on my harness and leash and we walked around the store. Moonshine told her in no uncertain terms that he was not coming out of the travel box, so the foster-mom-lady left him in there while we explored.

This nice couple then came into the store. They started talking to the foster-mom-lady while I climbed up on her shoulders to check out the situation. They said their previous cat named Machete had developed some neurological issues that affected his walk and his ability to get around. But they moved the litter boxes and the furniture around to make it easier for him until one day they knew that he wasn’t doing as well and that it was time to let him go. They said they were very sad but the foster-mom-lady assured them they went above and beyond what some others would do and that sometimes letting go is the best gift that people can give their animals. Then they started talking about me. The foster-mom-lady explained about the pictures they had taken of my legs and how I was walking. She put me on the ground to show them, but I decided to roll over and be adorable instead.

The man asked if he could hold me and the foster-mom-lady handed me over to him. It was then that I got a good look at him. I backed up to get a better look. His face was fuzzy. He laughed at my expression and asked the lady with him what she thought I was doing. She replied that I was probably trying to figure out the fuzz on his face. The lady asked to hold Moonshine and the foster-mom-lady got him out of the travel box. He wasn’t very happy to be out, but he curled up in the lady’s arms and hid his head. She smiled and stroked his head.

They all spent more time talking. The foster-mom-lady had told us in the car that while she had brought our paperwork with her, she expected that the couple would meet us and then maybe take some time to decide if they wanted to adopt us or not. The man handed me back to the foster-mom-lady and he and the lady took a walk around the store. The foster-mom-lady kissed me and told me not to worry. I kissed her back and tried to tell her that I wasn’t worried and that she shouldn’t worry either.

Soon enough the couple came back around the store. The man looked at the foster-mom-lady and said they had decided to adopt us both. They didn’t have a carrier and would have to buy some other things, but they knew it was the right time and the right decision. The foster-mom-lady put me back in the travel box with Moonshine and helped the couple fill out the paperwork and finalize our adoption. As they talked, they told her more about themselves and their family. Moonshine and I listened and the more we heard the more we knew that these people were going to be our new mom and dad and were going to be wonderful. They promised the foster-mom-lady to keep her updated on how we were doing in our new home.

Then it was time. The foster-mom-lady took Moonshine out of the travel box and kissed him and whispered in his ear. She put him back in and took me out. I wrapped my paws around her neck and she kissed me. She whispered that this was my new mom and dad and that while she loved me and Moonshine very much that the most important part of fostering is getting us ready for our new homes. And that this new home was going to be wonderful. But she also promised that if anything ever happened, we could come back to live with her. And with that, she put me back in the travel box with Moonshine, said congratulations to the couple and they took us to our new home in their car.

We got to our new home and spent some time checking everything out. It was all new to us, but our new mom and dad were very nice and very reassuring that we had all the time we needed to get used to everything.

And then in May of 2013 we turned 1 year old. And our new mom and dad invited the foster-mom-lady to come visit us. She came over with toys and treats. I greeted her at the door. Our mom said I do that with everyone. I said that of course I do since everyone coming over is coming to visit me. Moonshine has a new name. He is now called Gray Goose, or just Goose. The foster-mom-lady said she loves that they kept the theme of our names. And she told our mom how much straighter I was standing and walking. Both of us had grown into big boys.

Mom told her about our antics around the house. Goose can get up on the counters and I can’t. It isn’t fair, so I insist on yelling for mom every time he does it. Then one day our mom said she heard a different noise from the kitchen. She came in and discovered I was up on the counter. She was amazed until she saw that dad had moved a box and I had used it to get up on the counter. She made me get down and then moved the box. I protested, but she refused to move it back. For Valentine’s Day, they went out together and made us new dishes. They have ramps around the house so that I can get up on the ledge to look out the window. It is pretty awesome here.

When mom asked about our visit to the vet, mom told her that the new vet had taken more pictures of my legs and had pronounced me as being weird. The foster-mom-lady laughed and said that seemed to be the theme.

Thanks foster-mom-lady and the rescue for saving me and my siblings. Thanks for spaying my momma and continuing to take care of her. And thanks for taking the time to make sure that we found the perfect home.