Slice of Life

Rihanna Found Love in a Hopeless Place, and So Did I

My warehouse officially launched October 9 2019. It was trying, but I think most everyone would agree it was fairly successful given how blind everyone was but how overly prepared I was. This is me tooting my horn here, guys. Some time in November, the pieces were beginning to settle, I made friends with the nerdy tech guys from our neighboring site. Also a stray kitten.

Working late into the evenings, often times I was the only one on site (we talked about my work/life balance). The automatic overhead lights alerted me to her presence. Upon first glance, she ran back to wherever she lived. As time passed, she summoned the courage to get closer. Kevin and I fed her cans of tuna or chicken and provided a Styrofoam water bowl from the break room, at half-court. Eventually, she was bold enough to reveal herself to groups of people and move closer.

One night while working alone, I placed her dishes significantly closer to my desk. She took the bait, though I had to keep eye contact to a minimum (she hated that shit). After a time, I glanced over, and she was gone. I surveyed around, but couldn’t see her and figured she left me to it. I nearly kicked her, though, because she was perched on the cross beam under my desk. That tiny, brave soul got so close! I was so ashamed and sorry I scared the bejeezus out of her, sending her b-lining for the nearest dark place to hide under. Oops.

As more associates and drivers spotted her, she became something of an icon in our baby building as we talked about her throughout the week, imagined where she slept, worried about what she ate, and pondered what we could do to catch her. At the time, we assumed her to be male, an came to name her “Amelio,” because why not. I determined only a Spanish-flavored name suited this little guy, and when a driver suggested “Amelio,” it stuck. Well, now we’d named the damn cat, thus we were attached to it.

 Even the next-door tech guys got into it. “You seen that stray?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s so pretty. The team’s named him Amelio.”
“Y’all named it?”

“Well, I figured he’s kind of our mascot. Mascot’s gotta have a name.”

They sighed at first, but they quickly got on board. They updated me constantly, “Spotted Amelio again.” They explained how the team was taking turns searching for her hiding places, leaving treats and food to draw her out, planning to catch her. “All I know is I need him gone before the site launches. There’s cat poop everywhere and the robots are running over it. It’s a mess.”

We struck a bargain: “If you guys catch it,” I said, “I’ll give it a place to live.”

Let me be very clear: I hate cats.

Not a week later, I was finishing up a few tasks, and I hear a sing-song voice through the fence dividing the sites (yeah, we’re super high-tech like that) “Oh, Malloryyyy… yoo-hoo! Guess what we’ve gooot?” I lept out of my chair, “You caught him!” I squealed as I skipped to the service gate and into the other site. Sure enough, there was an upside down trashcan pinned to the floor with a feisty spirit held captive underneath. I beamed, clapping and hopping up and down. The three smug tech guys, clearly proud of themselves.

Classic stick-box-string trap with a modern twist: The trap was set with cat treats, the trashcan leaning over the food balanced on a robot. Once Amelio took the bait, one of the tech-guys remotely moved the robot, causing the trashcan to come down around the kitten. Classic.

The next 20 minutes transferring her from the floor/trashcan and into a cardboard box was pure dumb luck. She leapt at every opening she could, making heart breaking noises the whole while. Six hands, but mine were the most determined. On her final leap, I grabbed her – whatever part of her I was quick enough to grab. She dangled in the air from a hind leg, me refusing to let go despite her pitiful protesting cries, while the guys re-built the box around her mid-air. Securing the box, we noticed that no hand was safe in this event – those poor guys were bleeding, even though they chose to wear gloves.

I called the local animal hospital and left with her immediately. I got the bare essentials from a pet shop. Yeah, she was in that box for an hour and it probably re-traumatized her, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. The hospital was appointment only and we had some time to kill.

Finally at the vet, the receptionist cautioned me about her being feral and that depending on her age, it could take months for her to resocialize, with the possibility that she may never break from being feral. I had hope, though – after all, it was only a few days prior that she willingly sat under my desk.

“Let’s take a look,” the doctor said, flanked by two nurses as I backed away from the examination table to give them space to work. The moment they removed the tape, it was like a cartoon action bit. Amelio jumped straight into the air, surprising us all, and breaking for freedom. Flying around the room, she couldn’t find an exit or anything to hide behind. The poor thing crashed into the windows, clawing at everything. Of all the times to have the camera rolling, thank the gods I remembered then. Essentially, our first interaction in close quarters was absolutely comical.

Fortunately, she checked out just fine despite being underweight and dehydrated. She purred through her shots – she was either scared shitless, loved the closeness, or both. That was also the moment I learned Amelio was actually Amelia, but that was an easy fix (see? Spanish-flavored names for the win).

The vet let me borrow a large wire dog cage along with some other cat-needs (scratching post, sleeping bed, toys). After doing some research via youtube videos, I made a plan for bringing her into my home, feeding her, and acclimating her to human contact.

Yeah, she was in that cage for less than 48 hours. She tricked me, okay? As the trust between us was growing with each feeding, she lept over my leg that blocked her cage door. And I forgot to close the bedroom door. By the second night, she had free range of my apartment and I just packed up the cage. However, it proved to be for the best. She was so starved for attention and affection, Amelia was absolutely no trouble at all. Used the litterbox with not a single hiccup and has now amassed a literal toybox full of things just for her.

It’s hard to believe I’ve only have Ami for two or three months, but she’s absolutely my best friend and is the best thing about coming home. She’s still a scardey cat as it takes a couple of days for her to warm up to new toys and she doesn’t immediately greet visitors.

Last Monday I got her spayed and chipped (she refuses to wear a collar), so I guess that’s as official as it gets. I’m never leaving her.

PS – I hate that song, but my love of irony supersedes any dislikes I harbor.

Let me be very clear: I fucking love my cat.

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