About three weeks ago, we were at the souk (marketplace) here in Al Quwayiyah to pick up some things for our house. The first thing we saw was a kitten running around with some children. We couldn't tell if the kitten belonged to someone or not, so we carried on. But , after hitting a couple of stores, we saw a dead kitten behind one of the shops. That changed our feelings about the situation a little bit .
I could still hear the kitten crying, so I went out to find her and give her some water. She was hiding under a stroller (with a baby in it and a mom at the helm) from a young boy trying to scare her away by stomping at her. So, I pulled the kid back and knelt to scoop her out. When I offered her a bottle cap full of water, she tried to nurse from it and cried. The skin on her belly was just starting to wrinkle . She was starving. I had no choice but to pick her up and get her fed. She didn't resist being carried at all. And she made eye contact when I spoke to her. This was no feral kitten. Someone had dumped her. Ian ran into the super market and bought some yogurt and tuna. I popped open the yogurt and fed a little to her with my finger. She was pretty stoked about it and she got it all over my abaya. We drove her home, made her up a box.
She still lives on a puree of tuna and yogurt. We're about to wean her to kitten food (if we can find some in Riyadh) since she's about 7-8 weeks old. She's healthy and adorable. But, she can't stay with us forever. We didn't want to bring her home in the first place. She's welcome to stay until summer, but then she needs a forever home.
We have two cats and a dog (the absolute maximum for renting at home) waiting for us at Mom's house. I mean it when I say we can't and won't keep her.
I'm hoping to find her a home myself. And so long as my company gets my flight sorted in the next days and I can call the airline with several weeks notice, I'll be taking her as "carry-on" luggage back to the states for a home. I'm really hoping that works out, but I'm not sure, yet. If she makes it stateside and I don't have a home for her, I'll be forced to take her to the Oregon Humane Society and let them home her. She'll be about 3-3.5 months old, so it should be a piece of cake getting her adopted. But, it be much, much better to not have OHS spend their resources on her. I'd rather hand her directly to her new companion.
There are shelters in Riyadh (and a couple of other cities), but they're not the kind of places where animals often find homes. Sure, some do, but most live out their days there. It's simply not a pet culture and there are just too many animals on the street. "Fix and release" programs are starting up on some compounds (kitties have clipped ears at Seder, the international symbol for "I'm fixed and living in a controlled feral colony"), but many places still use pest control on cats and dogs. If I can make it happen, she'd be better off in the states, even if I have to take her to a shelter there.
She's a very good girl. She's very social and greets us when we wake up and when we come home. She comes when called (she gets called Monkey, Monk, Monkey Cat, Munchkin, Kitty, Terror, Pestilence, Sweets, Baby Cat, etc., so don't worry about changing her name). At those times, she purrs when we pick her up. But outside of that, she only purrs when she's sleepy. But her purr is a big one. She is the most energetic and playful kitten I've ever met. We're teaching her what's too rough (she gets wound up a bit, probably from being played with roughly by kids when she was even littler) and what's alright to play with (hint: not laptop cables). She's learning.
A kitten's behavior doesn't necessarily indicate what their adult personality will be, but just in case, I'm going to recommend that she be given to someone who actively enjoys the company of their pets. She'll need play time. Maybe another cat would be nice, though I don't have any other house kitties to socialize her with, so I don't know if she'll want to be the only cat or have a friend. She's so young, though, that she could probably learn to be friends with anybody: cat, dog or human.
She's already litterbox trained and I've got her scratching her claws on corrugated cardboard (like those cheap Target cat scratchers, only this came off our Ikea furniture). If she comes on our flight with us, she'll have had her check up and rabies vaccination. I won't have her spayed here, though, as I'd rather just wait and have it done stateside since it is a surgical procedure.
Spread the word far and wide! This lovely 7-8 week old Tortie is looking for a home in Oregon/Washington or Saudi Arabia!
Blurry evidence of her active antics!