I've always loved cats, and when I was five years old I got my first kitten. I can still remember going with my dad to a man's house and seeing more cats in one place than I'd ever seen before. And they weren't like the farm cats that I'd played with at my grandmother's house--these had beautiful blue eyes with black faces, ears, legs and tails. Their bodies were a creamy light tan color. I thought they were the most incredible things I'd ever seen in my life!
One little kitten climbed up on my lap and started purring, and I knew I'd found my kitten--or that she had found ME! She didn't look like the adults because she still had a smudgy gray face, but "Missy" (as we named her) was the one who first established my life-long love for Siamese.
When Missy died at the age of 17, I was in my junior year of college. That summer when I moved back home, I slept in the guest room--it was just too painful to sleep in my regular bed since Missy was no longer under the covers each night with me....
A couple of weeks before I graduated from college, I had a dream in which I saw a little sealpoint kitten named "Sasha" in my parents' house. I called my folks and told them about my dream, not knowing that there really was a little Siamese girl living there! Sasha--whom my parents had gotten as my graduation present--became the second Siamese in my life.
Sasha traveled with us that summer to Maine and also to Indiana, but while she was affectionate towards me, she had already bonded to my parents--especially to my dad. A few months later when I moved into an apartment that didn't allow pets, she stayed with them and became their cat.
Then, in 1982 when I was living in my own house, I found my third Siamese--a beautiful little sealpoint girl that I named "Cica" (which means "kitten" in Hungarian). Cica was a very petite kitty who reminded me a lot of Missy, and she completely stole my heart. She was the "perfect" cat, exhibiting the best traits of the breed--she was vocal, affectionate, intelligent, a loyal and constant companion, and stunningly beautiful!
When Cica was about 15, we adopted two kittens from the local SPCA. These were the first non-Siamese kitties that I'd ever owned and it was also the first time I'd had more than one cat at a time! Cirrus and Eclipse were very sweet and affectionate cats, but I'm convinced that no "regular" cat can match a Siamese when it comes to intelligence, curiosity, and communication! Cica basically ignored the new babies. I suppose she felt that such "commoners" were not worthy of her attention, although they were wonderful additions to our fur-family!
In late December 2001, we added yet another cat to our family--a four-month old tabby boy. Riley was the first male cat I'd ever had, and he, too, has been a delight!
Siamese often live longer than other cats, and Cica remained relatively healthy and active until her late teens. She adapted well to the move to our new house in 2001 (when she was 19 years old) and she continued to sleep under the covers with me each night.
She died on the morning of April 6, 2002 on the bed that we'd shared for all those years. I buried her in my back yard near the statue of St. Francis....
Having the other three cats here helped to ease the pain of Cica's death, but it was still a very difficult loss. We'd shared 20 years together, and in many ways she was the only "constant" in my life. I knew that Cica could never, ever be "replaced," but I missed the communication, the special bond that forms between Siamese and their people, the vivid blue eyes, and the exotic beauty of these special cats.
In May 2002, a little over a month after Cica's death, the quest for a Siamese kitten began. Being a teacher, I'm at home during the summer, and I wanted to have as long as possible to bond with a new baby and to integrate it into my three-cat (and two-dog) household.
I started looking at online classified ads around the state (and beyond), got on the "wish list" at our local SPCA, and applied to adopt through Siamese Rescue, a wonderful organization that re-homes Siamese cats of all ages.
I made several inquiries about adult Siamese through the Rescue pages and was also put on the waiting list for a kitten. I checked Petfinder.org on a daily basis, and called about several litters that I saw advertised in the classifieds.
Once school was out, I would get up at my regular time (about 5:45 a.m.), check the online ads, then go back to bed for a while. One morning after checking the ads to no avail, I had a dream about seeing a whole litter of Siamese kittens in a local pet shop. In the dream, the kittens were in the big glass "boxes" that rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets are kept in at the pet shop, and in the dream I adopted a little sealpoint girl from the shop. I knew that local animal shelters sometimes had cats and kittens there, but they were never housed with the guinea pigs! In retrospect, I think seeing the "glass boxes" helped to establish the location, as no other local pet shops have cages like that.
As the days passed by, I became frustrated. While I'd sometimes see ads for Siamese kittens in the online classifieds, there was always something that bothered me about the litters I called about. Either the people were selling them at too young of an age (which concerned me), or they were too expensive (for a non-pedigreed cat), or they were too far away. (Case in point, one litter that I considered going to see would have involved a five hour drive--one way!) And yet, despite my frustrations, I emailed a friend and said that the Universe frequently had a way of pleasantly surprising me, and that I'd try to be patient as I waited for the "right" kitty to find me.
One morning on Petfinder I saw some flamepoint Siamese babies listed at an animal shelter a couple of hours away from my house. I called about them, but learned that I would not be able to adopt because I didn't live in the same county. The woman explained that young, unneutered animals could only be adopted locally.
A couple of days later, a woman I'd "met" online through Rescue told me about a little sealpoint boy at another shelter. This one was a little closer to my home and so I decided to call, even though I was pretty sure I'd be told that I couldn't adopt because I didn't live in that county. The kitten had already been adopted, but it was still a valuable call: I learned that shelters could adopt out to people in adjacent counties.
The next morning, after browsing classifieds all over the state again, I checked an online map to see which counties were adjacent to the one I live in. I wrote them all down and looked up phone numbers for their animal shelters. I planned to call each one, asking to be put on their "wish list" in case a Siamese came in.
I called the first shelter in an adjacent county and when the woman answered, I said I was calling on the off chance that they might have Siamese. There was a surprised silence for a second, and the woman said that they'd just gotten in a whole litter!
I couldn't believe what I was hearing as she described these 9 week old babies, and I excitedly got directions to the shelter. Realizing that it was going to be quite a trek on unfamiliar roads, I called my dad to see if he'd like to ride along. He said he would, and we were on the road less than 20 minutes after I'd made the phone call! This was sounding like a "best case scenario" because I'd hoped, all along, to be able to let a kitten choose ME.
When we finally arrived at the shelter (which was housed on a farm), the director said that her house was so full of cats and kittens that she'd moved this litter into her barn. I had some concerns about that, but instead of it being a "barn," it was a stable that was neat, clean, and air-conditioned. She opened the door, I stepped in and literally gasped--there were three cages with two or three beautiful little kittens in each one! After wondering if I would be able to find ONE kitten, I suddenly had seven to choose from!
One little sealpoint in the center cage immediately made eye-contact with me and started meowing to come out. As soon as I touched it, it started purring and cuddling in my arms! It was a little boy, and while I'd hoped to find a female sealpoint, I knew that this purr-sonable young fella was a keeper!
I quickly checked the other sealpoints, looking for a girl, and didn't see one. But another kitten, a flamepoint male, also was super friendly and affectionate. In the month or more that I'd been looking at the kittens on Siamese Rescue, my youngest son had said that he thought that flamepoints--with their white bodies and orange "points"--were exceptionally cool looking cats.... What the heck--"Take two, they're small"!
Even though I'd pretty well decided on these two, I looked at the other kittens, too. There was a tortiepoint female, but at the time I just didn't think that I could get a third cat.... I filled out all the adoption papers and as I was talking with the director of the shelter, we discovered an interesting "coincidence"--her husband had taught for ten years at the school that *I* now teach at. Between my "random" phone call to the shelter, their getting in a litter of Siamese the evening before, and now this episode of "coincidence," I knew, without question, that I'd found the "right" kittens!
Even though I was delighted with my new babies, I kept thinking about the little tortiepoint girl that I hadn't chosen. The next day I called the director of the shelter again to ask about the little girl, and learned that a few of the kittens had been taken to a pet shop to increase their chances for adoption. And to WHICH pet shop? Of course to the one that I'd had the dream about!
Believe it or not, I didn't plan to go see them. I rationalized that I'd found two beautiful, healthy babies and had a houseful of other cats and dogs, too. I certainly didn't NEED any more cats, but I was very concerned about this litter and began calling people I knew who'd once had and loved Siamese. I also called the local SPCA to ask them to please contact people on their Siamese "wish list." I just really, really wanted to make sure that they all found good, loving homes.
The next day I had to run some errands in town and made the decision to go by the pet shop. I was being fatalistic about it--if the tortie girl was there and I had a second chance to adopt her, I would. If she wasn't there, then it wasn't meant to be.
When I walked over to the cage I didn't see her. There was one little calico-type kitten in the cage, along with another flamepoint and a little sealpoint boy. I told the manager of the shop that I'd adopted two from the litter already, and asked if I could just hold the sealpoint (though I didn't intend to adopt him). As soon as I picked him up, though, he began to purr and I realized that I was treading on dangerous ground.... I wondered about the logistics of having three male kittens--making a total of SIX CATS!!--but I was losing all arguments with myself that hinged on reason and logic.
My oldest son was with me, and he cuddled with this little sweetie, too. And that's when I realized that something was...different...about this little boy. This perfect little sealpoint BOY was a perfect little sealpoint GIRL!! I have no idea how I overlooked her the first time, but since I'd found a little sealpoint girl in the pet shop that I'd dreamed about several weeks before, I knew that she would be coming home to live with two of her brothers.
So that's the story of how I came to acquire three Siamese kittens in June 2002, when I wasn't sure that I'd be able to find even one! They are beautiful, healthy, affectionate babies who have already wrapped their paws around my heart and who have charmed everyone who has seen them, including vets and vet techs. I'm still amazed that I was able to find such little treasures at an animal shelter!
While they have not "replaced" my angel kitty, Cica--nor did I expect them to--the Universe, indeed, had a wonderful surprise in store for me--in triplicate!--when I began my quest for a kitten!