Four years ago Roger and I decided that our Christmas present to each other would be to adopt a kitten from All Creatures Great and Small, a controversial local shelter that was in the process of closing. When we went there we found Baci, a very tiny feral ginger kitten, who came home and joined the family, to our continuing delight.
I also met Milky and Caramel, two one-eyed brothers who, as I was told, had injured each other during a fight. They both were so charming and affectionate that I didn’t see how the story could possibly be true, but there they were with their rakish pirate charm, and little chance of being adopted together, which was required because of their strong bond of devotion.
With so many healthy single animals there urgently needing homes, the chance of someone taking on two special needs cats was very small. Something had to be done to help them, so I told the staff that I would give a $100 adoption bonus to the person who would take them both. Someone on the staff of All Creatures told the Times-News about the bonus, and I was asked to come back to the shelter for an interview and picture with the boys. About a week after the story ran, no one had claimed the reward so I called All Creatures and was told that the kittens had been adopted, but they couldn’t be located for the routine follow-up the Human Society was conducting. Fearing Milky and Caramel were dead, or worse, I blamed myself for calling attention to them, and for the next few months, whenever I thought about them I was deeply sad.
One day I went to the Post Office and found a letter with a return address that said only, “Milky and Carmel”. They were alive! I was so stunned and relieved I burst into tears in the middle of the parking lot. When I pulled myself together and opened the envelope, I found a note from the boys saying how happy they were, and several pictures to prove it. A few more times since then I’ve had cards and pictures of “Kumal and Sangha”, as they now are called, but the kind and still anonymous person who took them in has never asked for the bonus money.
Today I received a Christmas card that said, “My how we’ve grown! Four years old, still together and enjoying life. Haven’t forgotten your kindness…” Inside the card was a fuzzy picture of them looking very well-fed and content, the latest chapter in their remarkable story which I’m happy to share with you.