Muffin, muffin, muffin!
In my YouTube video “Meet my 6 Cats“, I introduce my kitty clan one by one, giving each cat’s nickname and describing some of their personality and temperament. Muffin was given the moniker “Miracle Baby”, but I didn’t go into details. The time has come to give the backstory to this mysterious kitten.
Muffin was adopted December of 2016 during the Fort Worth Animal Shelter’s “Black Friday” event. Black cats and dogs are featured as adoptable pets and the fees are waived. The term is a play off of the biggest shopping year in the U.S., but also it’s a way to give a second chance to black animals that, because of stigma or superstition, are supposedly harder to adopt.
Where does Muffin fit into this you might ask? Well, I went to the shelter specifically to get a black cat. If I haven’t’ mentioned it before, I think black cats are gorgeous. So I went to find one. Tulip, my miniature girl version of Tiger was a pretty little black kitten housed in a cage with a fluffy little white cat with gray markings. I didn’t really want that fluffy white ball of cuteness, but I felt bad for leaving him behind.
So when I told the shelter staff to box up Tulip to come home with us, I told her to put in the white cat too. “But the Black Friday fees won’t be waived for the white one.”, she told me. I knew this, but my sentimental heart finalized my decision. I didn’t want to adopt one and leave the other. Good marketing strategy FWAS, very good marketing strategy…
So that’s miracle #1, or rather Muffins’ good fortune. In the end, I was happy that I adopted him with Tulip anyways because having a kitten and adult cat before (Honey and Tiger), I knew that transitioning into a house of adult cats would be a challenge for a new kitten. Now the two littermates(?) had each other for company if the older cats didn’t want to be bothered.
Since day one, Muffin has been nervous, skittish, cautious, and overall a scaredy-cat. He and Tulip hid under the bed the first night. After several weeks, Muffin was still hiding under the bed. He eventually graduated from hiding under the bed to hiding under the lazy boy chair, behind the couch, and behind another chair in the sitting room. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked for him, thinking he had somehow gotten out.
This March he did just that but in a very unorthodox way. I have an attached garage that I was rearranging and left the door open between the house and garage. Jordi and the cats were meandering in and out, sniffing about and generally being curious.
When I was done, I ushered everyone back inside the house and shut the garage door. The next morning I loaded up the cats’ breakfast dishes and did my customary headcount. Muffin wasn’t present. I did my usual house search, but to no avail. I went to work and came back, and the next day the same scenario: no Muffin.
He was hiding in a really good spot this time, or had he somehow escaped? I’d just have to wait patiently. I let my mind ease up and went out for some light shopping and a movie. I actually went several places this particular day, with the movie being my final stop. I was pulling out of my parking space at the theater and checking my rear view mirrors when I saw a flash of white and gray fur!
I know I just didn’t see what I think I saw?!…I did. I jerked the car in park, still halfway in and halfway out of the parking spot. I jumped out of the car and just caught a glimpse of a dirty, furry white cat cowering near the entrance of the movie theater. IT WAS MUFFIN!
Somehow this kitten had managed to crawl up under my car and ride along with me for several hours (including the freeway!). He had stayed there through various stops and waited for long amounts of time at each location, never coming out. He stayed under there during a full-length movie and just so happened to come out at a time when I was looking in my rearview mirror! If that’s not a miracle (or good timing) I don’t know what is.
I was shocked and speechless when I picked him up. He was sooty scruffy and looked pretty dazed himself. He looked ok, and when I got him home I cleaned him up with some pet wipes and left him alone to reacclimate himself in peace.
About a week later I noticed a small scabby spot on his tummy. Apparently, he had gotten burned by something under my car. I kept the area clean and kept an eye on him. The spot got uglier before it got better, and about 2 weeks later he had a scab on his belly about 3 square inches in diameter. Ok, he’s got a battle scar, I thought to myself. No problem. But then I notice he wasn’t peeing…
I don’t normally watch my animals pee, but I had noticed several times that he would go and squat and stay there for a long time with nothing happening. I took him to the vet and to my horror, I was told that the scabbing had covered his little penis. If he didn’t get it operated on soon, he’d basically die from not being able to go. I squeezed every last dime out of my American Express and paid the $1200 for the procedure.
So another couple weeks later and Muffin is doing great. I’m very careful to keep the garage house door closed now and I’m sure he’s learned not to go under there anymore…
Who am I kidding? For whatever reason he found the underbody of my car to be a safe space before, he still thinks it is. Here’s part 2 of Miracle Baby:
Last night I let Jordi out back to go potty. The kittens aren’t allowed outside, but they do like to hang out around the glass storm door to look outdoors. Well, both Clover and Muffin had a headstart on me and Jordi and as soon as that storm door they were out! I grabbed Clover and tossed him back inside, but Muffin was just out of reach. I had barely got my hands on him when Jordi decided it was time to play chase the cat.
They ran left and right and left again. Then Muffin ran up. Straight up a tree into one of the tallest trees in my backyard. These aren’t climbable trees (for humans anyway). They are about 3 feet around, thin and tall. And Muffin was somewhere at the top where I couldn’t see in the darkness of night. It was after midnight and I didn’t want to wake the neighbors calling him down, so I left him for the night.
I went back out this morning and saw that he had made it down. I called out for him in the front and backyard, but not answer. I posted a missing pet message on the NextDoor app and went about my day. Then when I went to feed the cats there supper I went back out to check on Muffin, taking a dish and scooper full of food with me. The idea is to make the sound of food being served by pouring the kibble back and forth from the scoop to the bowl. It only took one pour into the bowl to hear a response.
It almost sounded like he was inside the garage, but that couldn’t be. I’m still using the garage as an isolation tool between the dogs until they can get along, and I know for a fact I haven’t let any cats in there. My car is parked in the driveway and as I’m looking at it I’m having a flashback. I run back inside for a flashlight. Sure enough, the mews are coming from my car. I lay on the ground and point my flashlight under my car, and who should I see emerging? Muffin.
Muffin the Miracle Baby is born again from the bowels of my Chevy’s underhood and chassis. Looking like Bert from Mary Poppins. I’m hoping he just crawled under there while my car has been cooling off. If he’s been under there all day including the drive to Mansfield and back for Jordi’s emergency, that will have been another miracle ride for him.
Muffin continues to be nervous and fearful, but he’s a sweet cat. I hope he doesn’t feel the need to hide it in any other precarious spots.
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Until next time,
“Keep the harmony!”
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