‘So cute… but don’t come home with another dog!’ This is what my husband texted me after I sent him a photo of me giving a corgi belly rubs. I couldn’t help myself, especially since I work as a vet for the local animal shelter. Working there for two years has given me a bit of an adoption problem, but I can’t help it! I work with cute animals everyday, and some need to be nursed back to health with around the clock supervision. So, I take them home to give them a comfortable place to stay while they recuperate.
‘I won’t, promise!’ I texted back before sliding my phone back in my pocket. I took a peek at the front room. The only person there was Suzy, the lady who manages the front desk.
“Hey, Suzy. Anything interesting happening with you today?” I asked her, leaning on the counter. She barely glanced up from typing on her computer, no doubt doing paperwork for one of the animals in the process of being adopted.
“…Okay then. I need to go check on a thing back there, so bye,” I made a hasty retreat to the back of the shelter. It was time for Rosey, a small Pomeranian, to get her medication, anyway.
I was putting away the bottle for Rosey’s medicine when I heard a call from the front of the shelter.
“Melissa!” that was Suzy’s voice. I ran to the front and skidded to a stop at the desk.
“What’s happening? What’s wrong?” I looked around frantically, whipping my head back and forth to do scans of the room for some sort of danger or injured creature. When I couldn’t find anything in the lobby, I looked back to Suzy.
“We have a new arrival for you to check over. Looks like a young one, too,” she told me, gesturing to a tiny animal on the counter that I didn’t notice before. I gasped. Lying there was a tan kitten, mewing quietly and shivering.
“Precious darling,” I said, picking up the kitten and cradling it to my chest. It was too cold for such a small cat. “I’d guess it’s just barely a few weeks old. Where’s your mother, little one?”
“It came in alone. I heard it meowing from outside and I went to investigate. Found it right outside the door by itself,” Suzy replied, her gaze directed toward the still quivering kitten.
“Aww, poor baby. Don’t worry, little darling. We’ll have you fixed up in no time,” I told the tiny cat while walking to the back of the shelter. I set the kitten down on the table and quickly went to fetch some blankets to warm up the shivering ball of fluff. Returning, I gave the cat a once-over before wrapping the small animal in the blankets to warm it up. “Let’s get you warmed up, then we’ll do a more thorough exam to make sure you’re as healthy as possible.”
After an hour, I heard a soft meow coming from the blanket pile. I unraveled the blankets to find the kitten squirming about, meowing its little heart out. Cooing at the tiny cat, I picked it up and did another check of the animal.
“Hello there, precious girl. You must be getting pretty hungry by now. Let’s see if you can have some food, shall we?” I said to her softly. She gave a small mew in reply and my heart melted further than I thought possible. I set the little kitten down and got a bottle ready for her. “Come now, darling, it’s supper time.”
As the cat ate, I made a decision in my mind. After she finished the bottle, I bundled her up in a blanket again before putting her on the table and beginning to pack up to go home. ‘Ryan isn’t going to be pleased with me bringing home another animal, but an animal needs me, so he is just going to have to suck it up,’ I thought. Gathering the kitten burrito in my arms, I went to the front door, said goodbye to Suzy, and went to my car. Putting the cat on the passenger seat, I got in the car and drove home.
“You’re going to need a name if I’m taking you home,” I spoke to the kitten. “How about Muffin?” The kitten meowed loudly. “You like that name, huh? Muffin it is.”
Pulling into the driveway, I got out and huddled the bundle of cat and blanket close to my chest. Opening the door as quietly as I could, I tried to sneak to the kitchen without being seen or heard.
“Melissa, why are you holding a blanket?”
I startled and whirled around. Standing in the doorway was Ryan, my husband. His arms were crossed and he was glancing at the blanket suspiciously.
“Honey, there you are. I was j-just getting ready for bed! Yes, I was going to go to bed.”
“At four-o-clock in the afternoon?” he raised one eyebrow expectantly.
“Yes! Yes, I’m so tired,” I yawned exaggeratedly.
“Uh huh. Why don’t you give me the blanket then? It looks pretty dirty, I’ll put it in the wash for you.”
“NO! I-I mean…” I sighed defeatedly, gave up the ruse, and handed the blanket over carefully. As soon as it was settled in Ryan’s hands, the kitten hidden inside belted out a loud meow, no doubt disturbed by all the movement. Ryan paused and seemed confused for a moment before he unwrapped the bundle. The small cat popped her head out and blinked at him before letting out another meow. I sighed again. “I guess you’re hungry again, Muffin?” The kitten tried to stumble over to me, making Ryan pass the blanket back to me.
“I thought I told you not to come home with another animal?” he asked dryly. I smirked at him.
“You said not to bring home another dog. You mentioned nothing about a cat.”