Ever since I was a wee little baby I’ve been surrounded by animals. The list varies greatly due to having lived on nine acres with my parents for the last nine years. Cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, budgies, alpacas, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys and even a one eyed goose make up the list of beautiful creatures that have (most which still do) lived with me. My most loved companion comes in the form a ginger feline, a handsome fur ball of trouble named Arnold. Almost two years old now, he takes up both my arms and a shoulder in size and even then it’s a struggle to carry him. It’s hard to believe that on the day I picked him up he was so tiny he fit in one hand! The events leading to he and I coming together are quite amazing and it’s a tale I wish to share with you.
I had been keeping my eye out for a ginger boy for a while. Pet stores, online, shelters, newspapers – everywhere that advertised I looked. Despite the dozens of adorable faces that appeared in the looking for home sections, I held out. I guess having grown up with a ginger cat in my younger years still called out to me.
On this particular day I stumbled across a photo of three kittens. One black… one grey… AND ONE GINGER! Punching in the number right away I enquired about the ginger boy and to my delight, he was still looking for a home. We scheduled a visit for the Saturday, a four day wait for me to potential pick up my new ball of fur. I had held out long enough, a few more days couldn’t hurt!
After the longest four days, Saturday finally arrived. Detouring slightly to pick up two of my closest friends to take part in the adoption, we made our way to the suburb she had told us she lived in. We called en route as she had refused to give her address unless we were on our way. I told her we were to which she replied I had already picked him up.
“No I haven’t, we arranged for me to visit today”
“No no no” she replied “you picked him up on Thursday, he’s not here!”
My heart sunk as I realised she had sold him out from underneath me. Perhaps this was why she wouldn’t give out her address I wondered as I hung up the call. My friends, knowing how long I had held out for a kitten, instantly opened their browsers and looked online again.
After a few minutes of driving, we found a post about a newly purchase kitten needing a new home after their first cat not accepting it and fighting. Amazingly enough, the ginger boy now listed was in a suburb just around the corner from where we were. Straight away we dialled and diverted to go see him.
We reached the house and were greeted by a young man who looked saddened to see us. He was devastated about having to rehome the kitten, but knew he wouldn’t give up the cat he owned already to replace it with another.
The moment I saw him my jaw dropped. He looked just like the boy I had been on my way to pick up.
“When did you pick him up?” I asked
“We got him on Thursday, but all they’ve done is fight” he replied.
It had to be him, the woman had said I had picked him up on Thursday when really it was the people we were speaking to now! He was tiny, cute and playful. I was instantly in love and within the hour I was on my way home with him. When he wasn’t being passed between my two friends who thought he was amazing, he was curled in a ball on my lap as I drove.
Looking back, it almost seems like fate had brought him to me, that despite the kindness of the people who had bought him he was destined to live with me.
Now one important thing I have failed to mention throughout this story is the fact that despite my decision to adopt this amazing critter, my parents forbade it. I had him safely tucked away in my room for five days before the guilt got to me and I told my mother. She was angry at first, and then crumbled when she saw him. Two weeks later and my dad found out. We were mid conversation outside my room when he paused and listened because a faint mewing could be heard. A moment later and I had introduced him to my dad who to be frank, wasn’t bothered. I guess he was used to coming home to new animals mum had spontaneously adopted or temporarily taken in. My parents are pretty amazing like that.
To finish off, I shall tell you how I discovered his name! Before I saw him I had picked out a name that I loved but when I saw that adorable face, it didn’t suit. He wasn’t a Leo, and not just his star sign I mean! A name is important, and not having one for him I resorted to calling “Hey!” to get his attention. If you’re a 90s kid as I am, you may recall the cartoon Hey Arnold! Well, every time I would shout “Hey!” my brain would play the opening title from the show and finish with “Arnold!” and after a day or so I knew this was his name. Every morning he is greeted with “Hey Arnold!” so it’s as fitting as ever.
So there you have it, a quaint tail, oops I mean tale, of how a girl and her cat came to be! And just for a little bit extra, here’s a couple of photos of me and my good friend Arnold. Now if that’s not love…