One evening a little kitten was abandoned on our street. Whether she was really abandoned, or her mother had died or she had just wondered way too far from home, we will never know. All we knew was she was suddenly there where she wasn’t before and her persistent meow made her hard to ignore.
When the meowing stopped I assumed that everything was ok and that she had made her way somewhere else but then it would start again. Late one night my mother and I went out looking for her. My mother was staying with me at the time and we both couldn’t ignore the constant sound of a kitten in distress.
But finding her would not be easy. My street is wide and open with many abandoned houses and it being late at night, made finding the kitten difficult. We caught glimpses of her beneath a parked car but as we got close she would hiss. We left her some food and walked away.
The next day my mother investigated the situation further. When I came home from work that night she told me that she had found the kitten living in a hole in the house across from mine. She was so hungry she ate the entire grilled chicken that my mother had bought to feed the street cats. Once she was done, she disappeared. She wouldn’t let my mother get close.
Despite being fed her meowing persisted. It would start and stop at all hours of the night and I tried to ignore it, hoping that it would sort itself out. Perhaps this was only a temporary situation and her mother would soon come back for her.
But the only thing that changed was that I become more concerned about her.
By now I could read her meows and each one was different. There was a meow for when she was hungry, a meow for when she was lonely and then there was the satisfied meow that came after she was fed and she wanted to play. That was the moment when everything in her world seemed fine and safe as she stood between my feet looking out into the world – the world that for her extended halfway down our street and no further. Then she would look up at me and I would think to myself what next?.
Because I am highly allergic, I couldn’t adopt her, but she, I could sense, had adopted me. The persistent meowing stopped and we entered into a new routine.
Each morning as I made my breakfast I would make hers and in the evening I didn’t dare to return home without her dinner. She would be waiting for me and when she saw me she would run to me with such an intense mixture of hunger and excitement, that she would lose herself between my feet and I was afraid I would trip over her.
Sometimes, I would come out in the evening before bedtime and I would sit with her and pet her. I would share my thoughts with her and she would meow and then purr. I wanted her to know that in the world that still frightened her so much, there was someone who cared.
But this couldn’t go on. With every day that passed, her paws got dirtier and my allergies got worse. If she wasn’t with me, then she was in her hole and this, I imagined was not psychologically good for her. Besides, it was winter and soon it would snow.
I felt a little lost as to what to do next. Having only been living here for five months, I was as much a foreigner in this city as she was. Where does one start? Obviously, she needed to go to the vet but then what?
The more I asked around the more hopeless the situation seemed. And then late one night, when I was feeling deeply depressed about the situation, I received a text message from a colleague of mine.
I found someone for your kitten.
I texted him back asking if the person was serious. He texted me back assuring me that this friend was a close friend and that he was kind and genuinely interested.
We took the kitten to the vet the next day. We were told that she was actually a he and that he would need to take antibiotics for a few days. He had some problems with his gums and had to be de-fleaed, but other than that he was healthy. I had his nails trimmed and was told to return a week later to get his vaccines. He then stayed the night at Anas’s house.
That night, Anas and I took turns cuddling him and playing with him. The next day we took a taxi across the Bosphorus Bridge and into Kadikoy. His new home was on the first floor of a residence with crystal chandeliers and polished floors.
The new owner invited us into his lovely flat and I let the kitten out of his carrier. As he explored his new surroundings, we drank tea with the owner and I thanked him. He had prepared a bowl of food and water for the kitten and had even bought some toys. The flat was clean and cozy and once I felt the kitten was comfortable, we slipped away.
Both Anas and I felt relieved that we had completed our mission and that the weeks of worry were over. We were exhausted both emotionally and physically but proud as well. With the help of our colleague Ismail, we had accomplished something meaningful. Something that I had thought was impossible.
That night it snowed.