Sunday, January 30, 2011


It's the King's birthday today, and the radio is alive with birthday songs and wishes. As my Arabic teacher said, "the people love their King" (she said that in Arabic! and I understood her! after 3 tries... but still!).

So, despite the fact that Foreign Policy Magazine recently named Jordan one of 5 countries likely to become "the next Tunisias," I think we're safe over here for the time being. My prayers go out to our colleagues in Egypt and Tunisia - I'm guessing the RSO offices over there are dizzyingly busy.

But commenting on political events is far beyond the scope of this blog. Smarter minds than mine are trying to figure out what's going on in the Middle East; I'm just trying to keep my own personal house in order.

So, here's a little story I've been meaning to tell you since October:

I don't cook a lot of meat. But when I make chicken stock, which I do weekly, stray cats converge upon the apartment from every corner of Amman. They sit on the window sills and outer walls, staring in and licking their chops. Many of them are dirty, mangy little things, and I try to ignore their hungry eyes on me as I cook.

But one of them had a plan to get my attention. One day it came limping up on three legs and sat some distance from the other cats, which snarled at it until it slunk away again. It limped back the next day, but it couldn't quite jump up on the sill. I felt sorry for it, so I threw some chicken meat down to it.

The next day it came back. This time it hopped up on the windowsill (Was it cured? Or had it been faking a limp?) and sat there the entire day.

It watched me eat breakfast.

It watched me eat lunch.

It watched me sneak a snack out of the cupboard.

And finally, I just couldn't stand the reproachful gaze it kept on me. So I gave it the rest of the chicken meat.

And with that, the cat decided to stay. I don't even like cats. I pointed out the large dog in my kitchen. The cat just shrugged. I told him I didn't have any cat food. He pointed at the pot on the stove, indicating its contents would suffice. I told him he'd have to get neutered if he wanted to stick around. Still he stuck.

The vet paid a house call. Turns out, the cat, whom we'd nicknamed "Tom," was actually a girl. The vet spayed her right there on my kitchen table (all together now: ewwwwww). We locked her in the dog's crate to recover.

The next day she hopped out the window and ran away. But just for a day. Soon enough, she decided to lick her stitches and forgive us. She hopped back in the window and made herself at home in the crate.

And that is the story of how we adopted a cat - or rather, how a cat adopted us.

It seemed happy with the name Tom, but if it was going to be a girl, it was clearly going to need a new name.

Back when Yogi the dog came into our lives, Aidan was bitterly disappointed that we wouldn't let him name the dog "Peyton Manning." So, in an effort to appease him, I promised to let him name the next animal that came into the house. I figured he'd forget about the promise ten years hence, or whenever the next dog appeared. I didn't figure on getting a cat a few weeks after Yogi moved in. But of course Aidan remembered my promise.

And so: please welcome Kiwi the Cat to this blog.

kitchen surgery:

The dog actually likes the cat:

Kiwi is particularly fond of Shay:


Walking to China said... [Reply]

ROFL on the kitchen table spaying. You've lived in China so I know you will believe this-our cat was neutered in the front room of a vet/pet supply store by a vet (at least he was a man in a white coat). They did anesthetize him but the surgery was done with a crowd of people watching...they had never even heard of neutering a cat. His male bits were thrown into the fire that was heating the room.
Our friend's cat was neutered by the light of a cell phone when the electricity went out.

Donna said... [Reply]

Vet care in China is waaaay below our standards, no? I never could figure out if the guy who cared for our dog in Beijing was a real vet or not. At least your cat got anesthesia.

Funny bit of the story: the vet came to my house straight from the house of the King's brother, where he'd neutered their dog. I asked if he did it in the kitchen, but he said he used a hallway. Figured if it was good enough for the King's brother, it was good enough for Kiwi.

FSO Hopeful said... [Reply]

I just got back to the US and am watching the coverage on CNN. There definitely is a disconnect between what is going on and what is being reported in the US. Jordan is sot of a modern miracle of stability in a country where chaos should rule the day.

Sadie said... [Reply]

I laughed out loud! Kiwi certainly had an eventful entry into your home, but it sounds like she's made herself a nice little niche. The kitchen spaying will be one for the grandkids...

Popster said... [Reply]

The cat's cute but you never indicated what happened to the limp.

Daniela Swider said... [Reply]

Loved the story! Thanks for sharing!

Becky said... [Reply]

Beautiful cat! What a story though, operation on the table, crazy.

Bryn said... [Reply]

That is so sweet!!! I'm a cat person so I understand their looks. But the vet doing the surgery right there.....I would not have been able to deal with that. I'm not good with blood and stuff. Bravo to you!!!

Vicki said... [Reply]

Eek I hope Kiwi got some aenesthesia. I'm curious about whether that limp was faked too. Congrats on your new family member.

Pumpkin at 14 has a couple of big health issues to deal with, but he's still a grand old pussums. We still sing Bart's praises.

Becca said... [Reply]

OMGawesomeness! I linked to this post on my blog.

Connie said... [Reply]

Kiwi must be cousins with our cats! She looks just like our Pixie! Sounds like she has a similar "yes, it is all about me" attitude too. :)

Please. Write your own stuff.