How This Cat Adopted Me
Just over a year ago backers through Kickstarter made it possible for me to print and promote my new book “FORKS: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection. Three Years. Five Continents. One Motorcycle.”
Those backers who followed my journey to publication will likely remember the various cameo appearances of a character—a cat—who slowly dragged her way into my life and ultimately my home.
I will not bore you with a long treatise on Dar (I named her after the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam), but I cannot resist a quick share on who has captured not only the fervent lens of my camera, but my love and companionship. See below and you’ll agree that the lens favors her, as does she, the lens.
As I was planning my Kickstarter campaign she started appearing on the grounds surrounding my home, a modest cottage in North San Diego county. She soon was a regular thanks to my paltry offerings of kitty treats and scraps of food. She stuck around, even after the food was gone. I figured her to be a stray. After a bit of google research, I figured her to be nearly a purebred Bengal. Before I could make any decision in the matter, Dar decided to adopt me. Soon she was cuddling at the foot of my bed, and then on my pillow.
Her cameo appearances in my Kickstarter video updates are classic—at least to me and a handful of “Dar Watchers” — backers and friends seemingly more curious about the outcome of “the cat” than the book.
Over time Dar dragged into the cottage birds, lizards, moths, June bugs and more. There was no need for a litter box, Dar spent most of her time outdoors.
One later afternoon she strolled into my office with a label wrapped around the collar I’d just adorned her with. On the label was a plea from Dar’s true owner: “please call me…”
Holy shit. Dar had been two-timing all along. Yet she slept in the cottage every night for at least two months. In that time, I’d grown attached to my new companion.
It took me almost two days to call the number on that label.
The single mother and neighbor who’d I’d not met had moved nearby some six months prior. All was good with Dar, she explained, until her landlord and next door neighbor adopted a kitten. She explained that ever since the kitten came onto the scene, Dar changed. Soon Dar wouldn’t even let the woman who’d cared and fed her for more than three years pick her up. Dar wouldn’t even go into her own house.
Seems Dar said “the hell with this!”
Dar wants all the attention, it seems. And she got it once she started wandering around my property.
The woman offered to pay for the food, flea medicine and more that I expended during Dar’s sabbatical. I refused. She was adamant and wanted to be sure that I understood that she did not abandon Dar, but rather, she was incensed that Dar seemed to have abandoned her.
Hesitantly, I offered to return Dar. But the woman figured that she’d just lose the cat again. I offered to care for Dar, and take her in — officially. Her voice quivered, I felt her tears. She agreed to let me keep the cat. Purposely, I have not revealed the name that the woman gave Dar—cause it’s stupid, and because Dar, more dog than cat and comes when I call her.
I’ll admit I’m not easy to live with—I work too much, travel for extended periods of time and, I’ll admit that when I’m working and in my zone, though not consciously, I am not always attentive to or aware of the needs of my companion. This summer and fall I traveled extensively and was away on my book promotion tour for about 4 months. Thanks to my teenage neighbor Rudy and my very good friend Angie, Dar was fed and had occasional human companionship. Though she was alone at night and during most of the day. To Dar’s testament and resilience, Dar was still here—waiting—when I returned in November. Knowing her history, I was worried she found another. But she’s here. And she’s a lover.
So today when I caught her relishing in the sunshine after several days of torrential f rain and gray skies, I couldn’t resist her photogenic smile and sharing her story.
Dar found me. And Dar adopted me.
I promise, I’ll refrain from more cat stories, pics and movies—at least for now.
Meanwhile, thanks for indulging a little bit of Dar.