So I was driving through McDonald’s on my way to work the first week in January, when I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye. It turned out to be a kitten, darting between cars in the drive-through, and it ended up near my vehicle, on an island of vegetation between the building and the drive-through lanes. It was staring up at a tree with an expression of excitement (“Hey, I could climb this!”), and I guessed it to be about 10-12 weeks old; basically the time a kitten can leave its mother. Based on its clean, healthy appearance and apparent lack of fear, given all the activity around it, I guessed it had likely been recently abandoned. (Maybe it was an unwanted Christmas gift?)
Unfortunately I couldn’t stop to try and rescue the kitten, as I was working alone that night and needed to be to work on time so the day shift people could leave. But I thought about it all night, anxious for its safety and wishing I had tried to rescue it anyway. In the morning, I went back to McDonald’s and tried to find it – no luck. I guessed (hoped, really) that someone else had picked it up.
About a week and a half later, Dude and I were driving through the same McDonald’s early one morning to get coffee on our way to the flea market, when – zip! – something streaked in front of my car. It was the kitten! We immediately drove to the nearest grocery store for some cat food and little paper plates; when we got back, Dude spotted the kitten walking along a chain-link fence on the edge of the property. It wouldn’t let me get more than a few feet away, but I left it some food. Over the next few days, I left food on a regular basis, which would always disappear, but I never saw the kitten again. It was time to get serious!
I waited for a day off work and rented a trap from the Humane Society. Armed with high hopes and a tempting plate of tuna cat food, the trap did its trick! The kitten was very calm and quiet as we unlocked the trap from the fence and put it in the car. We drove straight to our veterinarian’s, where the receptionist asked for the cat’s name. “I literally just picked it up from a parking lot,” I said. “I don’t have a name for it yet.” She had to put something on the form, so I said, “Okay, we found it at McDonald’s, so how about Archer? For golden arches?” (Also, I love the TV show Archer).
At that time I thought it was a male kitten, so I thought Archer was the perfect name! Minutes later in the exam room, however, the vet discovered the truth – he was actually a she. He guessed her age at about four months and declared her “healthy, robust – and feral.” (I’m guessing he drew that conclusion after she fought being pulled from the trap and gave him a good swipe for having the nerve to try!) But I was not deterred; I was going to save this cat. From the first moment I saw her, she felt like my responsibility. I picked her up the next day after they did many terrible things (vaccinations, spay, flea and ear mite treatment, blood tests); she is understandably wary of we terrible humans!
I told the vet we’d have to eventually change the name “Archer” for something more suitable for a girl kitty, and explained the McDonald’s “golden arches” connection. He said, “Hmmm…what about Goldie?” Clever – but it just didn’t grab me.
She is currently ensconced in our large master bathroom, with plenty of toys, food, litter box and comfy places to rest. She spent the first two days hiding whenever we came into the room, but thanks to my “magic wand” (a Kitty Tease fishing pole!), she has come out of her shell and loves to play so much she forgets to be afraid of us! I’ve been able to touch one of her paws and her tail so far, but she’s still a bit leery. It’s just a matter of time, though, and I think she’s going to be a wonderful addition to our kitty family! In the meantime, I need a name…