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aye, calypso, the places you've been to

This is Calypso, the newest member of Hall House.

It's been over a year without kitties in our home, and we were finally ready to bring home some new family members. In a couple of months, after the chaos of our recent crazy had calmed down a bit, we'd planned to find a couple of new kitties at the shelter -- a bonded pair or siblings or just a couple of kitties who weren't as likely to be adopted -- and bring them home with us.

But Calypso had other plans.

I'd just gotten home one evening a couple of weeks ago (day after the 4th), and as I got out the car, I heard a kitty crying somewhere nearby. I looked around trying to figure out where it was coming from as I headed toward the house, and just as I reached the bottom of the stairs, the kitty emerged from along the curb and came right up to me, as if she'd been on her way to meet me and just happened to arrive right as I pulled up.

She was lovey and talkative, and didn't look like she'd been neglected...a little dirty but not ragged, no sign of hurt or illness or starvation, wearing a dirty flea collar and clearly cared for until somewhat recently. So I got her some water and spent my evening on the porch, trying not to fall in love with her and failing miserably.

She was still there when Sal got home that night. He took pics that he posted on NextDoor and neighborhood FB sites. She clearly had had people at some point, and we know the desperation of having a kitty go misisng and trying to find them, so we of course wanted her to get back to the people who loved her. But secretly, we were hoping maybe she could be ours, even though neither of us said anything.

We decided that if she was still hanging around by Friday morning, I'd take her to the vet to check for a chip and if she didn't have one, we'd start the process for adopting her. We talked very carefully about her, as if it was just a matter of thinking of her as someone else's to pretend we wouldn't be really sad to say goodbye.

Thursday night, as we were getting ready for bed, Sal said he'd thought of a name for her. So much for not getting attached.

This was the sight that greated us in our living room window Friday morning.

The vet's office didn't find a sign of chip anywhere so I brought her home and we let her come inside with us while we decided what to do. I got some food and cat litter. Just enough for a temporary stay. Trying not to get attached.

By law, we could either 1) file a report with the county and keep her with us in the meantime, posting lost notices in all the places they require and after 180 days, she'd officially be ours if she wasn't claimed; or 2) take her in to the shelter so they could use all their resources for finding her home and be 1st on the list to adopt if no one claimed her after 3 days.

Taking her to the shelter was a hard choice, but we felt, for various reasons, that it was the best one to ensure that she was reunited with her people if she had some, and it would mean we'd get to call her ours much sooner if she didn't have any. The shelter also has a universal chip reader, so there was still a chance she had a chip that just wasn't showing up in our vet's scan.

She spent that Friday day and night inside with us. All pretense at not getting attached was gone by the time Sal got home that night.

Sal took her to the shelter last Saturday. Which turned out to be the best choice, even if it was the hard one. They found a chip -- Sal texted me that his heart sank when they said that -- and we wouldn't have known that if we hadn't taken her out there. She was older than we thought -- 10 to 12 years -- had had her shots at some point and been spayed. She definitely had people.

He filled out the report and put our name on the list anyway. They said that if her people didn't claim her in 6 days, we could adopt her. So we called to check each day, and started a list of name ideas, and added "get collar, cat food, litter" to the grocery list.

The phone number on her chip was an old one, belonging now to people who'd never had a cat. No one responded to the "found cat" listings on all the various sites and boards. On Thursday, our anniversary, the shelter confirmed that unless someone called to claim her by Saturday, we could come fill out the adoption paperwork on Sunday.

So she's home now, officially licensed with a brand new collar and brand new name, scouting out all the best perches and napping spots of Hall House. We're getting used to having a kitty boss us around again.

Welcome home, Calypso.

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