Numbers for a Name
This story is written by Linus. A stray kitten who found love, fame and a name. Linus always says her favorite quote, penned by Victor Hugo, “to love or have loved, that is enough” because it was love that changed everything. Not many love stories feature a cat as the leading lady, but this one does. This is Linus’s story.
A224228 that was the first name I ever knew. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it? Just like Jean Valjean in Les Miserables who was haunted his whole life by his prison numbers, I too felt those numbers following me like a shadow. A heavy burden for a little kitten to carry, but carry it I did.
I came to AACC as a stray. Stray - another name I hate. I don’t remember too much about that day, all I remember is that my eyes hurt and I couldn’t see very well. I had some very noticeable eye deformities, that is probably why I was a stray. Why I ended up with numbers for a name. I didn’t have much hope. And then I met this person, a special person.
She was the Kennel Supervisor at AACC and, much to my surprise, she didn’t put me in a cage. She took me to her house. It smelled so good there and she had two other kittens! They both had names and I was envious. They told me that this was their foster home and that the food was really good. They also asked me what was wrong with my eyes, but I didn’t have a good answer.
She would go to work all day, I missed her terribly when she was gone. I’d just count the numbers on the clock until she got home. She was so kind to us. I ached for her touch when she was away. The other cats cried and pleaded for food as soon as she walked in the door. I would meow too, but I just wanted her to hold and pet me. Food could wait.
Under her careful hand, we grew fast, as did my attachment to her. Then one day she said it was time to go back to the shelter to get adopted. My kitty-mates were excited, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with her forever, but nevertheless, we were loaded up and taken away.
The other kittens were adopted very quickly. Their new owners gave them new names, which I was surprised at, but my heart was so full of longing for my foster mom there wasn’t any room left for envy. I wasn’t surprised that both kittens went before me. I might not be able to see well, but I knew what people saw when they looked at me, just numbers. Like the cost for eye surgery and the cost of care for my eyes. Like my name, numbers were in my way again.
Then one day a man did ask to see me. This usually makes the animals around here very excited. I was just excited to see my foster mom as she reached in and gently handed me to the man. “Why is someone else holding me? I’m her cat,” I thought. She even looked sad and concerned as she watched the man interact with me. She seemed eager to get me back into the cage. The man said that he was going to think about it. My foster mom walked away with the man, but she came back rather quickly and slapped a big sticker on my cage. The sticker read “Congratulations, I’m being adopted.”
I was very confused, because the man said he needed to think about it. But my foster mom smiled at me and stuck a soft finger through the wires of my cage to scratch my chin. She said, “all I was thinking while that man was holding you was ‘why is that man holding my cat!’”
That day I went home. Numbers are still a big part of my life. Not A224228, or 24601 or the cost for my care, now I count the number of times my mom says she loves me, the number of cat-naps we take together, the number of adventures we go on in my stroller and the number of times she says my name.
She named me Linus and it’s perfect.
I once heard my mom get asked why she adopted me, after all, the number of kittens she had fostered, cared for and seen is enormous. She just said simply, “because I love Linus and Linus loves me.” This is true. Sometimes numbers do lie, but love… love never does.
Loving and being loved,
AFTER THE STORY UPDATE
Linus had the eye surgery she needed and she can see much better now. Which is good because Linus is one busy cat! Linus and her mom can often be found strolling in local pet supply stores or watching geese at the park. Their favorite spots to go are Turnagain Arm and Beluga Point. When not out adventuring Linus spends a lot of time in her “catio” on the deck. Linus also has a big heart for assisting other animals in finding the love of their lives. She appears on AACC’s Facebook at least once a week, conducting promotions. She is currently “hosting” Meow Mixer, a dating game between cats and people to encourage people to adopt. Here is what her mom says about Linus:
“How much do I love Linus? I don’t know how to swim but if Linus fell into the ocean, I would jump in to save her. But to be safe, I think our adventures will not include boats.”