It’s funny that Easter was on April Fool’s this year, because it feels a bit like the universe decided to play a little switcheroo trick on the Gignac family!
To start with, we went out to my grandparents’ ranch in Quihi for Easter (which is normal for us). My grandparents own a 50-acre ranch where they keep cattle and there’s a lot of scrub. When it’s time for hiding the eggs, one or two of the adults herd the kids a quarter-mile down the driveway to be out of sight while everyone else does the hiding. The youngest of the cousins is now 11, so there’s really no belief in the Easter bunny, but some of the plastic eggs have money in them, which means there’s got to be a good hunt. (You’d think teens wouldn’t care about pennies and nickels, but they’re always so excited to add up the 46 cents they got, haha!) That was the plan: go to the ranch, hide eggs, hunt for eggs, have lunch, head home. But fate interfered.
Meet Atticus. Not long after we arrived at the ranch, this tiny cat joined the family. No one had ever seen him before, and Morrigan stopped my grandma’s two dogs from killing him. The dogs were locked away, and the cat ended up spending the rest of the day with us. He followed the kids and me when we walked down the driveway, then back up again. He let everyone hold him and pet him. He ate off our food plates and gobbled down anything we could give him. Clearly, he’d been a housecat at some point, because he recognized the sound of bags opening (food!) and responded to vocal clicks to come and jump in your lap. He purred and headbutted and generally acted like the sweetest cat you’ll ever meet. We didn’t know if he was lost or had been abandoned, but we knew that he’d been attacked and bitten up. We also knew that if we just left him there, he would be eaten by dogs or coyotes. He wasn’t a barn cat, ready to defend himself outside. He needed a home.
I guess I’m a sucker. It didn’t take long to know that he was coming home with us. Helps that the boys all fell in love with him immediately. This cat, y’all…this cat is precious. Calm. Extremely well-behaved and trained. He sat on the car floor by Jason’s feet for the entire 1.5-hr drive back to our house. He waited patiently in Jason’s lap in the automotive center at Walmart while they repaired our flat tire (as we’d run over a screw – thank goodness we didn’t have to drive the entire way home on a spare!). He didn’t complain or attack even as Jason felt his neck, belly, and toes for problems, and he was vocal but not violent as he got two baths for flea treatment that evening. –>
Yesterday, we took him in to our vet. We knew it was possible that Atticus was already microchipped and we’d be able to contact his family, if he was lost instead of dumped. However, he has no microchip, so that possibility is out. We also had him tested for feline aids and leukemia, which were both thankfully negative. He has no worms, no parasites, no ear mites – he couldn’t have been wandering around for too long. The vet estimates he’s about 1-2 years old, despite his tiny size (just under 6 lbs), and Jason guesses that someone dumped him in the country because he was no longer a cute kitten and they no longer wanted a cat. I hope that isn’t the case, but whatever the case, no one had bothered to neuter, microchip, or vaccinate this little baby, so we’re doing all that, and he’s ours.
So just when we were taking Jojo back to the cat cafe to let him find a better home for him, another kitty sauntered into our lives. It really does feel like a kind of April Fool’s prank. But honestly, I’m not really sorry. I think Atticus is going to help us heal from having to give up the last baby, and I think he’ll be wonderful in our family. He’s already integrating better than Jojo ever managed, and I think it’ll be mere days before all four cats are fast friends.
And just because I can’t let an Easter post pass without at least one picture of the kids, here are the six cousins who hunted despite all being aged 11-17, ha!