My Story

by Flopsie

We all have interesting stories, and I'm no exception. In my case, the most interesting story is how I was saved. No, this didn't happen in a moment of revelation or great insight. We're not talking about a "divine intervention." But I gotta tell you, I was sure lucky. As my pappy always says, "It's better to be lucky than smart." No disagreement here. I think you'll agree too, after you read my story. It's told in the words of my parents, without any embellishment or redaction.

In June 2006 our search dog team was called to search for a possible buried body in a vacant field area in Rialto, a small town next to San Bernardino. Someone had supposedly seen a body in a field area that is densely filled with brush and trees and where there are numerous homeless encampments.

We were working two dogs in the area and one dog lingered at a pile of what looked like brush and leaves. The dog moved on and as we crossed the area I heard the mewling of kittens. I stopped and listened and heard that the sound was coming from the leaf pile the dog had lingered at. As I approached the sound intensified and when I leaned over I saw one small kitten (Tarzan) who promptly started yelling at me. She tried to crawl out towards me and I saw two other kittens behind her who also started meowing loudly and tried to crawl towards me.

Tarzan was the largest and had the long coat and the other two were smaller with short coats. We looked at the den, which was actually underneath a pile of chain link that was covered in brush and leaves but only saw the three kittens. The kittens were all yelling at us, they seemed hungry and desperate.

Since we were a ways from our cars we left them and walked out to the road. There we saw a dead cat on the road who was marked very much like the kittens. So we debated what to do for a moment but decided that they needed to be taken and it was too late for animal control. We thought that, even if their mother was still alive, if we took them at least they wouldn't be part of a cycle of more unwanted kittens!

They were malnourished and covered with fleas but pretty feisty. We drove to the pet store and got bottles and milk and some soft kitten food. They all needed to be bottle fed still but responded pretty well. Tarzan always ate well and was the strongest and largest kitten for a while. We kept them in a dog crate at first and fed them every 4 hours. They were all about 7 to 8 ounces at first. I remember when they all grew to a pound in size! My husband developed a system for feeding and weighing them to make sure they were growing. We kept combing fleas off of them and using a kitten flea spray to try and get that under control.

My husband named her Tarzan because she would always climb the crate door to get us to feed her and he would say "easy there Tarzan". So the name Tarzan stuck! :)

The smallest one at first was the male we called Junior. He's now the largest but we didn't think he would make it at first! The smaller female is called Peanut because she looked like a cat I know named Peanut. She's now commonly called "The Nutter". :)

They all began to thrive and then use a litter box and go on solid food and so on. They were raised in the house and saw us as their "parents" so they would run to greet us as we came home and were everywhere we were. If you went in the kitchen you had three kittens with you, in the bathroom you had three kittens, etc. etc...

We enjoyed raising them and loved them immensely! :) We tried to find homes for them but kittens are hard to find homes for and we wanted only the best people for them. We still have Junior and Peanut and will until we find a perfect home. We always say that Tarzan saved them all since she alerted us to their plight. She was always so loving and personable and would purr no matter what. We would take them to the vet and they would just be so friendly and sweet! They really love people.

I'm the one they called "Tarzan." They were very nice parents, and gave us everything we could have wanted, and especially lots of food. Yes, I'm not ashamed to say it: I like food a lot. I like a lot of food. No matter how you arrange the words, that's me.

Here I am as a very young kitten, in my favorite pose.

When I was about 8 months old, my idyllic life in Southern California came to an abrupt end. A friend of my parents put me into a large truck and schlepped me 400 miles north to a nice home in Palo Alto. I missed my brother ("Junior") and sister ("Peanut"), but right away I had something much more serious to worry about: Marge. Marge is a big, fuzzy, cross-eyed, off-white Birman. She's one damn scary cat and she has no sense of humor. At first, I just kept a look-out on the corner of the bed and avoided her. If she jumped on the bed, I was off and under in a flash. It's taken a long time, but I've finally taught Marge to play "Charge it!" This is an elaborate game, where I charge and she runs, then I turn around and she charges back and I run, and it goes on like this, back and forth. There's no physical contact, but what an adrenalin rush!

My new parents in Palo Alto are a bit strange. They thought that "Tarzan" was inappropriate for a friendly little female cat, so they started calling me "Flopsie," because of my habit (OK, I admit that I do have some weird habits) of flopping down wherever I feel like it. What kinda name is that, "Flopsie?" Maybe it's OK for a fluffy bunny rabbit, but for a sleek feral feline retriever? No way! But, whatever, I just pretend it's fine with me. After all, they do feed me whenever I want, which is just about all the time.

Did I mention that I'm a feline retriever? I taught my new parents to roll up paper balls and throw them, and I would bring them back. Now that's a fine game! Then I found that big reddish leaves from an ornamental pear tree have a wonderful smell -- did I mention that I am fascinated by how things smell? -- so I started bringing those smelly leaves into the house. My parents (perhaps I should call them "my slaves") would throw the leaves and I would leap in the air to catch them and bring them back. Then they started calling me "Leaf." What kinda name is that, "Leaf?" Gimme a break -- a leaf is just a piece of a plant. So I slowed down on the leaf retrieval and picked up on my "flop on the feet and stretch" trick. I was soon renamed "Flopsie." I'm not really complaining -- whatever silly name they want to call me is just water off a cat's back. Now I've taught them a new trick: I bring a rubber band and they shoot it! I get it and bring it back. They shoot it again. Amazing what simple things amuse these humans!

Can you tell that I take my games seriously?
I like to play in my garden.
Did I mention that I can hide behind a leaf?