Sunday, January 24, 2010


On October 7 of last year—the same day Group 82 arrived in Samoa—just after their ’Ava ceremony, I was hanging out in the Resource Room in the Peace Corps office when Rosie 79 asked if I wanted a kitten. As it turned out, Hannah 79 (who is a veterinarian) acquired a kitten that had been rejected by its mother. It was less than 2 weeks old and would need to be bottle fed every 3 hours until it could eat on its own. So took in a kitten. She was only supposed to be here for the 3 to 5 weeks of bottle-feeding, and once she was eating on her own she would be adopted by a more permanent owner.

As the first order of business, I gave her a name. I’m a big fan of literature-inspired names, and so I decided on “Scout” as in Finch. Now, I tend to prefer dogs as pets, but as Scout slowly grew into her name and her personality, it became increasingly clear that she was here to stay.

She was an immediate hit among the slow-but-steady stream of guests that come through my house. Cute, cuddly, and cautiously friendly, kittens have a fairly easy time winning over hearts and minds. Except for the whole potty-training thing. For a while there she was using the corner of the living room as an impromptu litter box, but she’s gotten better about that.

It’s nice to have companion. She usually greets me at the door when I come home, and I feel slightly less crazy talking to her than I did talking to myself. She has a feisty, slightly abusive streak and enjoys wrestling my hand, and she’s got a terrible habit of attacking the back of your leg when you walk through the house. She plays with damn near everything. Once she started playing with power cords and wires too much, I asked my family in The States to send some actual cat toys. Among other things, they sent a laser pointer, which provides hours of entertainment for both me and the cat.

I’m not used to having a dependent. I try and get out to the host village once a month, and I’ve been trying to get out to Savai’i more often. Briony 80 has fed the cat on a number of occasions, but twice the cat has made the ferry ride and bus trip out to Phil’s house. Samoans look at me like I’m crazy carrying a cardboard box with crudely cut air holes. Whatev.

The tentative plan is Scout will return to The States with me at the end of my Peace Corps service. I’m still not exactly sure on how this will work and what company I need to go through. From what I hear, it’s pretty easy getting an animal out of Samoa because there are actually fewer diseases here than in The States because of the isolation inherent in an island. There’s no rabies here.

But I haven’t started worrying about that yet. And for the cat, the big concern right now is chasing that damn red dot.

There. That’s my big secret. The cat’s out of the bag.

I hope you’re well. Pictures below.

Scout just after she moved in.

For a brief time there, Scout had a love affair with the warmth of my laptop's power brick.

Grading papers with Cale.

Napping on Paul's lap in the Savai'i office.

Cat and mouse.

Scout when she first moved in resting in my flipflop.

Scout tonight sitting next to same flipflops.


Danielle said...

LOVE the picture of her with the power cord. so cute. she can meet zero when you guys move back :)

Amanda said...

Scout is the cutest thing ever & I love, love, love her name. I can't wait to meet her. She's so big now!

Lauren said...

ohmygoodness so cute!!

ps. sorry for apparently guessing correctly before! Supy mentioned you had a kitty too, and i thought, what? It cant be, Matt tells all on the blog! And then that day, you said you had a secret...ha!

Dad said...

Avo will be so happy when she sees Scout's picture. Scout is darling! I can see why you kept her, and it's hard to part with a kitten you had to feed every three hours. Is Scout a mouser or a gecko-er? You'll wake up some morning with a dead lizard on your chest as a gift... ummm. Tastes like chicken.

Unknown said...

The more I read the more I was rooting for Scout to become a permanent fixture in your home. And now she is! Excellent!

Arseneault Family said...

I was SO anxious about what the surprise was...even though I had a peek with your present posts!!

You're cat is SOOOO darling and the pic with her cuddled with the "power brick" brings strong reminders of psychology and "Maslow's Monkeys"!! She needs a Mother!!

You're her surrogate Mother darling!!

I have a well loved cute cat but have a craving for a kitten now.