We Can Bring Our Cat

Jeff emailed the property management guy and asked him if they would consider making an exception to the No Pets rule for our two and a half year old spayed kitty. Property management guy asked the owner of the building and Zeus has been approved.  

The Story of Zeus

We adopted Zeus in October of 2007. 

He was pretty cute.  Jennifer, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer a couple hours down the Inter-American Highway in Torti, had asked her community to look for an orange cat for her and she gotten Felix the year before.  Then a neighbor brought her this tiny two week old orange kitten.  She told her neighbor she already had a cat and this one was too small and should stay with its mother.  Her neighbor explained the momma cat and the other kittens were eaten by dogs.  This little guy survived.  
Jennifer took in the orange kitten and force fed him milk with cat food mashed in and he made it.

Unfortunately Felix was not pleased to share his life with the new kitten. Jennifer started looking for a new home for him. That's where we came along. We were still living with Ramiro and his family when we took the now five week old kitten. We decided to call him Zeus.  

He's a jungle kitty, a hunter.  We fed him cat food, but I'd say a good half of his diet was made up of small animals.  He loves lizards.  One colder morning he brought in this:
This lizard was longer tip to tail than he was.  The only reason were able to rescue it from him, was he could barely drag it.  One time a horse wandered into our yard and I caught Zeus stalking the horse and the horse had noticed and was skiddish. 

We'd generally let him eat the bugs, but if we caught him with bigger animals we'd try and save them.  When we got the solar light it attracted these large beetles and Zeus loved it.  He would eat them up like popcorn.  In the morning there would be lots of little insect legs on the ground around the lamp.

Then we got to the end of our two years and three months in Panama; time to go home. Should we take Zeus? He's definitely a Panamanian cat. Our house had a gap up along the roof line that was big enough for him to get in and out. He went out and hunted every night. He was not a house cat.    

If we'd had a good person to take him in we might have considered leaving him. However, our community considered cats to be working animals and not really pets. They wouldn't have fed him cat food. They might have given him some rice with oil on it occasionally, but he would have been left to find his own food for the most part.

Also there wasn't much of an emotional connection to cats. If someone was having a mouse problem, well you could just give them your cat. Or if a cat was causing problems, you could just give him away. The average cat only lives a couple of years. Our two year old cat was already at the end of his life span according to the neighbors. Plus he ate a neighbor's parakeet and had fought the neighbor's cat so he didn't have a lot of good will. 

So we looked into how to bring a cat to The States. He had to have the rabies vaccine, get a certificate of health from a veterinarian and we had to pay some fees and stand in line for the better part of two days to get him approved for travel. Then we bought him a plane ticket to bring him home with us.  

It was a pretty traumatic experience taking him on his first chiva/bus/taxi/airplane ride all in a couple of days. I'll spare you the gritty details, but it involved yowling, thrashing and vomiting.  

The jungle kitty came home with us. Zeus's been living at my parents' house while Jeff and I have been living with his mom. The first weeks were rough. My mom and dad both had bite marks and scratches. Zeus seems to have settled some. He'll even sit with my mom in the evenings. Maggie, the dog, and Zeus seem to have struck some kind of truce.

Zeus has replaced hunting with chasing marbles and shredding cardboard. I've never seen another cat do this. He sits inside the box and bites little pieces of cardboard off. He doesn't eat them, just leaves them strewn around the disappearing boxes. Luckily he doesn't seem interested in shredding furniture or climbing curtains.

Now I guess we'll find out how he adjusts to moving to Valparaiso, Indiana.  We'll have plenty of cardboard boxes to keep him busy.   


  1. oooh Zeus is adorable :) And I thought my cats were the only ones to enjoy crunching on bugs! I swear crickets do not stand a chance in our backyard with our ferocious little felines ;)

  2. Mooney shreds cardboard too. We blamed it on DK for a while, but then we caught her in the act. Hope he adjusts to IN!

  3. I agree. Zeus is adorable! And feisty. My cats like sitting in boxes, not shredding them. Must be a cushioned house cat thing. I'm glad he can stay with you.

  4. Anonymous3/02/2010

    zeus is a gorgeous cat! such a great thing you did giving him a home. thanks for the octo dog link, that is SO funny! i'm definitely going to make those...forget the kids, i'm just as entertained!

  5. Zeus is a cutie! I love orange kitties. They remind me of Garfield!

  6. This posting's got me laughing out loud in my office! Personally, I think Zeus' bald patches and ferociousness impede his cute factor. At least he's got an entertaining life history and dedicated owners.

  7. Zeus is a very special cat. I really enjoyed reading all about him this evening. Thanks for sharing.

  8. What a great story! I love kitties, they bring such joy to a household! So glad he is able to come with you!

  9. I love the lizard, lovely photo. Here in Qld. Au. often water lizards (adults 40cm in length) come up to our garden looking for insects in short grass. From time to time we give them just a few apricots cut pieces from conzerved jar and they enjoy that heaps.