Thursday, February 27, 2020

Meet the Chonk

As a rule, I'm slow to engage with the world.

My comfort zone is small, my appetite for adventure is limited, and I find social risk-taking absolutely exhausting. I sometimes wish I weren't this way, but the truth is I usually stay in my lane. And my lane has a solid yellow line on one side and a concrete barrier on the other.

But sometimes, with the help of the few good people who love me, I act out of character and take a chance. I did that recently, with awesome results.

Meet the Chonk.

He doesn't look so chonky here.
But trust me, him CHONKY.

A few weeks ago, my sister-from-a-fever-blister The Jeneral tagged me in a Facebook post. The post was by someone who was posting for a friend of hers who's not on social media. Got that?

Anyway, this friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend was having to give up her older cat because the new property managers at her apartment complex wouldn't let her have three pets (she also had two doggos). So after 10 years, she had to say goodbye and try to find him a good home somewhere else. And she only had a few days in which to do it. I can't even imagine how painful that would be, you know?

I wasn't in the market for an extra cat - the Siamese Kitten is more than enough most days - but I wanted to help The Jeneral. I posted vaguely about reaching out to some Dallas-area rescue groups that I follow. That was within my restricted comfort zone. It was easy. It was safe.

But something about this poor lady's situation really resonated with me. How terribly sad for her. And what about the handsome boy who was being unceremoniously kicked out of the only home he'd ever known? If he was lucky he'd end up with a sympathetic rescue that would try to get him adopted, instead of an animal shelter where his days were numbered.

This was a situation where someone truly needed to open their heart and step up. But it wasn't going to be me. That's just not my thing.

Then Precocious Daughter came over for dinner.

I wasn't going to say anything about the Chonk. PDaughter would probably find it a sad story, and say what a shame it was, and basically make me feel like a coward for wanting to stay a long arm's length from the problem. Someone else's problem. Not mine.

So I told her the story, and showed her the Chonk's picture, and read her the post. And I wondered vaguely if I was foolishly giving her the opportunity to talk me into something I was totally not comfortable doing.

Here's another picture of the Chonk:

Stretch mode engaged.
We murmured about what a sweet boy he seemed to be, and what a terrible position his human was in, and how we hoped he would find a home. I said I would try to help spread the word (and nothing more).

And then she said: "You know, I have plenty of room in my apartment."

I looked at her. She looked at me.

And then she said: "And I really would like a pet, but a dog just isn't possible with my schedule."

I looked at her. She looked at me.

And incredibly I heard myself say: "And if you had a cat, and you brought him home with you on school breaks, it really would be better for the Siamese if it was an older cat."

We looked at each other.

And then she said: "What's his name?"

I blinked. Somehow, in reading the Facebook post, I hadn't managed to catch the name of the cat. I read through it again.

I looked at PDaughter. "His (*)." *Regular readers know that I don't use real names here, not even pet names. Suffice it to say the Chonk's real name is exemplary and made us shout with joy at what a perfect cat name it is.

And in unison (I'm not making this up), we said, "That's it, we have to take this cat."

Typing "we'll take him" on that Facebook post was difficult. But exhilarating. And once I got the phone number of the very nice lady who was the Chonk's mom, making that call was excruciating (making phone calls to strangers is my personal version of Hell). I wanted to not do it. I wanted to announce I had changed my mind, sorry, good luck. But I didn't. And it all turned out so well.

When PDaughter and I - crazily, impetuously - decided to adopt the Chonk, I never asked where he and his mom lived. The Dallas Metroplex is HUGE, and it occurred to me that we may have committed to driving an hour or more to collect this cat (driving long distances to strange places is another less-than-favorite thing of mine). They lived...ten minutes from me.

Then, when we went to meet them, it occurred to me that so many things could go wrong: the cat wouldn't like us, his mom wouldn't like us. PDaughter and I were both harboring worry that everything would fall apart and end in disappointment. Nope. The Chonk was an absolute love bug from the minute we walked in, and his mom was a lovely lady who was truly grateful to us. Which we thought was nuts, because we're truly grateful she didn't throw us out and proclaim us to be unfit adopters.

One more picture of the Chonk:

Home. :)
The Chonk lives with PDaughter in her campus apartment. After a few shy days, he's settled in nicely. When they come home for Spring Break, the Chonk and the Siamese Kitten will meet for the first time. I hope they get along. I hope they don't destroy my apartment. It will be fun!

I'm amazed at how well this all went. I actually stepped up and helped someone. I did a good thing. It felt wonderful. It was terrifying. I don't know how long it will be before I do something similar again. I hope it will be less than never. Because it made me feel really good.

Thanks to The Jeneral for getting me into this mess.

We love our chonky boy.


  1. Welcome home, Chonk. He's quite a handsome boy and I'm glad he's settling in nicely.
    I can't imagine having to give up a family member like that but, well, it's a tough world we live in. Happy endings make it bearable, though.


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