Say kthxbai, Gracie

As of today, the orange tiger kitten


is no longer part of the household at Tsarskoe Tsocko.

Two days after I announced his arrival I got a call from the vet to tell me that his ELISA test had come back positive for FELV.

For the uninitiated… FELV is Feline Leukemia, and for cats it is the equivalent not so much of human leukemia as of human AIDS - it’s an incurable autoimmune disorder, and it’s highly contagious to other cats.

The ELISA test, for a number of reasons, is not definitive, so we scheduled him for the more $$$ophisticated IFA test.


It too came back positive. FELV isn’t dangerous to people or dogs - in fact, it isn’t dangerous to anyone or anything except uninfected cats. Uninfected cats like Ptolemy and Juliet. There’s a vaccine, and Pt and Ju have had it, but it’s not a good gamble. So, as of last Wednesday - I knew there was no way I could keep him.


Wednesday was very, very bad.

But this is the turning point in the story, the place where things start looking up.

Asymptomatic FELV+ cats can live pretty long and otherwise healthy lives - they just can’t mix with uninfected cats, for obvious reasons.

I didn’t have it together, that first day, to start calling shelters or posting appeals or generally initiate the campaign to place him. But I did do a little quick googling, and on impulse I registered on this site and placed an ad. Couldn’t hurt, I figured. Right?


Right. Very right. Astonishingly, I got an e-mail the next day from a nice lady who had seen the ad. She had a FELV+ cat and had been trying to find a companion kitten - preferably orange - for nearly two years. Not such an easy proposition, because if you have an infected cat you can’t adopt a healthy kitten, and most good shelters won’t knowingly offer any other kind. She had tried her luck with strays and her luck had been bad - I think she said she’d lost two in a row to upper respiratory infections. Not an issue for this kitten; he had one when I got him but it had fully cleared up on antibiotics. So I sent her the link to the blog posts with pictures and video. She came back hooked.


Next problem: she’s in Massachusetts, a 4-5-hour drive from here. Not an insuperable obstacle, but a little awkward for me during the run-up to Rhinebeck, when I already have 210 places to put every waking minute and then some. We started trying to figure out the logistics of meeting somewhere in the middle.

That evening, I’m on the phone with my friend Lauren, and I’m telling her the good news, and when she hears where it is she says, “you DO realize, right, that I’m driving right past there on Monday…?”


I literally gasp. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you’ve encountered Lauren before and you may already know that she is the reason I have Juliet and don’t have Morgan, a double blessing. Over and above that she is my go-to girl for Everything Cat, especially Everything Cat-Rescue. She’s been involved in the good work for decades and there’s not a whole lot she doesn’t know about it.

In my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine a more perfect messenger for this particular errand.

So today was the day. I packed up the kitten and his luggage and all his vet records for travel, and I took him to Lauren, and we both cooed over him for a while and took a lot of pictures.


(Look - his eyes are just starting to change to their real color. You can still see baby blue around the edges, but in the middle they’re already going green.)

And then she set off. And I waited.

And I just now got the call. So NOW I can go erase all those shelter phone numbers off the whiteboard, and figure out how to convert my ad to a successful adoption announcement. Because at the meetup Lauren made all the appropriate disclaimers including “and if you change your mind…” but by that time the lady had already seen this:


- and without missing a beat she said “We’re keeping him!”

So he haz new mum again, and new dad, and a big sister-cat to keep him in line (he’s been getting a little rambunctious and mouthy lately, and it will totally do him good to have somebody show him who’s boss), and there are three kids in the family (6-10), and… well, short of the sudden discovery of a miracle cure, this is about as good as a scenario can get. Plus there’s all this karmic alignment of things and people being in the right place at the right time, and you just know that Ceiling Cat had a plan here all along, and it was a good one.

Bathroom does seem kind of empty, though.


30 Responses to “Say kthxbai, Gracie”

  1. Mardi Says:

    I’m tearing up. I had to give away my own beloved orange/butterscotch tiger cat when I became allergic to all cats. I’m so glad that this little wee utterly adorable fellow found a good and loving home with a family and a playmate who needs bim. He was put in your path for a reason - it just wasn’t the reason you thought it was at first.

    May you live long and prosper, lil’ kitteh!!

  2. ZaftigWendy Says:

    Bai, Orange Kitteh!

    We love you!

  3. Donna Says:

    I’m glad the story has the happiest, possible ending for the little orange tiger. I lost Elmo, an orange and white stray that I fed and was adopted by, to FeLV. It is a horrible disease.

    It sounds like the little guy has been isolated, but if there is any doubt please ask your vet whether Juliet and Ptolemy should have an extra emergency booster.

  4. Carys Says:

    I’m all happysniffly now. Thank you, Ceiling Cat, for watching over this little man and finding him a good home.

    And you, too, Lisa

  5. Colleen Says:

    Awwwwwwww. I’m glad you found him a home so fast! And it sounds perfect.

  6. Elena Dent Says:

    I am SO glad little kittenoid has a wonderful home! CongaRats to you, to him, and to the lucky woman who could give him a home.

  7. pie Says:

    Aww! So sorry that you had to lose him, but so so happy that it’s turned out about as well as possible after that. He’s such a little cutie :’)
    Loved the older posts about how you got P&J - I’ve known a couple of cats like Morgan too, eek.

  8. Marcy Says:

    kthnxbai, Gracie.

    All hail Ceiling Cat. And all hail Tsocktsarina for being her agent for kitteh good.

  9. Xeres Says:

    Awwwww! Hug! Snif!

  10. Glenna Says:

    Aw! I’m all tearing up over here. I am so glad the story has a happy ending, he is just too adorable a wee orange fluffball to have anything but a happy ending. I hope the lady sends you pics now and again too. Celing Cat really did have a plan!

  11. Andrea Says:

    Dude. He is so gorgeous!!!! I’m glad this story has a happy ending. I really want to schnoozle that little belly though.

  12. MathIsBeauty Says:

    Hooray for the powers of Ceiling Cat. I have always believed that things work out for the best. Hope you can get updates of name and how he is doing.

  13. Jennifer Says:

    What a wonderful ending to an emotional roller coaster ride! He is a lucky orange cat! I’m so glad it worked out for all of you! (and those pictures are PRECIOUS!)

  14. Maggie Says:

    Oh, I’m so glad he’s going to a good home, but I’m sorry we won’t be seeing any more of him on your blog - a really beautiful boy, that one. Are you getting another one or do you need some recovery time? Incidentally, we were inspired by this little cutie and I’m picking up a 7 week old rescued kitten from a fellow Raveler after Rhinebeck! I’m very excited, I haven’t had a kitten since I was a kid. Much love and hugs to you and to your little boy there.

  15. Janice in GA Says:

    Ah, continued hope for a happy life for the little one!

    My sis has been trapping feral cats around her house, getting them checked/neutered, finding homes for the kittens, and generally Doing Good Cat Works for some time. But when her favorite old tom cat turned up FELV+, she knew she’s have to have him put to sleep. He was an unrepentant old tom, and wouldn’t have made a good house cat, even if she could have found someone to take him. (She already has 5 cats herself.)

    It broke her heart, and kinda put her off Good Cat Works for a while. :( I’m glad your scenario played out more happily.

  16. Cathy Says:

    I’m sorry and congratulations! I’m sorry you couldn’t keep the little mite, but congrats on finding him a good home. (((hugs)))

  17. kathy Says:

    I am a good friend of the new owner, and I believe this kitten is verrrry lucky! It’s nice to know there are many people out there who care for cats as much as we do. We have also taken in and spayed/neutered/adopted feral cats in our backyard. The cats now let us pat them and hang out all year in our yard. They are as much a part of our family as our indoor cats!

  18. Cathy-Cate Says:

    That first picture is heart-melting.

    You’ll have to give us an update down the road. Along with the name he acquires, even if it wasn’t the name he was telling you…..

    You were apparently chosen to be an agent of feline Karma. A good work has been done. Be well, orange kitteh!

  19. Astrid Bear Says:

    Adorabls! I’m so glad the kitten has a long and fun-filled life ahead of him — I do like a happy ending. *snif*

  20. Susan Says:

    My heart was in my mouth when I read that Lil Orange wasn’t around anymore, but as the story unfolded I was relieved. I’m glad her little kitty disease isn’t fatal and that you had such amazing luck finding her new forever home. Thanks for documenting her story.

  21. Anna Says:

    You are such a wonderful cat mother! May P&J enjoy your love for many years to come, and may any new kittehs loves you as well!

  22. Violinknitter Says:

    Hooray! Teh prty oranje kitteh wit no naym haz hom!

    (Promiz wl not aks nu ownur f i cn ply wit kitteh.)

  23. alwen Says:

    Whew! Thank Ceiling Cat!

  24. Anne Kaelber Says:

    Being a good pet-parent is hard sometimes, isn’t it? I’m glad the story ends well, though I get how hard it is on one’s heart in the process.

    We recently re-homed a ferret, returning the size of our “crew” to 10…and it’s been an interesting journey already. Rapid and significant weight loss because he was imprinted on his old food (I forgot they do that and this fellow is older, almost 6yrs old), in need of a dental cleaning and neutering. But he squirmed his way right into the gaping hole in my heart my darling Maxwell’s death has left and we’re both healing each other now.

    I hope your good Feline Karma is rewarded by Ceiling Cat. We are the shepherds of the planet, if only we’ll accept the role. *smile*


  25. Marina Stern Says:

    I’m glad the pretty kitty got a good home.

  26. Sonya Says:

    Oh little Gracie. She’s done right by you. Lucky little girl. Glad she found a new home, those eye could melt the steeliest of hearts. Puddles all over the place.

  27. Jean Says:

    I teared up on this as well. You did well by this kitten and it sounds like he went to an ideal home for him, he will be so loved and have the best of both worlds, a cat friend and a human family who will give him lots of attention. My kitty Boo is Mr. Social, he is especially fond of his sister Lila and snuggles up regularly to his Mom (he’s going to be 2 next March). I hope they keep in touch with regular photo updates. Please post them should you receive them, he has won all of our hearts.

  28. Emilie Says:

    Oooooh….AAAH. :( :) I don’t know whether to be happy or sad! Bye cutie orangie!

    I want a new cat too. Bella wants friends.

  29. threadbndr (karla) Says:

    All of my dogs but one (and she was a gift) have been pound puppies or rescues. It’s funny how quickly they can wrap themselves around our hearts. I’m glad the kitten’s story has a happy ending.

  30. Simba's Owner Says:

    Hello all - I just stumbled across this blog from awhile ago. The orange kitty is now named Simba. He is healthy, happy and playful. He terrorizes the older female cat in the house in a fun way, but she shows him in his place….. The kids adore him as well has the parents. I would post a picture if I could, but all is well with Simba.

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