An Unlikely Adoption

Community Chronicle, July 2021

An Unlikely Adoption

I was at the supermarket on a busy Tuesday before the Fourth of July. The place was jammed, my cart was half full. My phone rang.


“This is Judge David Pereya.”

“Our mutual friend, Tappy V, gave me your phone number. I understand that you like cats,” he said. 

I didn’t respond right away, as I was thinking, ‘‘Huh?’ “That’s right,” I finally said. 

“Good, good, I like cats too. A short while ago I found a kitten inside my truck’s wheel well, sitting on a tire. I brought it into the office. It’s a real cute little thing. I can’t take another cat and no one in my office can either. Tappy stopped in for a visit, saw the kitten, said you recently lost your cat and that I should call you. She gave me your number.”

“Uh, that’s true,” I stammered. “I did lose my 14 year-old cat. It was kind of sudden. Not sure if we’re ready for another cat. The dog has gotten used to having us all to himself.” 

“Just come in and take a look at him. I think it’s a him, maybe it’s a her.” Silence. “Yep, it’s definitely a him, I just looked.”

I almost burst out laughing as I stood in the canned goods aisle, visualizing this judge lifting the kitten’s tale to check out his gender.

“So, what do you think?” he asked. “He’s real sweet and very affectionate.. Can you come by my office? I’m leaving in 20 minutes.”

Really? I thought, looking down at my cart of groceries. “I’m a half hour away and I'm in the middle of shopping. I can’t make it in 20 minutes, besides I really need to bring my husband, so he can see the kitten too. He’s got Boy Scouts tonight and won’t be free till after 8:00. How about we come by in the morning?”

“No, no, I’d like to find this little guy a home tonight. Y’all come by my office when your husband gets home. Here’s my cell …….call me.” And he hung up. 

I stood there a little stunned, then phoned my husband. He wasn’t too excited about the prospect of bringing an unknown kitten into our home. But we did agree that the dog had been grieving and lonely since our cat passed away. We’d tried to adopt a cat from a rescue the month before but that one turned out to be the cat from Hades and had to return it. We’d been hesitating to look for another. Nevertheless we phoned the judge later that evening, and just like he said, he met us at his office. We walked into the kitchen area and there was the tiniest little black kitten I’d ever seen scurrying all around the room. In one corner was the lid of a computer paper box filled with litter, and in another corner a bowl of tuna and a bowl of water. We no sooner sat at the table than the kitten ran up my husband’s pant leg, laid in his lap and began purring with a rumble and staring up at him with iridescent green eyes. After a few minutes I took the kitten into my lap where he continued purring like a well-oiled machine.

“See? Isn’t he sweet?” the judge asked. “I don’t think he’s very old. He keeps trying to nurse on my fingers.”

As if on cue, the kitten began trying to suckle on one of my fingers and kneading my thighs. That’s when I discovered that he had teeth like little razors and claws as sharp as daggers. The nails I could trim, but those teeth? In fact, he was a sweet little guy. I wondered what happened to his mama and how did he end up on the judge’s tire? It’s a wonder he was still alive. The judge stared at us, “Well?”

I looked at my husband, down at the kitten, and back at the judge. “You gonna take him?” he asked again. I looked at my husband, we nodded. 

“Great! You’re gonna love him. So, what are you going to name him?”

“I don’t know,” I answered. “We’ll have to wait and see what name fits him.”

“Well, you could name him Judge,” he offered, looking at us with all seriousness. “After me!”

We both smiled, sort of, barely believing that we let the Justice of the Peace talk us into taking the kitten and now he wanted us to name him Judge? After him?

The kitten moved right into our house, and even though he weighed just two pounds, he terrified our dog who outweighed him by over 14 pounds. Our wussy dog shook like he was stuck outdoors in the coldest winter, his ears laid flat against his head and his tail curled up between his legs. The kitten marched around our house like he owned the place. Since that fateful evening a month ago, the two fur balls have gotten used to one another, sharing or rather, stealing each other's toys, eating off each other's plates, claiming mom or dad’s lap first, and playing chase up and down the hallway and all other the house. Whenever the dog gives me an exasperated look I tell him that he was the one who wanted a kitten, so he has nothing to complain about -- we got him his kitten, who we named Simcha, the Hebrew word for joyful. And that he is. I haven’t laughed this much in years.