Super-sweetie SteveIf there’s one thing more disturbing than an “evil” kitten, it’s a missing kitten.

For that reason, sweet-as-pudding Steve wins the “most disturbing kitten” award at Tabby’s Place this week.

At the moment, we have four itty bitty kitties living in lobby condos: Zac, Taylor, Daphne and Steve. Happy as they are wrestling in their condos, there’s nothing these babies love more than romping through the lobby. (And who can blame them? The lobby has its obvious charms: enormous sprinting space, countless hidey holes, “Weird Uncle” Tashi…)

Our little marmalade love-bug, SteveYesterday, as usual, we let the wee beasties romp through the lobby during morning cleaning, when staff and volunteers are on hand to keep an eye on them. Once morning rounds were over, volunteer Stephanie began rustling up the kittens to gather them back into their condos. One by one, she engaged the little ones in their favorite game, “catch me if you can.” (Sometimes we can; more often, we need to “double-team” them if we have any hope of scooping them up.)

But, try as she might, Stephanie could only round up 75% of our kitten population. And the missing marmalade boy just so happened to be the gentlest, mildest, (usually) easiest-to-catch kitten of all…Steve.

Stephanie poked her head into the Community Room. “Angela, has Steve been in here?”

I didn’t think so, but, just to be sure, I looked all around my desk. No Steve. The search party widened. Jonathan remembered that, last week, Daphne had disappeared under his bookshelf, so he looked there for Steve. No sign of the little ginger guy. How many places could a kitten hide?

The more we pondered the possibilities, the faster this game of hide-and-seek went from “cute” to “scary.”Adorable Steve loungin' in the condo he shares with Daphne

With the whole staff and a platoon of volunteers now combing the lobby, offices, and side hallway, Steve certainly had the dream team on his side. My gaze kept going to the outside door…but no. No, I couldn’t fathom that this little angel-face, who’d barely survived his hungry, outdoor orphan days, would possibly dart out again. Didn’t he realize how much sweeter his life had been since coming in from the cold? Could he possibly have ventured back out to the wild world that had almost claimed his life the first time around? It just couldn’t be.


It was Denise who began calling the little guy’s name in the lobby. Denise is the one who nursed our little guy back from the brink, the one whose tender care brought him from looking like a shriveled, fuzzy orange raisin (as you can see in the photo below, taken moments after Steve’s arrival) to a healthy, romping baby boy.

And, as it happens, Steve never forgot his “mama,” or her voice.


All attention snapped to the center of the lobby. “Denise,” someone cried, “he’s answering you!”

“Steeee-veeeen,” she called softly.Steve as he looked moments after arriving at Tabby's Place, dehydrated and half-alive
“Mew! Mew!”

“It sounds like he’s under Polly,” I realized aloud, following the tiny feline voice to the chair currently occupied by our pretty torbie. Yikes. As Polly isn’t a fan of her own species (or humans, for that matter), hiding under Polly would not be a wise move.

“Mew! Mew!”

Jonathan hit the floor and set his sights under the couch. “Aha!! Look at this!”

Steve pondering his adventuresSure enough, the underbelly of the lobby couch had a mewing, kitten-sized lump. It seems Uncle Tashi inadvertently created a new hidey-hole for his nieces and nephews. Tashi loves to cling to the underside of the couch with all four paws, and spin around wildly; somewhere along the line, he must have made a slit in the lining…which seemed to Steve an excellent place to nestle.

Meeeeeew!” Except that now he was stuck.

Elated to have found her boy, Denise reached into the belly of the couch and pulled him out by the scruff. Back in his foster mama’s arms, shy Stevie was all cuddles and purrs, saved again.

What would have happened to Steve if he hadn’t answered Denise’s calls, and we hadn’t heard him inside that big bad couch? I dare not guess. But, when Stevie finds his forever home, we’ll have to tell his new family the power of calling our little adventurer’s name with a heart – and voice - full of love.

10 thoughts on “Steeeeee-ven….

  1. We had the exact same thing happen only with the box spring of a bed. But ours would not answer any calls, there was a lot of crawling involved before we discovered the hiding spot. What works wonders for stopping this is put an old fitted sheet under the box spring, don’t know what you could use on a chair or sofa.

  2. That must have been scary. That happened witho one of my cats at home. I was going crazy looking for him and became convinced he had snuck outside. Turns out he had accidentally become locked in a closet. I was so relieved when I found him, I cried. Of course, he strolled out of the closet as if nothing had happened.

    So glad you found Steven…He’s very cute and has certainly experienced love and healing since arriving at Tabby’s Place.

  3. I guess we’ve all had our scares with “missing” cats — my Rusty also crawled into a hole in the box spring…was there for hours as I frantically searched everywhere possible! Fred is right — they laugh at us behind our backs! Thank goodness that Denise speaks “meow” — little Steven is just the cutest!

  4. Oh how much this reminds me of the day I first brought my tortoiseshell Maine Coon Madison Marie home. Maddy was ever so shy. She had been adopted from the rescue group I had just started volunteering with. The family brought her back a few weeks after the adoption saying all she ever did was hide. The mother said no one could figure out why. After all it was a very quiet household – even taking into consideration her three teenage kids being part of that household. Let’s see, quiet teenagers – sounds a bit oxymoronic to me. The first time I looked into Maddy’s incredibly beautiful golden eyes I knew if I had been “in her paws” I would probably have hidden too.

    It didn’t take long to convince my husband that we would be perfect new parents for Maddy. We prepared a room for her and I went to pick her up at our group’s shelter. She was nowhere to be found. Another volunteer and I searched the entire shelter (consisting of two adjoining industrial-sized mini-storage units) stem to stern with no luck. Then we noticed a printer stand cabinet in the front office. It had been in one of the cat rooms the day before. Well, it couldn’t hurt to look. Audrey opened the door and smiled. She reached in and said “Maddy come on out, your new mom has come to take you home”. We figure Maddy had been hiding in that cabinet for at least 24 hours – out of shyness and fear. She left it clean as a whistle too.

    My Maddy never lost that shyness or our unending love for her. She went to the Rainbow Bridge on October 16, 2006. I will be eternally grateful that God chose us to be Maddy’s parents. He knew we would always love her just the way she was – and we did.

    Maddy’s Mom

    P.S. Madison Marie now has her own brick in the memorial walkway leading to Cherny’s Garden. I like to think of it as her way of helping the other shy kitties at Tabby’s Place. Like I said, Madison Marie was, and continues to be, one very special kitty.

  5. I had a similar experience with a little Tortie kitten and a little black kitten that I was fostering just before Rascal adopted me. I missed Charm one evening and started looking for her. The as I was searching her, the little black kitten named Bear “disappeared”. I was totally dumbfounded as the room they were in was isolated from the rest of the house so there was no way they could have gotten out. Finally, as I sat on the couch, I felt something move underneath. That little stinker, Charm, had made a small hole at the back underneath and they were both inside the couch! Well, a quick trip to town and a large piece of upholstery vinyl and some tacks later and her little disappearing spot was gone. Try as she might she never was able to open that hole up again. It is amazing to me how resourceful these little guys can be. I hope little Steve’s new mama is aware of his little trick.

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