Monday, December 17, 2007

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

I have been keeping a very big secret. I’ve been holding it inside for nearly two weeks now and FINALLY I can share it with all of you. Thank goodness, I thought I was going to burst. You see, Miss Maddie Bouvier was a (early) Christmas surprise for a lovely gal named Alicia and her sweetie Tony. Now that Maddie is in their loving arms, I can share the story with you.

Several weeks ago, I was looking at the traffic statistics for the IBKC and I noticed it had been linked to another blog called “I’d Like to Buy a Bowel”. Naturally I was curious by the title, so I paid it a visit.

Alicia, who pens the blog, lives with Crohn’s disease, “the most glamorous of the inflammatory bowel diseases”, as she describes it. She writes candidly on the subject. I suggest you all take a peek at it. She’s a wonderful writer. Her blog is very smart and funny, and she offers some incredible insight on the subject of chronic illness and chronic pain.

I sent Alicia a little note just saying hello and wishing her well. She wrote me back and said that she had been following the kitties, and had become quite smitten with our dear little Maddie.

Shortly after our exchange, Alicia’s mother emailed me from Texas. She said it was Alicia’s heart’s desire to adopt Maddie, and she wondered if there was anyway we could make it happen. I called Kim, to see what she thought and we both decided that we needed to figure out a way to make this all work. Coincidentally, Kim's sister also has Crohn's disease. Normally, we wouldn’t take on such a challenge, but these were special circumstances. Alicia just seemed so wonderful, and the fact that her parents wanted this for her so badly, spoke volumes about their character. It just seemed like this kitten had to be a part of this fabulous family.

So after dozens of back and forth emails discussing schedules, the appropriate sized cat carrier, and in general, how to pull this whole thing off, we had a plan. Alicia’s father Dennis, would be flying to Seattle to pick up his new granddaughter. We were to meet him at the airport with Maddie.

Maddie and her bags were packed and Kim, Sue and I headed to SeaTac Airport with her Saturday afternoon. When we got to our designated meeting place near the US Airways ticket counter, the gals working the counter knew exactly who we were and what we were doing. Dennis had already checked in for their flight back to Houston, and had told all of them the story. They were all excited to meet Maddie. Of course there were many oohs and ahhs over our beautiful little girl.

Dennis showed up carrying a bright red kitten carrier with white fur trim. It was loaded with everything a kitten could possible need to travel comfortably: a sporty red harness, toys, treats, and a water bottle. We spent a good 45 minutes with him filling out adoption paper work and coaching him on how to travel with a kitty. Dennis had many questions and was quite concerned with her getting back to Texas safely. Maddie was such a good little girl. She waited quietly in our arms and even took a little nap. She was quite relaxed in her chaotic surroundings.

It was getting close to their departure time, so after several rounds of goodbyes, Maddie was tucked into her Christmas carrier. Yes, there were tears. Some were sad tears, but more were happy tears, followed by many hugs.

After a quick stop by the ticket counter to show off his new granddaughter, Dennis headed through security. We waved goodbye to the ticked counter gals, and headed back home.

At about 3 A.M. I got an email from a very shocked and excited Alicia announcing the arrival of her new baby girl. Judging by the number of capital letters and exclamation points in her email, she was quite thrilled with her Christmas surprise. It sounds like Maddie is doing just great. She’s quite comfortable with Alicia and her new dad Tony. She’s playing, purring, eating and exploring like she should.

Maddie will be in Texas for a spell, and then will be heading with Alicia to Boston, her permanent home. She’ll have a new sister, a three-year-old tortie named Sophie. I know she’ll be so happy there.

Alicia sent me an update on Maddie this last night. I know you are all curious about how she is getting along with her new family, so I will share it with you. Here’s what she had to say:

She is taking a little nap so I am going to fill you in. It was 3.30am when my dad got home and I was so very confused when I woke up. At first I thought they had just put one of our cats in the carrier. Then I heard a very small mew, and I saw the peach kiss on her nose. I thought, "I must be obsessed with Maddie because I could swear this cat was her!" But it WAS! It took me a while to wake up and understand that Maddie was going to live with Tony and I! I said, "Oh no, all the Itty Bitty readers are going to be sooo jealous!" I hope Tony and I can live up to everyone's standards! We played for about three hours and then had to sleep some more. She curled right up with me and took a nice nap, too.

Dad said she did just fine on the plane and slept the whole way until they landed. The ladies at the ticket counter were apparently so taken with Maddie that they got to fly first class! She was not as happy in the car, but she seems very, very comfortable here at home. I had NO idea what my parents were up to. What a surprise! Tony and I had jokingly hatched plots to come adopt Maddie many times, but of course we never seriously thought we would get to be her parents. We both loved her so much though, and were so sad we wouldn't get to see her anymore! In fact, the last thing we talked about before we went to sleep yesterday was that we wanted to name our new adopted kitty Maddie, after her. We kept checking the blog all Saturday waiting for news about Maddie's adoption--little did we know! Thanks so much for all the work you and Sue and Kim have done to make it possible for us, not to mention how much care you have put into raising her. It was definitely worth it, because we are going to make sure she has lots of love forever.

Tony was smitten immediately and was so upset to leave today. I made sure they had a lot of play and cuddle time to tide them over until January. Although sad to leave Maddie so soon, he's anxious to get back to Sophie and start getting the house ready for Maddie's arrival. She is exactly how you've described her--affectionate and playful, and a purring machine. She is so itty bitty, and yet she is so long and tall! I have been calling her Maddie Long Legs. She has met one of our other cats here at the house, and while there was quite a bit of growling on the older kitty's part, I think they will be okay at least for the time Maddie stays here. She has stayed in my bedroom and bathroom so far, where her food and litter are, and we are planning to kitten-proof other areas of the house in case she feels like exploring.

Quite a journey for our dear, sweet Maddie, eh? I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am for our girl. I know, without a single doubt, that this is where this kitty was meant to go. And even though she’s further away than any of our other kittens, I know she’ll be the one we stay closest too.

Thank you Dennis and Marion for making this all happen for your daughter. You two are the most wonderfully, wonderful parents. Thank you to Amy, Alicia's sister, for keeping the secret. And thank you Alicia and Tony for loving Maddie so much.

I have tons of pictures to post, but I thought I would start with the story first.


  1. Wow, what a wonderful holiday story! For all the bad I see in the world, there are stories like this one that restore my faith in humanity. I am also glad to know that there are other foster families out there that are willing to go to such extremes to ensure the welfare of these little angels. Thank you for giving me a happy cry today.

  2. I am so proud to be Maddie's second mommy! She is sitting on my lap purring right now. Don't worry, everyone, I will keep you very up to date on her progress. Thanks again to Laurie, Kim, and Sue for such a great surprise!

  3. This story has brought tears to my eyes so many times. While I appreciate the acknowledgement I do want to clarify that my role in getting Maddie to Alicia consisted of riding shotgun to the airport. Kim and I foster another batch of wee ones together, but Maddie was all Laurie and Kim. From a tiny singleton when she arrived at the Humane Society to a "first class" kitty loved by so many. Great job, foster muddahs.

  4. My DEARLING girls -- thank you! I'd say it in 100 languages if I knew them. For your tender loving care of ALL the babies; for your concern and meticulous care in seeing them to appropriate homes; for being flexible in this case where it was SUCH a mitzvah....and for providing us with those pictures every day. When one is having a No Good Thoroughly Awful Terribly Bad Day -- your Itty Bitty Kitty Pix soothe the heart.

  5. I am so glad my favourite committee member will be living with other cats, and another tortie to boot! Pictures urgently requested.

  6. Dearest Alicia, Laurie, Kim and Alicia's Beautiful Parents - You have made our Christmas and our year so much brighter. What a wonderful gesture of love by all of you. Thanks for sharing this very special story. It's something we all very much needed to hear. Alicia - I just know that you and Tony are the PURR-fect parents for Maddie. Congratulations on your new arrival.

    Blessings be on you all.

  7. That was such a wonderful story... it just made my day. Congrats to Alicia on her new daughter and hats off to Laurie, Kim, and Sue making this happen.

  8. That is the most wonderful Christmas story EVER! Best wishes to Maddie and her new family. Alicia, I hope you have a GREAT life with that wonderful little peach kissed nose!!! What a wonderful way to start the day. Thank you, Laurie!!

  9. Aww. Sooo happy to hear about Maddie's new family. From Seattle to Texas to Boston! She's quite the little traveler :)

  10. Wow, I had tears reading that story. You couldn't have a more wonderful story for Maddie's forever family. I wish Alicia and Maddie, Sophie and all Alicia's loved ones the very best!

  11. Quite a Xmas story. Maddie is lucky to have found a new loving family, and Alicia is also very lucky to have such a caring family.
    A big hug to all of you!

  12. Maddie is the cutest kitten ever.If you lay down on the floor, she will come lay on you (or at least sniff your toes).
    She's been doing a little bit of exploring, lately. Last night she even went all the way downstairs!

    There is one downfall to little Maddie LongLegs. She is a thief. Not only has she stolen all of our hearts, she is a mousie stealer as well. On her excursion to the downstairs, she noticed a mouse belonging to one of our permanent kitties. Maddie noticed it and, apparently, must have decided "This mousie must be mine!" She grabbed it in her mouth and ran up the stairs like a shot. As soon as she got into her home base (Alicia's room) she looked around for other kitties and, seeing none, commenced playing!

    She's not only playful, but snuggly, too. I was the official Catsitter when Alicia and my parents drove Tony to the airport, but I had been up so late (early?) playing with little Maddie I fell asleep on the bed, after playing a little Oh-No-The-Blanket-Is-Alive!-We-Must-Attack! Maddie, who had been in an extremely playful mood, curled up next to me right before I fell asleep. When I woke up, she was on my chest.

    Well, that went on long enough.
    Maddie is a sweetheart. Thank you Laurie, Kim, and Sue for doing this for Alicia and Tony!

  13. Oh, I forgot one detail.
    Anyone who loves the little Maddie can expect updates galore; In the first hour she was here, we had 170 pictures on Tony's camera alone.

  14. Yay for Maddie Long Legs and her new parents!!! *stands and cheers*

  15. Awww. I read this story this morning while in a rather gloomy mood, and melted! Talk about a lifter-upper for the middle of finals week! *salutes and applauds the wonderful foster parents* and cuddles the kitties.

    I've been following the IBKC for a while now, and today I just *had* to comment. I'm passing this along to other cat people friends of mine, definitely. :) The kitties have a fan in Wisconsin. :D

  16. Hey, I'm being tested for Celiac Disease...if it turns out I've got it, can I have Cornelius?!?!

    I am super duper jealous!!!!! But this is a wonderful story :)

  17. i've been reading this blog for while and not commenting, but i just had to after reading this! it's such a happy ending for maddie! i hope that she's really happy with her new mommy! sounds like she is doing great so far!

  18. Happy endings to all of the IBKC kities! Cheers to a Happy New Year and a long filled life full of love for all of them! And BIG hugs to Willamena and Lottie when they have their turn to 'go home.'

  19. I am just sobbing, and so happy that there are so many people in the world who still care about each other and about the other living things. Blessings all around! XO

  20. Oh this is such wonderful news!! Yeah to the IBKC for making such a wonderful Christmas present. I was smiling with tears of joy seeing how happy this has made someone. I hope that Maddie cuddles with you for ever and ever and brings you much relief from your pain.

  21. Oh, I have been waiting to hear this story!!! How absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!!! It seriously brings tears to my eyes. It sounds like sweet little Maddie has found a very loving home. Yay!

  22. What a lovely story. I am so glad you shared this.

  23. You guys are amazing! I hope you all know how much the rest of us
    appreciate what you do and the way
    you do it...above and waaaay beyond
    the norm. I know Maddie will be so
    happy with her new family and she
    will give back as much as she gets. I have a Tortie who could be
    her twin sister and she is one of
    the most loving cats I've ever had.

  24. Oh boy! Now that I've stopped crying (!!) I can say how happy I am that Maddie is going to Alicia & Tony - they seem like lovely people, from a lovely family.

    She has been my mostest favourite out of all the kittens mostly because she reminds me of my own darling girl: Georgie who is a torti, too!

    Thanks for sharing her story and thanks Alicia for saying you'll keep us up to date!

    All the love in the world to you all, you do such a good job.

    ALICIA! Please give Maddie a nuzzle for me, I will miss her very very much.


  25. Thanks to everyone for all their encouragement. Maddie is doing great (she's on my lap purring again) and I have been giving her lots of pets and kisses from you guys.



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