Roadside is the first cat I ever had, although I think my brother or brothers may have had one or two when we were kids.
Roadside came to me (or perhaps it is more precise to say I came to her) when I was in no way looking for another animal, much less a cat.
It was August 30, 1991 (the Friday before Labor Day). I was at a roadside park near the Blue River reading a book. As I was reading, I heard an animal calling or crying. At first, I thought it was a Blue Jay. The more I listened; however, I realized that it was an animal in distress. I told myself that I should leave it alone, but I could not just walk off.
I got out of my van and started walking toward the sound. I walked across Blue River Road and into the woods. There behind a tree was a very little kitty. She had mucus in her eyes, fleas all over her little body and you could feel her tiny rib bones. Well, what does one do with a little kitty in distress, when one already has eleven fairly big dogs? Of course, take it home!!!
I had been using the veterinarian services of the Human Society in Kansas City, Kansas, and amazingly they were open on Labor Day weekend. I took the kitty there and asked that they take her, because I really did not think I could protect her from all of the dogs. They told me that they could not take any more cats and asked that I at least try to take care of her. They did vaccinate and worm her and gave me a starter kit of food and supplies.
It was a struggle at first. I kept her in a spare bedroom which at the time was piled with all sorts of odds and ends. I would take her out and let her be with me in the bathroom when I was getting ready for work. The wallpaper in the bathroom had straw or grass weaved into it and she literally climbed the wall, eventually completely destroying the wallpaper. As more of the dogs died, I let her out with them and she eventually had free run of the house and got along fairly well with the dogs. The dogs did bother her, but she still had her claws and could cause them some grief if they bothered her too much.
When Marble came along, they never really got along. It was a constant game of cat and cat, not really getting along, but not getting into serious catfights. They seemed to carve out their own territories and lived that way for as long as I had Marble. It got even worse when Barney and LaCoal entered into my life.
Roadside died in June of 2006, just a few days before her 15th birthday - too short of a life in my opinion, but much longer than she might have lived if I had left her behind that tree beside the road.