Stories From the Enchanted Grotto

  • Bringing Home Beauty's Boys:  How Rocky & Rico became part of our family.
  • The Mystery of the Other Brother:  Who was that Masked Kitty?

Bringing Home Beauty's Boys

Linda Echo-Hawk
Summer 2005

One morning in September 2001, the staff of the Longmont Humane Society arrived at work to find a cardboard box outside their front door. It contained a mother cat, whom they named Beauty, and five kittens. They were too young for adoption, so they were put into the Foster Care program, and went home with the program coordinator.
About that same time, I began to feel like it was time for me to get kittens. After Jesse died in 1996, Roger urged me to wait until I finished school to get kittens, and I had done that.  It was a lonely five years with no cats in the house.
I decided to start looking, but I had no real idea what my criteria was. I knew that I wanted to get two brothers, since my previous experiences with male cats (Jesse and Jaxon) had been so good. I was worried that if I sought out a black and white kitten, I would always be comparing him to Jaxon, so decided that I should not do that.
Roger had always hated the idea of splitting up a litter of kittens. He was concerned that it would harm them psychologically to be separated from their siblings, so he asked me to be open to the idea of adopting more than two kittens if necessary.
When Roger and I drove to Yellowstone, we suggested many names, but none of them seemed right to me. Roger jokingly insisted that they be named Shagrat and Gorbag, after two Orcs in Lord of the Rings.
I went to the Longmont Humane Society and the Boulder Humane Society a few times. Usually there were no kittens, but lots of adult cats. I learned from a Humane Society employee that kittens get adopted as soon as they come in, so I decided at that point just to drop in often, and hope I would be lucky.
On November 16, 2001, I decided to drive to the Longmont Humane Society during my lunch break. They said they were expecting to get some kittens in later that afternoon, so I took off work early to go back in mid-afternoon. When I got there, they had two families of kittens in two different cages. In one cage there were three kittens: Rocky, Rico, and another brother who looked very much like Rico, but with a “thumbprint” gray smudge on his chin. They were very alert and curious and I knew that I had finally found the right ones. They had just arrived and the staff was still making up signs for the cage. They said that one of them was already spoken for. This was a relief, because I knew that otherwise I would have to adopt all three, which seemed like a handful! I told the staff person that I would like to see them in a visiting room. She asked which ones I wanted to see, and I said whichever ones were not spoken for (so I wasn’t sure who I’d see).
In the visiting room was a wooden bench.  I sat down on the bench and realized right away that they weren’t going to just sit quietly in my lap on the bench, so I sat on the floor.  Rocky hid behind the back leg of the bench.  Rico was very inquisitive and was running all over the place.  I had my small black Fossil bag, which has a strap that is small, more like a string.  He immediately started playing with it, and would try to drag the purse around, even though it was as big as he was.  He was adorable right away and would let me hold him and pet him.
I was nervous about Rocky, because he was shy.  I spent many years worrying about protecting Jaxon, who was very fearful of other people, and I didn’t want a “scaredy cat.”  But as Rico was playing with my purse, Rocky would peak out and watch him very intently, and I knew that Rocky was bright and alert, so I decided to take a chance.  The other thing that made me reluctant about Rocky was sort of silly.  He was so beautiful and he had black and white markings.  I had initially been worried that I would try to get another Jaxon and I had told myself not to get a cat just because he was black and white.  Then I realized that Rocky was nothing at all like Jaxon, and that I would love him for himself, and that it would be stupid to reject a cat on that basis.
It was a tough decision, because I knew it was a serious commitment and the memories of the pain we felt at losing our other kitties were still powerful, but I told the staff I wanted to take them both home.   This was a Friday afternoon, and the beginning of a new adventure that continues to this day.


The Mystery of the Other Brother

Linda Echo-Hawk
February 2009

When I adopted Rocky and Rico, there was a third kitten in the litter at the Longmont Humane Society who had already been spoken for. Roger and I often wondered about this kitten and we referred to him as the "Other Brother." We hoped that he had found a good home and was having a happy life, and we wondered if he missed his brothers. We knew how much Rocky and Rico seemed to rely on each other, especially as they were growing up. We couldn't imagine either of them without a brother in their lives.
On April 22, 2005, I was opening the mail and saw a flyer from the Longmont Humane Society. I started to toss it in the Recycle Bin, but thought better of it. You can imagine my surprise when I opened it and saw a picture of Rocky, Rico and the Other Brother. I knew it was them because I recognized the little smudge of color by Other Brother's nose. The picture accompanied an article about the Longmont Foster Care program for kittens that are too young to adopt, and I knew Rocky and Rico had been part of that program.

Rocky, Rico & Milo

In the fall of 2005, we met someone who told us his wife worked at the Humane Society, and we told him of our interest in learning more about the fate of the Other Brother. His wife sent us an email letting us know that the litter had consisted of a total of five kittens, plus the mother, "Beauty." The Other Brother in the picture was "Milo" and he had been adopted into a home in Longmont. Beauty also found a home in Longmont. The other two kittens found homes in Boulder and Lafayette.
We were a little sad that each of them had been adopted individually, and that only Rocky and Rico had the security of a brother nearby, but we were happy to know that all of them had found homes.