Revisited: The Dashboard Cat

Dec
27


I’m asked frequently about various long-ago posts and what happened afterward. Usually, these questions are asked in the comments, often in the latest post rather than the old post they were asking about. I answer in the comments, but not everyone reads the comments (and it’s especially hard for someone new to my site to go back and find out where it was asked and answered), so I’m going to start periodically writing a post to answer these types of questions–for everyone. The most oft-asked question is whatever happened to the dashboard cat?


I wrote about the tiny kitten that became trapped in the dashboard of my car in this post, nearly two and a half years ago: She Can Poop Wherever She Wants Today.

Back then, we still lived in The Slanted Little House. My cousin’s cat, Fuzzball, had recently had a litter of kittens. I’d given all of them away, but had kept one kitten, my dear little Desdemona, who was a real favorite of mine. It was summertime and there was a hole in the screen door. Fuzzball kept getting in the house. She pooped in the house. She really irritated me, but it was hot in that old farmhouse with no air conditioning and that hole in the screen was daily trouble.

Then we found another kitten. Not Fuzzball’s. It was wild. Weston loves cats and he managed to get hold of it and bring it inside. He was the only one who could handle it. It was terrified of everything and everyone. I thought something was wrong with its leg and wanted to take this tiny, wild, terrified creature to the vet.

Here’s the story, and I’ll tell you the rest of the story at the end.

Original post: She Can Poop Wherever She Wants Today, June 28, 2007.

Mama Fuzzball with her last kitten, Desdemona.

We call her That Darn Fuzzball because she poops all over the house, making herself a most unwelcome guest, and it’s only her continued nursing of Desdemona not to mention the hole in the screen door that explains her presence at all anymore. I really didn’t think she could do anything to earn my admiration at this point, until–

Several days ago, we found a tiny stray kitten, only a few weeks old, too young to be motherless, and Weston has been taking care of her. Yesterday we decided she didn’t seem quite right so we loaded up to take her to the vet. Weston was supposed to hold her. She’s so tiny, you can hold her in one hand. Only he didn’t. He let go. And next thing we knew, she’d crawled up inside the dash of my car.

It was 91 degrees and a kitten was stuck in my dash. For SIX HOURS. She wouldn’t come out. We went back home. Two teenagers went to work trying to figure out how to get into the dash. We flagged a man on the road to help us. We called over a neighbor to help us. My cousin finally came home. We got nowhere and pieces of my dash were hanging out all over the place but we couldn’t reach her. We tried leaving her alone, we tried food, we tried everything. It started raining. It got dark. We were facing a really terrible situation. Either the kitten was going to die in my dash and make my car smell REALLY NICE or we were going to open the windows, let it rain all over the inside of my car in hopes the kitten would run out sometime during the night–and we’d never see it again, never be able to take it to the vet. It might die anyway….. Weston–my big football player–sat down beside the car and cried. Then we had an idea. Last ditch effort–Fuzzball. A mother cat, not her mother cat, but still a mother cat who sounds and smells LIKE a mother cat.

I got Fuzzball, shut her up in the car.

SIX HOURS we’d tried to get that kitten out of the dash. Fuzzball got her out in five minutes.

She can poop wherever she wants today.

Here is that tiny kitten now.
IMG_8875
Weston had initially named the dashboard cat Gwennie, but later changed “her” name to Killer. As a joke. Because Killer was so terrified of everything and everyone, “she” used to climb inside Kleenex boxes to hide.

Two of Fuzzball’s kittens that I had given away, Wiggles and Squiggles, were returned after a few months. (Are people allowed to return kittens?!) I thought Wiggles was a boy and Squiggles was a girl. I also thought Killer was a girl. (Clearly, I am cut out to be a farmer!) The day I took Killer and Wiggles to be fixed, I discovered I was wrong. Killer is a boy and Wiggles is a girl. (Squiggles was fixed later. I try to only take two cats at a time to the vet! That’s enough to handle. Squiggles by the way, is a BOY.)

We still have Wiggles and Squiggles. (Below, Wiggles sprawled out on our back porch here.)

Desdemona, sadly, was hit by a car while we still lived at the old farmhouse. (I’m so glad to live on such a remote road now that the chances of a cat being hit by a car here are very, very low. No one can even drive that fast on our road anyway, and there’s very little traffic on it. Mostly, just us.)

My cousin had Fuzzball spayed after that litter. About a year or so ago, she disappeared. Nobody knows what happened to her.

We still have Killer (and we still call him Killer, though he is NO killer). By the way, nothing was actually wrong with him, so I’d been worrying over him and taking him to the vet that day for nothing!
IMG_8884
He’s still a scaredy-cat, but he’s relaxed a bit. He lets me pick him up and pet him. Under protest. Weston used pieces of ham to train him to come when he calls. He would at first lead him with a piece of ham, snapping his fingers, then eventually he quit using the piece of ham. Now he just snaps his fingers and Killer comes running. Whenever Weston is gone, if Killer is inside the house, he’ll sit outside Weston’s door, awaiting his return. He’s Weston’s cat, through and through. He’s HUGE, the biggest cat we have, and gorgeous.

So that’s what happened to the dashboard cat!

P.S. We have 10 cats. They are all spayed or neutered (except for Kitten and Little, who will have their turn at the vet soon).

P.P.S. Read all my cat stories here.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on December 27, 2009  

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Comments

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  1. 12-27
    2:26
    am

    Isn’t it endlessly interesting how pets come to be in our lives? And the challenges they present to us sometimes are amazing.

  2. 12-27
    4:44
    am

    Killer is gorgeous!

    Although we still live in a housing development we live at the end of a dead end street and I am so thankful with the dogs that we do. Dachshunds have a tendency to dash out and not listen – which we learned the hard way before we moved here and our beloved Boomer was hit by a car.

    10 cats? Holy cow – that is great! :) I am jealous.

  3. 12-27
    5:48
    am

    This is the first Cat story of yours I have had the pleasure of reading. Being a Cat person I loved this post and will be reading more of your cat stories. Somehow stray kittens always show up at my house. When I lived in the city of Saint Augustine before moving to the country I once woke to find a cat in a box with food, food bowls, toys etc.. on my front door step. Most people would just drop them in the yard. I once had 17 cats before finding most of them homes.

    Your son Weston is going to make a good husband for a very special girl someday. If you all lived in my town I would be actively trying to introduce him to my daughter. I know that he is going in the service and my prayers are with him.

    Being a Mom I also enjoyed the post about your daughter at the Basketball game. I know you get compliments about your blog all the time but just in case no one has told you lately you are a wonderful Mother!

    Bless you and your family and Happy New Year.

  4. 12-27
    6:13
    am

    Ross is the older one, the one going into the Navy in a few months. Weston is still only in 11th grade. He talks about the military in the future, too, though. I’m always saying Weston will make some lucky girl a wonderful husband some day!

  5. 12-27
    7:13
    am

    I love Killer’s story. I would have worried too darn animals. Killer looks like a Main Koon. I have one named Willy. Most lovely patient cat I have ever owned. He never liked the litter box so he stays out side. You are right about Weston. Very few men like cats.

  6. 12-27
    7:38
    am

    Killer is beautiful! I espeically like that close up hoto of his face. He has beautiful green eyes! I think that picture of him cires out to be painted. I so prefer green eyes on a cat.

  7. 12-27
    7:54
    am

    Beautiful cat is Killer! I have a black one named Hoover who looks like Killer only not the lovely brindle.He’s 13 now and was raised on a bottle by me since he was 7 days old. He’s Mama’s Big Fat Baby Boy…also with those beautiful green eyese.
    Westin is a sweetheart….but so is Ross and your pretty Princess. You are a lucky woman…but you know that.

  8. 12-27
    8:25
    am

    What a wonderful story with a happy ending! I agree that Killer looks like he is part Maine Coon, they are huge kitties. We had one for 17 years growing up named Puss-Anner. She was the best cat we ever had.

    I too love the kitty stories!

    Deb

  9. 12-27
    8:46
    am

    What a great story! Weston and I are cut from the same cloth. The hardest I ever cried in my life was the morning my little squirrel was dying and I couldn’t do anything about it. What do you do for a baby squirrel? at 5am? on the first day you are starting a new job? I’ll never forget that day.

    Suzanne, you are a good momma!

    Susan

  10. 12-27
    8:48
    am

    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :woof: :snowman:
    It has always been my theory that a home is not complete without a pet and a cookie jar.
    I know there are homes in which people have allergy problems and cant have them.
    Children really learn so much from their pets, how to care for a living creature and love them, and receive love from them in return.
    If I come back as a dog or cat, I hope I can find Walton Wv on a map.
    JO

    :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman: :snowman:

  11. 12-27
    9:15
    am

    Killer is so handsome.

  12. 12-27
    9:28
    am

    What a lovely story with beautiful kitty photos too!
    ALL the men I know like cats (or at least have the sense to keep their mouths shut on the subject)even when kitty has just tracked fresh mud all over their car hood!

  13. 12-27
    10:30
    am

    I have to concur. Lovely story and GORGEOUS cat. The colors aside, he looks like my old kitty :) (Who was also on the bigger side-14 lbs.)

  14. 12-27
    11:13
    am

    Don’t animals bring such JOY to our lives!! :snoopy: :snoopy:

  15. 12-27
    11:33
    am

    Thank you for the update…gorgeous kitty! We have six ranging in ages 6 years to 6 months. It is so much fun watching them interact between themselves and the 2 Chiweenie puppies we have.

  16. 12-27
    12:12
    pm

    As I was scrolling down, my 2 year old saw Killer. “I want THAT cat!” I kept scrolling, and she saw Wiggles. “I want that cat, TOO.”

  17. 12-27
    12:22
    pm

    They are all precious. I have been taking care of and taking in ferals/strays for 14 years now. So many stories – mostly good. I now have 6 in the house and 3 permanently outside with some others that come and go. I couldn’t live without these furbabies :)

  18. 12-27
    1:27
    pm

    Killer looks so much like one of my cats, I had to do a double take. The only difference is my cat, Lynx, has those tuffs of fur at the tips of his ears like the bigger lynx cat has.

  19. 12-27
    1:29
    pm

    Forgot to add that Lynx is also a huge scaredy cat, too – lol!

  20. 12-27
    1:56
    pm

    That was a great idea Weston had to get the kitten out. Clever boy! This is a wonderful story. Killer is a lucky cat to have been found by your family, Suzanne. He’s grown into a beautiful cat. I’m glad you found Fuzzball’s one redeeming quality :)
    We have 10 barn cats and 3 in the house. Your story caused us to relive a few cat stories of our own…and we have many!
    Your weather is much like ours today by the looks of it. We have bright sunshine and warmer temps (almost 50º) here in upstate NY. Overnight rains melted much of the snow. :sun:
    I’m going to enjoy reading more of your cat stories. BTW, I love the picture of Little under the Christmas tree in yesterday’s post.

  21. 12-27
    2:45
    pm

    Wow!!! That’s a lot of cats!! Cute stories!

  22. 12-27
    3:06
    pm

    Thanks for the update.
    Killer is a handsome cat!

  23. 12-27
    3:31
    pm

    oh I so love kitty stories. I grew up on a farm and my first memories are of various kitties ~ whether they “made it” or not. It is so wonderful to live far off a main drag so that they are relatively safe from the possible threat of road-kill. I lost so many kitties to road kill and my heart was broken each and every time. Bless your heart for providing a safe shelter for these kitties and also for setting an example of responsible neutering/spaying. thanks for the beautiful photos of your critter family Suzanne! :happyflower:

  24. 12-27
    6:51
    pm

    Killer is GORGEOUS!!!! We had a cat that looked just like that named “Rascal”. We had him for 18 years and we finally had to put him to sleep less than a year ago. I miss him very much. :)

  25. 12-27
    7:01
    pm

    I LOVE CATS TOO AND HAVE SOME RESCUED ONES..LOVE EM! COME READ ABOUT MINE! :D

  26. 12-27
    8:55
    pm

    Killer is a handsome boy! Definitely looks like a Maine Coon. They are very large cats (big boned, LOL). One of my cats has a little Maine Coon in him somewhere, cuz he’s a big boy. I just love the pics of all of your kitties (and all of your other critters)!

  27. 12-28
    10:15
    am

    beautiful kitties :) Such a heart warming story too .

  28. 12-28
    12:46
    pm

    That was a great story. My parents just lost another cat to the main road this week. Your Killer is just a gorgeous cat–what a transformation! When we got our kittens from the pound, they spayed and neutered them before we took them home and they were only 2 months at the time, a boy and a girl. I didn’t know they could do them so young, but was so happy we wouldn’t have to worry about kittens or even taking them in to be fixed later.
    ~Jenny~

  29. 12-28
    3:32
    pm

    I have a fraidy cat too. She is 12 and lives alone in a spare bedroom. All she needs are there so she never has to leave. I don’t know what to do with her. I never see her until I check in. I find her hiding in the closet behind a small dresser. I feel so bad for her and don’t know what to do. No one wants her. At least she isn’t cold and starving :-(

  30. 12-28
    4:00
    pm

    What a wonderful update and such pretty cats!

  31. 12-28
    7:36
    pm

    It always seems to be those grey tabbys that fool ya. I had a similar experience with my latest feline addition, Fey. Found him under the hood of my car after getting off work (had apparantly traveled with me that morning and stayed all day). Took him to the vet, THEY said it was a girl. When I took him in to be fixed a few months later, turned out, he was a boy. :lol: Goes to show, you never can tell.

  32. 12-29
    10:25
    am

    Hi Suzanne! I think you may have cross-breed Maine Coons on your hands!! We have a stray cat that we took in, Max, who is Maine Coon. They are distinct by the “M” marking on their forehead, the large, fluffy tails, and their size. Maine coons continue to grow for around 5 years and can sometimes top the scales at 30+ lbs. They are beautiful animals and are known as the “dog” of the cat world. I love your post and enjoy reading it everyday with my morning coffee….even when I am at work! Thank you for the joy!

  33. 1-3
    9:46
    pm

    I just want you to know that I have been a loyal reader of your site for close to a year now. Recently some major tragedies have occurred. I’m 28. I left my verbally abusive husband, in Canada two weeks ago. I rejoined my family in California after a three and a half year miserable marriage. The day before yesterday he informed me via email without addressing me by name that HE has decided the marriage is over. He’s a cruel man, but I loved him.
    Last month I lost my grandmother and she was my best friend. I was her caregiver up until she died of metastasized breast cancer.
    All that to say that during this heartbreaking time in my life, your website, your blog, brings me so much encouragement. Your simple life gives me hope. I want to move to some remote area, surround myself with animals and be just like you. Your blog is like a little life line and I’m so grateful to you for dedicating yourself to it. It’s your ministry.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  34. 1-3
    10:25
    pm

    Thank you, Cristin!!! My best wishes for you. I’m so sorry about what you’ve been through, but the best is yet to be for you, I promise!!! (I KNOW.)

  35. 11-7
    10:48
    am

    I am so glad for your cats to be on a road where no one can hit them.

    I have 3 and the tom is always around, but the momma (Ginger is miss hissy as she hisses at both of her kittens). I worry about both of the girls as they disappear for days and I really want to keep them in the house, but alas and alack I can’t as they are roamers and we have acreage behind the house. But, no one much keeps the speed down to the 25 it is suppose to be. I just pray for them and the chickens as they all get into the road.

  36. 9-25
    1:27
    pm

    Oh Hello
    I am new to your wonderful site…

    As with Barbra (above) this heart warming story is also the first from your blog, that I have had the pleasure of reading…
    (I found you through Pinterest.)
    I am so happy that your sweet dashboard kitty, Killer was saved…
    Yeah to good mommy cats!!! and diligent, good hearted people!!! :shimmy:
    We too have 10 well loved cats, two which are kitten’s…
    8 of the 10 are rescues.
    I love your blog, it reminds me of my happy past farm life. I sadly no longer live on the farm, we have moved to the Village, and are still blessed to enjoy some of a country life, as it abounds all around us.
    I look forward to reading more interesting stories and enjoying all the wonderful pictures…
    Trace

  37. 1-17
    7:51
    pm

    I know this post was back in 2009, but I’m relatively new to CITR. I loved these posts! I just happened to notice something, and didn’t see it in any of the comments.
    If you look closely at the kitten picture of Killer, his left eye looks odd, almost like it has a cataract.
    Well I thought at first it might be the light, or position with the camera/flash.
    But then at his big cat picture, his right pupil is a diamond and his left pupil is fully opened.
    Thought maybe killer may have had an incident at the time Weston thought something was wrong with him…I don’t know, stroke or something-I’m not a vet…just a thought.
    Also, I wondered if Fuzzball adopted killer and nurse/nurture him? Anyway he certainly got excellent care as he’s a gorgious creature.

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....






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