Niscua, From Rainforest to Suburbia

All Creatures Great and Small.  One of my very favorite books written by James Herriot.  He writes about his exploits as a country veterinarian in Yorkshire, England.  I don't know what made me think of this as I began to write this blog entry, but it's the first thing that came to my mind!  I loved reading the stories about veterinary life and house calls made to care for domestic and farm animals.  But in Yorkshire, the domestic animals had jobs, whether it be keeping varmints away or herding sheep.  This is not the case in a suburban household such as mine, where my dogs are primped and pampered!  I am thinking about this today, the third day since we added a one and a half year old cat to our family!  Her life began in the rainforest of Panama, where she did indeed have a job.  

She was born in Armila, Guna Yala, on the northeast coast of Panama near the Columbian border.  The indigenous people of Panama, the Guna Indians, populate this area.  The son of my dear friend, Angela, and his girlfriend lived there for nearly a year.  His name is Morrison and he was on a US Fulbright Student Scholar Program for sea turtle research and conservation.  He writes about his amazing experience on his website,  While living there, he and his girlfriend, Amanda, adopted a kitten from a litter born near their hut.  They named her Niscua, (which means star, in the Guna language), because she has a four pointed white marking on her back.  Morrison said she was great at keeping the rats away!  This was her job, albeit, something that came naturally to her.  But that's usually the case when an animal has a job- just like some dog breeds who are natural herders! 

When it was time to leave the small remote town of Armila for good, this little cat had quite the journey ahead.  First, they all took a boat ride in rough seas to a tiny airport up the coast,  where they boarded a small, unpressurized plane, which flew them all to Panama City.  Morrison and Amanda had more work to do and drove all over Panama, cat in tow, until it was time to head back to the states.  They made sure she had all the necessary vaccinations and she was cleared to enter the United States! 


After returning, Amanda developed some serious allergies and it was with a heavy heart that they decided to find another home for her.  We lost our little Jingie about a year ago and I missed having a cat in the house so I was thrilled to open our home to her.  It's going to take some time for my dogs, Skever and Bodie, to fully accept her, but they are getting along amazingly well for her being here less than a week.  She will learn to tolerate my little beasts but will always have a superior attitude, for that is a cat, and I love it!