Warning: this post contains a plethora of cute kitten pictures.

It was July 1, and Fletch and I were headed to our first rugby match. Two big teams from New Zealand were in Fiji, and so we were headed down to Suva to watch the game with the resort owner and all of his buddies, at least a dozen of them, all flown in from New Zealand.

We were in the resort lobby, hiding from the onslaught of rain. It always rained in that corner of Fiji. Suddenly we saw a little kitten darting under one of the dining tables. So we snatched it up and gave it some of the dried chicken dog treats we used to carry around for the village dogs, Lady and Buddy.

We discussed what to do with the little thing. The resort already had two resident cats; cats that the manager was not a fan of, and was constantly trying to get rid of. The resort owner had told the manager he would get rid of the manager before he got rid of the cats (good man). So they had come to an agreement that the cats could stay, but no more animals would be permitted on the resort's property.

The resort was the only thing besides the village for miles. In the village, the dogs were trained to hunt wild boar, and so would kill anything that moved. Fijians don't believe in keeping animals in the house; they think that's dirty, so even if we brought the kitten to the village, whoever cared for it would leave it outside to fend for itself with the hunting dogs. Whichever way we looked at it, the poor little kitten gnawing on the dried bit of chicken was doomed. So we decided to take it in and train it to be a mouser for our apartment.

He adapted quickly to the luxury of having a roof over his head. He acted like a house cat from the beginning, and left his feral days behind. 

He was a sad little scrawny thing for a while... 

But after feeding him some rice and tuna (it was a few weeks before we were able to find a grocery store that stocked kitty food), he soon grew to be a handsome Kitty.

He was constantly purring, and had an impressive motor for his small size, so Fletch had the clever idea to call him Cooper - like the car. After Fletch began work at the new resort, the name of the new place gave me the idea to expand Cooper's name to Ratu Kitty. Ratu is the Fijian title for chief. His name became Ratu Kitty Cooper.

He liked to cuddle all the time. As soon as I got home from work, I would have to be careful not to sit down on the bed until I was ready to be glued there, because as soon as I would sit or lie down, he was there on top of me, purring away. Sometimes looking like he had just seen a giant spider.

He really loved cuddles. Sometimes I'd be sitting on my computer and he would come wedge himself under my arm...

 ...and then pass out.

 So many cuddles!

When it was time to leave Fiji for our visas, we struggled to find Ratu Kitty Cooper a place to stay. The original plan had been to leave him at the apartment permanently to be a mouser (this is quite common in Thailand where you move into a house and find out that there is already a cat living there), but he had become too reliant on being indoors and, of course, we were way too attached to him at that point to do any such thing. So we searched for an animal shelter or some sort of boarding service. Since Fijians don't believe in having animals indoors, and they hardly ever leave their villages, there is no reason to have pet kennels. They don't exist here. The only animal shelter we could find claimed they were completely full of strays. We had asked well in advance, and thought it strange that they would rather put up a stray that far down the line than a cat that they could make a few dollars off of.

Our vet two hours away in Suva finally agreed to watch him for the two weeks I would be gone, plus an additional week that Fletch and I figured it would take us to make our new living quarters kitty-friendly.

Poor Ratu Kitty Cooper must've thought we were going on some grand adventure, and sat eagerly on Fletch's arm the whole ride.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, it was five weeks before I was able to pick Kitty up from the vet. The poor thing had to live with the vet for five weeks. Remind your pet that they only have to go for an hour or so next time a trip to the vet is due. An hour isn't nearly as bad as five weeks. We weren't even ready for him yet; I just couldn't stand the thought of abandoning him for any longer. Fletch was in the US at the time, so I took the hour-long ferry over from our new island, borrowed a friend's car, and drove the three hours each way to Suva. I hate driving, and nothing could ever compel me to drive for six hours. Especially in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road. Nothing except this silly little monster.

The ride back wasn't nearly as long as the ride to Suva had been with Kitty for company. We listened to an audiobook and made frequent stops along the beach to visit the world's largest litter box. We tried to stop for pizza too at this spot that cooks pizza inside the lovo pit and is without hesitation, the best pizza in Fiji. It was closed though. So we continued on our journey.

It was dark by the time Kitty and I reached Nadi again, and the next ferry was not until the following morning. I had called around to see if there were any pet friendly hotels, but seeing as how homes aren't even pet friendly in Fiji, you can imagine how those phone calls went. I finally got a room at a hotel that Fletch and I had stayed at before, and knew was spread out enough that I could walk around without anyone seeing me if I needed to. I almost felt bad accepting the free upgrade to the suite that they gave me, since I was about to head back to the car and smuggle Kitty into the room in my backpack.

He very much enjoyed sleeping on a bed again.

We left the hotel at 5 AM, before anyone was awake enough to notice a little white girl leave with a moving backpack making meowing sounds.

I discovered to my dismay, that coffee shops don't open until 7 AM in Fiji. That probably makes me sound like every other Starbucks addict from America, but all we get on the island is brewed coffee, so a nice, foamy cappuccino on the rare occasion when I am in town is a treat. Not that morning though. So I took Ratu Kitty to the only place I could think of where a cat on a leash might not be the strangest thing anyone had seen all day.

Port Denarau is where all the rich white people live. It is the ritzy area that people envision when they  think of going to town on their tropical vacation. The entirety of Fiji is very humble. From what I've seen, there's no real upper or lower class. Everyone lives in their villages, under a tin roof. Then there's Port Denarau, where you leave the third world and enter Beverly Hills. Driving down the street and seeing everyone's waterfront mansions with their yachts is pretty ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than a cat on a leash.

Kitty and I picked up Fletch at the airport at 8 AM and then the three of us, finally reunited, took the ferry back to Mana Island and introduced Ratu Kitty Cooper to his new home.

Kitty has a love/hate relationship with rugs. He cannot allow them to lay flat. They must be bunched up.

Kitty's hobbies include sitting on Fletch's large hand and staring out the window to see if it is the opportune time to chase the geckos off the porch yet. He only gets one go every night, so he has to make it count. Fletch and Kitty make quite the team.

He also enjoys laying in the window. We finally had to remove a few panes of glass for him because he is getting fat.

Kitty declared that newspapers are the new cardboard boxes.

Christmas time presented so many fun gift bags to play with.

Kitty really loves sitting on Fletch's hand

Baskets make a mediocre substitute.

He's not quite the tiny thing he used to be...

But he is still just as cute and ridiculous. 

 Thanks for being a constant source of entertainment, Ratu Kitty Cooper.