Sunday, October 26, 2014

Not Every Story Makes it Into the News

Not all life-and-death stories we see in the newsroom are about people, and not all of the stories we become aware of are reported. This is one of them.

One of our anchors,  Lana Hughes, was visiting Houston's BARC this Summer to update the registrations for her adopted cats, when a man named Tyler approached her about getting a newborn kitten adopted out...the kitten he was holding in his hands. He was essentially turning the cat in.

A bundle of promise
in a cardboard box
The weeks-old kitten had yet to open its eyes. Chances of an adoption would be two-fold: Slim and none. Lana made a split-second decision that would impact the lives of a dozen people in the following weeks. She took the kitten home.

Newborns aren't supposed to be away from their mothers. We don't know the circumstances that delivered the kitten to us, but Lana became the kitten's surrogate mother, administering feedings and cleanings around the clock during the first few weeks of life.

The animal was so tiny, we couldn't even determine its gender at first. I dubbed it "Kitty Couric." Not long after, it was apparent we'd need to alter that title, and Lana and her producer, Matt Greenwood, proclaimed his name to be "Lil'-T," after the stranger who wanted to donate the cat to BARC.
In reality, it was Lil'-T who had US
eating from her, paw!

The news business is a 24-hour animal.
You have to continually feed the news machine with fresh content, around the clock. How ironic it was, then, that the feeding cycles for Lil-T would inter mesh, and the Newsroom became a bit of a nursery, with feedings upon arrival, just before news time, once during the morning block, and once more before Lana could leave for the day. We all became adoptive Aunts and Uncles for Lil-T.

Takes a lickin' and keeps on...uh, lickin
"T" was a tiger in the making.
He could down a dropper-ful of food in no time, a pace he maintained as he graduated to more substantial quantities of food. He learned to search ravenously for his dropper tip while it was being prepared. He would steady the bottle nipple with one paw slung sideways on the bottle top as he guzzled his breakfasts. And he would complain mightily as Lana and her Aunt Martha Martinez administered ritual cleanings with a moistened paper towel. Well, it was better than licking his face.

Lil'-T became the Newsroom mascot, albeit a surreptitious one: According to the employee manual, animals were not allowed on the floor of the Radio suite. So we kept Lil'-T on the Q-T. He would briefly 'mew' in his cardboard carton, but generally burrowed under a plush towel and snoozed the hours away in the Newsroom between feedings.

A firm grip on reality--and his bottle

Lil'-T matriculated to being a stay-at-home cat after a couple of months, and Lana was able to leave him at home in the mornings. The newsroom lost just a little of the morning buzz when it was no loner necessary to time our work load to his feeding cycle. As Lana noted, like most animals, Lil'-T brought out the best in all of us as we watched him flourish and grow.

Today Lil'-T is a cocky cat with a bit of an attitude and a nose for trouble--or is that just news--probably because he was rubbing shoulders (and ears) with some of the greats in Houston Radio. Lana has added to his name--the T is now short for in a certain Tasmanian cartoon character.

Lil' T at 2-1/2 Months
Photo Credit: Lana Hughes

1 comment:

Lana said...

A thank-you to Tyler, the young man who turned up at BARC with that days-old kitten in the cardboard box that would become his bedroom for a month (until he learned to scale the wall). It was destiny that I got in the check-in line behind him. While shelter turn-ins are sad, it beats the alternative of dumping. And thanks, Uncle Brent, for documenting Lil T's journey!