4-9 Tu Niufala Puskat or Mission Puskat Acquisition

Our cats are very cuddly

We have two new cats. One is an extroverted, attention-loving, outgoing orange tabby. His brother is a gray tabby best described as a scaredy cat. They are both purr machines and they team hunt with amazing success. The count today alone is three lizards that I’ve had to clean up plus one tail. I don’t know how many more they ate.

The story of acquiring the puskats is very Peace Corps Vanuatu. First, let me point out that Vanuatu is part of an archipelago, which means each island is isolated. Our only means of transport are boats and planes, though these come in various shapes, sizes, frequency and reliability.

We had a friend come visit us from the States. (She gets her own post.) We went to Vila to meet her and bring her back to Pentecost. Before she got in, we went to dinner with a couple of the PCVs who live in Vila. It was a great dinner with much wonderful conversation. Part of that conversation was me lamenting the death of Musashi and the state of the rat population in my house. One of the other PCVs immediately said, “You can take one of mine.”

Our cats are also perfectly happy to be stacked

Upon further consideration, it was determined that if I took Goldy, I would have to take Melvin, too. They are brothers and play together all the time. I agreed that two puskats would be better than one puskat and we started plans to get these critters out to Pentecost.

The first hurdle is that the puskats live on Efira, an island outside of Vila. We were doing a kayak tour based from the island, which was convenient. We picked up the puskats on our way back from the tour. By picked up, I do mean stuffed them in a box, had them escape from the box, stuffed one of them back in the box and the other in a hiking backpack. Then we jumped on a speed boat back to the “mainland” of Efate.

Hot kitties

This all happened Sunday evening. Our flight was Monday morning. We had to keep them overnight, but we were staying in a hotel. No worries though, the hotel room had a closet. I took the bag and box and put them in the closet in our room, opened them and shut the door. They stayed there while we went to dinner. I checked on them and gave them food and water when we got back then firmly closed the closet door again. Sometime around 3am, I woke up to the sounds of playful kitties in the closet. I ignored it and went back to sleep.

In the morning, we packed up our stuff and got breakfast. Just before it was time to go catch the plane, I opened up the brand new Chinese Bag I’d bought (and then cut holes in) and stuffed them both into it. The bag walked around the room while we put on shoes and stuffed the last few things into backpacks. Then it was time to go to the airport.

At the airport, I claimed my Chinese bag of puskat as a carryon and away we went. They were great on the flight, despite the incredibly loud noises and eardrum popping plane. We landed safely on Pentecost with two still-bagged puskats.

Jason’s papa met us with his speed boat to take us back to the village. In the boat, there was no good place to put the puskat bag. We shoved it under a seat where they would at least have some shade. We landed with the puskats panting in the bag. It was a hot day, even by our standards.

Look how happy those stacked cats are

We brought them up to the house where we let them out on the cool concrete floor. They both made an immediate dash for the hardest corner to reach, which happens to be under the bed. We gave them some food and water and hoped for the best.

Within an hour, Goldy had climbed the center beam of the house and escaped out the gap between the wall and the roof. Luckily, Melvin is much more timid and continued to hide under the bed. We made sure they had food and water and went about our day.

Sometime after we left for kava but before we went to bed, Goldy came back. We assume it was because his brother was still here. It might have been for the free food and belly rubs. He is a total sucker for belly rubs.

That night, they caught and ate a rat. They are still putting a dent in the rat and lizard population around our house.

They both hang out in the windows

They’ve been with us for a week and seem to be well settled in. They defend the house against the puppy that has adopted us and sit in our laps and purr like motors. Melvin is still skitish and prone to getting startled by things like being looked at funny or walking past him. Goldy likes to sprawl across the floor just on the other side of the curtain in the doorway and then be offended when he gets stepped on. They are both really cute and it is nice to have cuddly things in the house. The added bonus with these ones is that they are mousers.

Goldie is always a classy cat

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