Finding Tonkin

picture of Tonkin at Pauls
Tonkin at Pauls

This is the story of Finding Tonkin by Paul Garrett Hugel

I usually walk on the sidewalks in Kihei, Maui, on the way to catch the bus or just to get exercise. One day in March, 2013, I noticed a small Siamese cat sitting on the sidewalk less than a block from my condo at Kihei Resort. I stopped and sat down next to it and just watched it from about a foot away. This cat seemed like it was constantly scanning the road and its surroundings, and watching and waiting.

After a short while I got up and continued walking into town. On my return home, several hours later, I saw the cat was still there so again I sat down and just hung out with it. I called my friend, Ellen Laura, since she is a cat lover and had been teasing me about getting a cat because her condo didn’t allow any pets. The following day the same cat was sitting at the exact place as before. And on and on for several days, I saw this pretty kitty watching and waiting. But for what?

On Monday, March 25, in the early morning, Ellen’s mom Flora passed away in Utica, New York. That afternoon Ellen came to see me so I could drive her to the airport for her mom’s services. As we sat together in the car, we saw the Siamese cat sitting in the same place and a woman was petting her. Ellen rolled her window down and asked the woman if it was her cat. “No” the woman replied, “She’s here almost every day.” Ellen then looked at me and said, “That isn’t a feral cat. She’s too pretty. Look at those white toes and blue eyes. Something is wrong, she must be lost.”

After I drove Ellen to the airport, I went home and looked around my place and found I had a cage that might work to catch this cat and of course, I used a can of tuna fish to lure her to me.

I placed the cage next to the cat, then opened the can of tuna fish placing it in the cage. As soon as the cat smelled the tuna fish she went into the cage.

I walked the short distance to my condo, set the cage in the bathroom and out she jumped. Like a wild thing, she launched herself onto the window screen, tearing it apart. As she clung to the screen refusing to come down, I took the bathtub faucet handle and gently began to spray her with warm water. She was filthy and furious, but safe. Ellen was now in Utica with her family and I sent her a photo of the cat.  She replied, “She must have been sent to me by my mother.”

The next day I took the cat to the Maui Humane Society. She had an ear tattoo, they told me her name was Tonkin, she was about two years old, spayed and the owner’s phone was disconnected. It made me sad to think how many people leave the island because they cannot afford it and leave behind their pets.

The Humane Society asked if me if I wanted to adopt her and I said yes, so we registered Tonkin in my name and they took my phone number and now associated the tattoo with me.  A week later Ellen returned to Maui. Tonkin immediately warmed up to her. My role in finding Tonkin was so important and I am grateful that I followed my intuition and brought her home with me. This is the start of the story of finding Tonkin