I have learned that those who love cats. LOVE cats. Every time I’ve travelled to third world or second world countries I have never seen a cat. They just don’t seem to survive in the places where more people and animals need to fend for themselves to eat and live another day. Cats are kind of a rich people sort of luxury.
They aren’t really good guard animals and they have a record of being the greatest heroes. I mean, I think over the years (due to internet sensationalizing) I have become a cat person, however if I had to choose between a cat and dog to save me from a fast moving river. I would pick the dog. On this particular trip to Mexico, we discovered a cat.
When we were all staying in El Chalet, I became good friends with Eva. The youngest climber of the group. We always joked about how she could climbe her age, in grade. Eva’s climbed as long as I have and can probably boulder double my grade. She’s a machine!
It was really refreshing to meet a kid who would rather play outside than on a phone or iPad. She was always exploring, climbing things and helping to cook and make things. Children can be so inspiring.
The first day at El Chalet, Eva discovered a little orange and white cat. It was scraggly and timid and thought curious, would quickly dart off unexpectedly. At first, we were all hesitant to touch this stray and semi wild teenage kitten. But over the course of a couple days. Cuteness won.
Next thing you know the little is is hanging out with us in the chalet and sleeping on our laps and sleeping bags. We bought kitten food at the market for him, and even named him. El Chapo.
Those of you who do not know El Chapo, will be lost in the irony. Joaquin Guzman, AKA “El Chapo,” is ranked in Forbes magazine as the most powerful man in the world. He’s escaped prison many times, including walking out of a maximum security prison and crawling through a tunnel. And he’s the world’s scariest drug lord. So. Why did we name a feeble little orange cat after this man? Well because my friends Adam and Andrea were thinking about helping him escape Mexico and take him home to California.
Adam and Andrea had come to Potrero Chico the year before and they knew about this American lady, named Dotty, who spends half the year living in Potrero and rescuing dogs. She’s kind of like the animal saviour of the region. She picks up strays (regardless of how dangerous they may be) gets them vaccinated and neutered and tries to find them homes with climbing visitors.
When we all realized how friendly and awesome El Chapo was, Adam and Andrea started to seriously consider maybe taking him home across the border. Adam had driven from California and Andrea was going to fly home so those were the obstacles that needed to be faced. It turns out, it’s not really too difficult to get a cat from Mexico to California. It just depends on the state, but all you need is a clean bill of health from a vet and documents for rabies vaccination. Each state is different but just a little FYI if anyone was looking to adopt a kitty. In the end they decided that El Chapo would be fine on his own in Potrero. He was resourceful enough and hopefully the next climbers that stayed at El Chalet would adopt him as a climbing kitty. Well word on the street was that he was seen on the first pitch of a 5.7 so obviously the cat has some ascending skills.
So moral of my story? Cats are awesome. Try to smuggle them (with proper paperwork) and go climb in Potrero and let me know how El Chapo is faring!