Eff The Odds (aka Cat Nuggets)

Behold! A rescued cat nugget.

Behold! A rescued cat nugget.

I was going to do another Weird Instruments That Don’t Suck video this week.

Because I have this very weird, very non-sucky instrument to show you.

Except I’m doing something else.

And I totally blame the cat.

Well, to be more specific, the kitty.

So, really, a cat nugget.

Putting Tim on pause

See, last night we found a kitten.

And I don’t mean found as in went-to-the-local-animal-rescue found. More like found-behind-our-air-conditioning-unit-in-40-degree-weather found.


It was kind of late. Like 10:30.

My wife was in the basement. I was watching Project Runway. (Yeah, I just admitted that publicly.) We both heard this noise that sounded kind of like a bird. But not really.

I put Tim Gunn on pause. She came upstairs. We’re both standing in the kitchen. Listening to this weird not-really-a-bird-but-what-the-hell-is-it sound.

It was a kitten.
And it sounded like it was in trouble.

So I grabbed my coat. My wife traded her Invader Zim slippers for more sensible shoes. And off we went to find the little nugget.

Because it’s late October. In Ohio. And it’s like 40 frakking degrees at night.

And because we both love animals. More than chocolate. Or ninjas. Or Project Runway.

We followed the little chirpy sound around the house, down the neighbor’s drive, to our air conditioning unit. And there was the kitten, wedged between the AC and the corner of our house.

Fuzzy little gray ball. With blue eyes. And a really loud voice.

Cutest. Kitten. Ever.

I managed to squeeze past the air conditioner. And the thick bushes with thorns. I scooped the little guy up, wrapped him in a fuzzy green blanket and brought him inside.

Wait. What did you just say?

Fast forward to this morning. When, looking at this gorgeous little ball of gray fur, I thought what the %$#@ do I do now?

I shot an email off to a friend who does a bunch of rescue work with animals. I figured she might be able to take this little guy in. Or, at the very least, she’d know what three week old fuzz balls eat.

Then I got busy googling “how to take care of orphaned kitties.”

While googling away I got a call from another friend. Who heard the kitty that sounds like a bird in the background.

So I explained our adventure last night. And how cute the kitty is. And how he has the coolest gray stripes. And how I couldn’t talk long because I was just getting ready to leave to pick up some Kitten Milk Replacer formula so I could bottle-feed him.

Their response?

You should have left it outside.

Wait. What?

Yeah, it’s probably sick. That’s probably why its mother abandoned it.
You shouldn’t interfere with nature.
It probably has FIV. Or feline leukemia. Or something.
So it’ll probably die.
Someone I work with tried to save a cat she found outside.
She spent like $2,000. And it died anyway.
Why would you go get all attached like that?
You should have just left it outside.


You shouldn’t get involved.
The odds are it’s just going to die.

So let me make sure I’ve got this straight.

Because this tiny feline nugget may or may not be sick and the odds may or may not be in his favor, I should have just said screw it and left him outside to die?

Uh, no.

Eff the odds

I say eff the odds.

See, here’s the thing.

Aside from the fact that even the thought of leaving a kitten outside to die goes against every single thing I’m about, this whole screw-it-the-odds-suck idea is perceptual poison.

I work with people every single day who are stuck and struggling and in pain. Sometimes they’re as close to hopeless as it gets. The odds are totally stacked against them.

People on every side may have given up on them. They may even be pretty close to giving up on themselves.

But they’re like this little cat nugget. They cry out for help. Because they’re scared. Or lonely. Or in so much pain, on one level or another, that all they can do is cry.

They reach out.
Even when the odds aren’t in their favor.

And they keep reaching out. Just like this kitty. Who kept meowing in the dark until we found him.

Why I don’t care about the odds

Despite the fact that they’re hurting and afraid and in a situation that looks a lot like a three week old abandoned kitten wedged behind an air conditioning unit in Ohio in late October these people reach out.

And, because of that, they connect to something that helps them.

So in spite of odds that may look pretty grim, or people who just gave up on them, their stuff shifts. Their pain lets up. They find some peace and quiet and happiness. And, with a little care, their life looks gorgeous again.

They don’t give up. And neither do I.

Because I really believe that there’s always reason to hope. Even when things look really, really bad. Even when everyone else has given up. Even if you’ve given up on yourself.

My friend said I’m naïve. But I’m not naïve.

Being hopeful isn’t the same as being naïve. They each come from different places.

I’m hopeful because I’ve seen peoples’ lives change in the most beautiful, amazing, I-can-barely-believe-it kind of ways. I’ve seen one person after another beat the odds.

Broken hearts put back together.
People who were totally lost finding their way.
Hurt that hurt for decades finally gone.
Relationships on their last leg coming back to life.
Folks making comebacks that look absolutely impossible.

I’m hopeful because I’ve seen myself go from being homeless – sleeping in the back seat of my car or in a scummy motel room with bullet holes in the walls – to getting back on my feet and really finding my groove.

And I’m hopeful because I saw a little three week old ball of fur fight and cry and not give up. He was scared and hungry and alone. And things looked really bad. But he didn’t give up.

How could I have possibly given up on him?

Take that crappy odds

So I guess that makes me one of those people who hold on to hope.

Not in an obnoxious life-is-always-great-and-everything-is-always-yummy way. Because it’s not. And I know that.

But I see really big, really hard, really scary stuff shift everyday.

So I don’t believe in giving up on someone or something just because things look bad. I don’t believe in leaving people or kittens or dreams or goals for dead, just because they’re facing crappy odds.

Hope can totally kick crappy odds’ ass in an arm wrestling match. Anytime. Anywhere. Any day. And there’s always reason to hope.

So, yeah, eff the odds.

My money’s on hope.

The picture? That’s the rescued-from-behind-the-AC-unit cat nugget in all his fuzzy gorgeousness. I snapped the pic just before an awesome rescue person came to pick him up.

He’s a cute little guy, isn’t he? My new symbol of hope. And totally worth putting Project Runway on pause.

* Update – 10/29/09
We’ve been in touch with the awesome angel rescue lady a lot. She’s been awesome about giving us updates. And she’s sending new pictures soon.

I’m really happy to say that the little cat nugget is doing great!


He’s eating like a champ, playing with the other kitties he’s living with and playing with his own feet. How cute is that?

Methinks we’ll will be adopting this little guy when he’s ready, which will be around Christmas. We figured he managed to find his way here, so bringing him home makes a bunch of sense.

The fact that he’s ridiculously cute has nothing to do with it . *ahem*

* Update – 11/12/09
I promised pictures. I’ve got pictures.

Here’s what the angel rescue lady sent us this morning.

Gorgeous cat nugget

If you just overdosed on cute, that’s totally ok. He’s kind of the off the charts with cuteness, isn’t’ he?

And he’s doing really well.


He had a minor upper respiratory thing, but he’s doing alright with it.

And, apparently, the angel rescue lady had a hard time snapping a picture of the little nugget because he zooms all over the place.

Yeah, we’re in love.

I mean, seriously, can you blame us?

* Update – 06/16/10
Here’s a picture of Sid from a few days ago.

Sitting at the window. Watching the birds. Doing the cat thing.

He’s been here since late December. He’s doing fabulously. And we love him like crazy.

Hope FTW!

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26 Responses to Eff The Odds (aka Cat Nuggets)
  1. Julia
    October 20, 2009 | 4:03 pm

    The odds were against my finishing my dissertation. And then I met you. Lucky kitty.
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..The Brave Hat =-.

  2. jamie
    October 20, 2009 | 4:03 pm


    This is why I know we’re Tribe, man. Seriously.

    Here’s to you. Here’s to hope. And here’s to the little Nugget.
    .-= jamie´s last blog ..Creative Living with Jamie: Cairene MacDonald =-.

  3. Linnea (cafemercury)
    October 20, 2009 | 4:09 pm


    *loves post*

    “Hope can totally kick crappy odds’ ass in an arm wrestling match” has to be the best line ever.

  4. Lilly
    October 20, 2009 | 4:11 pm

    Cat nugget is such a cute little feller!

    I needed to read that. I can’t give up on people. I won’t! When you have been helped to get unstuck it frees up energy for giving, so thanks for that too. 🙂

  5. Sestias
    October 20, 2009 | 4:20 pm

    This makes my day. I love animals, but even if I didn’t your words are inspiring.
    .-= Sestias´s last blog ..Muslim Interns on Capitol Hill =-.

  6. Hayden Tompkins
    October 20, 2009 | 4:41 pm


    When we really get the truth that everything is a reflection of who we are, then we couldn’t turn and walk away.

    P.S. Cutest. Kitten. EVER.
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..The Familiarity Factor and What it Means For Your Success =-.

  7. Amy Crook
    October 20, 2009 | 4:43 pm

    One of my best beloved cats is a rescued kitten, who was sick and miserable and went to the vet every Saturday for the first 3 months with us — and is now 11 years old and living happily ever after. Little nugget is lucky to have crawled into your life, and I hope he finds somebody to love and squish him (gently) just like my Heck did.

    (But I have to admit, when you say “cat nugget” I do not think small cat. I think things that come out of the back end of the small cat. Heh.)
    .-= Amy Crook´s last blog ..Illustration: 24 Nicks =-.

  8. Karin
    October 20, 2009 | 5:44 pm

    Fabeku, you’re the best. And I love this post! Your reasoning is exactly the way I perceive things in life. It may not be the easiest way to live life but I feel it’s living life to the fullest. Chapeau! And blessings to you, your wife and last but not least: The Kitten!

  9. Wulfie
    October 20, 2009 | 5:47 pm


    Yay for Kibbles the little nugget! Boo on your nay saying friend!

    You’re right, sometimes all that’s left is hope….how does anyone give up on that?!

  10. Deborah Weber
    October 20, 2009 | 5:57 pm

    What an inspiring post! Nugget is a wonderful symbol of hope and you’re a wonderful holder of space for hope.
    .-= Deborah Weber´s last blog ..Blog Action Day 2009 =-.

  11. leah
    October 20, 2009 | 6:23 pm

    I Effin love this post. Hooray for hope. And I love that you watch Project Runway. (me too!) 🙂
    .-= leah´s last blog ..Giveaway! Goddess Leonie’s Divine Dreaming Meditation Kit =-.

  12. chris zydel
    October 20, 2009 | 7:03 pm

    I have no idea what Project Runway is but it sounds incredibly trashy so I’m sure that I would thoroughly enjoy it.

    And oh… the kitty story is just so heartbreakingly beautiful…. and yes….eff those odds. None of us would be here at ALL if we didn’t eff the odds on a regular basis.

    Thanks for your big heart and standing up for kitties, AND loving animals AND chocolate AND bad TV. You are just the kind of guy I like to hang around with. I’m just really grateful that I get to have that chance!!
    .-= chris zydel´s last blog ..Abuse Your Art Supplies =-.

  13. Tessa
    October 20, 2009 | 8:11 pm

    Thanks for this. Thanks for separating having hope from naivete. I’ve come to realize that having hope takes courage, whereas being cynical takes absolutely no effort at all and that’s why we see so much of it.

    We need more encouragement like this. At least I do. We need more people who are willing to say eff the odds even though that means going against the mainstream.

    Way to go.

  14. Fabeku
    October 20, 2009 | 8:27 pm

    @Julia – That’s amazingly kind of you. Thank you.

    @Jamie – Here’s to hope! And the little nugget! Right on. And I totally hear you on the Tribe thing too.

    @Linnea – I’m with you on the sniff bit. Me writing this post? Write. Cry. Write. Cry. Lots. And yay for arm wrestling matches where hope wins! Woot

    @Lilly – Yep. He’s managed to fit a whole ton of cute in that fuzzy body of his. And I love what you said about energy being freed up for giving. That’s pure awesome.

    @Sestias – Thank you. I appreciate the support tons. It does my heart good to see folks who get it.

    @Hayden – That’s it right there. The idea that we’re all connected isn’t just some feel good thing. And when you really get that, turning your back just isn’t an option.

    @Amy – You rock. And this is exactly why rescuing this little nugget was a no brainer. Because he can love and be loved and have an awesome, gorgeous life. Just like Heck. Which, by the way, is a wildly cool name. And yeah. You probably won’t find any of those kind of cat nuggets here.

    @Karin – Living life to the fullest, even when it’s not easy. Yes, yes, yes. Right on. And chapeau to you too!

    @Wulfie – Yep, sometime’s that’s all we have. And, actually, that’s a whole lot. Plus I figure if a little 3 week old kitty – all alone, freezing cold and hungry as hell – didn’t give up, I shouldn’t either.

    @Deborah – I’m totally inspired by this little guy. He’s helped me way more than I helped him, for sure. And thanks for your kindness. I appreciate it bunches.

    @Leah – Hooray for hope! And a big holla to another Project Runway fan.

    @Chris – “None of us would be here at ALL if we didn’t eff the odds on a regular basis.” Can I get a witness? This is straight truth. And thanks for all the nice schtuff you said, says I blushing. And Project Runway? It’s fashion + fierceness = awesome.

  15. Fabeku
    October 20, 2009 | 8:43 pm

    @Tessa – You’re so right. Having hope does take courage. It’s easy to be blech about things. One of my favorite lyrics is from a song by The Smiths. It says It takes strength to be gentle and kind. That feels really true to me. So here’s to tons more hopeful reminders and to saying eff the odds.

  16. elizabeth
    October 20, 2009 | 9:09 pm

    I had a similar thought as @amy crook about the meaning of cat nuggets. 🙂

    I love this post. I refuse to give up on hope either. Hooray for hope. And hooray for you. And hooray for the kitty!
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..and they lived happily ever after =-.

  17. Josiane
    October 20, 2009 | 9:34 pm

    Repeatedly seeing people who were stuck in a bud finally bloom gorgeously after you’ve helped them shift stuff is certainly a terrific hope booster. What a wonderful side effect to come as a result of doing your thing! Thank you for putting more hope into this world.
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Practicing body poetry with Havi =-.

  18. Candace
    October 20, 2009 | 9:59 pm

    You know, I had a dream about a lost kitty (or rather a mountain lion) a few days ago. I was cuddling with it on my love seat. Later in the dream it was in a puppy pile with my two dogs in the back yard, cuddling…eff the odds indeed, my friend! I too have been lost, abandoned and had the odds stacked against me (did the living in the car thing myself when I lived in San Francisco for a time…) I’ll be sending Reiki to little Nugget tonight!

  19. Jo
    October 21, 2009 | 4:11 am

    I only found you a week ago. Downloaded the free stuff and SAW stuff shift. Bought the download…stuff is still shifting. Big stuff. I knew I’d been lucky enough to find someone special and THEN I saw this post. What the heck are you gonna do for an encore?!

  20. TattyFraney
    October 21, 2009 | 6:00 am

    thanks so much for this 🙂 eff the odds indeed!
    and what a cutie is the lil fella?

    much love

  21. Steffi
    October 21, 2009 | 8:23 am

    So much love in you and in your writing! I just loved reading it and it touched my heart deeply. Thank you!

  22. Goddess Leonie
    October 21, 2009 | 6:16 pm

    This is so very precious honey… love this story!

  23. Fabeku
    October 29, 2009 | 11:03 am

    @elizabeth – It’s so funny that cat nugget never registered with me that way. Because it makes total sense. Now it just makes me snicker. And yeah, a great big huge hurray for hope! And hurray for not giving up!

    @Josiane – I do feel really, really lucky to see awesome people have all kinds of gorgeous stuff happen. Honestly, there’s this big sense of gratitude around all of it. I’m almost constantly amazed. Which rocks.

    @Candace – I loved what you said. And you get the sleeping-in-the-car bit, which I thought totally sucked. And maybe that’s a big part of why I feel the way I feel about this stuff. I’ve been in situations that looked pretty frakking impossible. And somehow it all turned around. So, yeah. Eff the odds. (This has totally become one of my new mantras.)

    @Jo – Can I just tell you how happy your comment made me? To hear about all the awesome shifting that’s happening? Two words: Woo! Hoo! I love that.

    @Tatty – Yeah, he’s an adorable little guy, isn’t he? Crazy cute. And crazy amazing.

    @Steffi – Awesome! I’m glad it struck a chord. It makes me happy to see so many people that get how important hope is. Yay!

    @Leonie – Thanks tons. It’s amazing how many different lessons there are in finding a little cat nugget behind the AC at night, eh?

    Thanks again to everyone that read this, and share it, and commented here. I appreciate you all tons.

  24. Joely Black
    October 29, 2009 | 1:15 pm

    Oh my God! I thought that it was our capacity for compassion, and the way we take care of supposedly hopeless cases that makes us human. Or at least humane. If that argument applies, then we shouldn’t bother treating cancer patients or AIDS victims either. That gives me the creeps.

    I once found a baby bird who had fallen out of his nest while out on a walk. I had no idea what to do with him, so I went to see the veterinarian next door (we lived next door to a vet and kept four rats, how cool is that?) with it. They handed it over to the RSPCA. Because essentially, that’s what they’re there for. I couldn’t in all good conscience leave an animal or person to die.
    .-= Joely Black´s last blog ..A 4.4.1: Feeling like Alice =-.

  25. Fabeku
    October 30, 2009 | 10:37 am

    @Joely – The idea that life – any life – is disposable bothers me. Lots. I get that sometimes people react this way as a self-protective response. But I feel like going deeper – past that – is really important. A big yay! for rescuing the baby bird. That’s awesome!

  26. Stephanie Briggs
    March 23, 2015 | 11:55 am

    I’ve been privileged to be adopted by many exquisite animals over the years (shelter beasties, mostly). I think they adopt you, not the other way around. <3

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