Cheto, The Survivor

By all means Cheto is a survivor, when you hold on to life in the manner in which he did, it is indeed praiseworthy. Meet Cheto the survivor.

By Francisco Grijalva Noriega
From time to time stories of the like come to life. We taxi drivers at the airport witnessed a survival story worthy of being told.

Months ago there was beautiful female cat at the airport. She was our mascot. She gave birth to a half dozen kittens and one by one the drivers took them home because the danger being stepped on or run over, as was the case twice. The second time she gave birth she did so in a nearby sewage pipe as if understanding the need for protection. Every morning the loving mom come out to find food for the babies, sadly about a week after giving birth we found her dead by the road, she got run down by a car. It was difficult to believe because she was so smart and used to run through moving cars with no problem. Our concern grew for the health of the babies. No one knew for certain where they were, four or five days went by, and just when we thought they were dead, a courageous man by the name Jesus Barragan came to their rescue. After figuring out where the babies were and hearing one crying, Jesus crawled through the narrow dark sewage to get them out alive. One-by-one he handed out what he thought to be the whole group. The poor babies were in such bad shape and extremely malnourished, we immediately took care of them and fed them properly. We felt so fond of them, considering what they have been through, after a few days of tender treatment they grew to be normal and playful kittens. Again drivers took them home. As for the deceased mom, she was a gorgeous loving white cat with some black. We were all so fond of her, the father cat was a mix of white and some dark spots too. He just came around to mate. He had a mean look that no cat in the alley would like to have him as a foe. No one knows where he came from, the only thing we knew is that he is responsible for the babies, and we haven’t seen him since.
And so a couple of months were quickly gone, and just when we thought the whole chapter was over, all of the sudden, a malnourished white cat appeared on the scene, at first we could’t figure out where he came from, long gone were the days when we saw the last cat taken from us. The new comer started visiting the premises mostly at night, looking to be fed. He didn’t look like he come from a nearby neighbouring home at all. His languid shape and unfriendly manner showed he had lived in the wild for most of his life. We imagined he could have been one of those kittens left behind by Jesus unable to see him in the dark sewage pipe. We debated over the fact that he might have been one of them. His age and looks coincide with that of the other now grown brother cats, and we concluded Cheto is one of those cats. And so, now we wonder about how Cheto being so little was able to survive under such circumstances. Perhaps eating worms and other type of insects help him make it through the first few days unti he wasl able to come out of his solitary confinement. Now he’s a happy playful cat; everybody welcomes him to his new home. His typical day starts with a gravy bag, a man named Paiza brings to him every morning. The rest of the day the taxi drivers feed him grilled beef, chicken and canned tuna fish. He has gained normal weight but is still reserved and wild with most people, only a few lucky of us can pet him and play with him. Now that his ordeal is over and he has finally settled in a warm, caring place, the taxi dispatch office is perfect for his needs. He went from being a guest to being the host. Cheto has taken over the office, but he won’t do in the morning shift. The dispatcher claims to be allergic to cats, so Cheto roams the area until 3 pm, and when Luis his best buddy arrives to work he’s a happy feline again. Luis gives him free reign, he’s the only guy in the office that Cheto would go anywhere with, and the only one he listens to.
What a cat! Viva Cheto!
Editor’s note: This charming story showed up on my desk just minutes after reading a story about a box of day old kittens discarded in the street. It goes to show you that while the situation is never perfect, there are many people in this world who value the preciousness of life. And it gives lovely insight into the often overlooked lives of some of the first people we ever meet when arriving in Puerto Vallarta. Aside from some small grammatical changes and spelling, I have left this story as it came to me.

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