“She’s not ready yet,” the shelter worker said in response to my question.

Feeling deeply disappointed that, having arrived at a choice, the adoptee I intended to take home was not going to be joining our family, I turned from the big tabby to the staffer.

“Why not?  I asked.

“She’s still too shy,” was the answer.

I turned back to the bank of cages, wondering dejectedly why my intended and her sister, both large, adult tiger tabby shorthairs, had come to find themselves at the mercy of the public.  They’d come this far, and from the looks of their sleek coats and prosperous size, it seemed someone, somewhere, had cared about them.  Now, abandoned, they faced an uncertain future; and even in the wealthy city my family and I had lived in for the past year, adoptions were down and surrenders on the increase.

Indeed, in the midst of the foreclosure crisis and the worst financial climate since the Great Depression, cats were being abandoned at alarming and unprecedented rates.  There was an almost limitless flood of kittens in the warm southern California climate, the product of diehard denial and the refusal by a small but significant percentage of the population to heed the lifesaving spay/neuter message.  Adult cats stood little chance against their younger, smaller, livelier and “cuter” competition, which was why I wanted an adult.

We’d lost our eldest cat in May after sixteen wonderful years together, and now, I was doing what I always do after experiencing a loss – picking myself up, brushing myself off, and seeking to pay the best tribute possible to our beloved Alex, whom I’d rescued from the mean streets of our former neighbourhood.  Alex, I knew, would want the love we’d shared with him to live on via the inclusion of another homeless waif into our hearts and home.

“Who’s least likely to be adopted?” I caught the eye of the staffer.

“The big ones,” he answered matter-of-factly, leading the way to a bank of cages on our right.

“This one’s really affectionate,” he indicated a sizable dark shape languishing in the farthest corner of a lower cage.  I turned to look.

“Hey, girl!  Do you want to come home with me?” I addressed the shape uncertainly.  No answer, and no discernable interest from the big, dark female identified on her intake card as “Cookie”.

“That one came in with those two you just looked at,” the staffer said helpfully.

“What’s their story?”  I asked, incredulous.  Who on earth would suddenly give up not one, not two, but three large, healthy adult female cats, and why?

“Dunno,” came the reply.  “A lady called ‘em in as strays.  That’s all we have on ‘em.”

“STRAYS?”  Yeah! I thought to myself.  And elephants roost in trees!  More likely that their caring person had become ill, or possibly had to be hospitalized, or even passed away suddenly.  You don’t find three such well-cared-for cats wandering around the streets of any city, let alone mine.

As a lifelong cat lover/rescuer and a long-time advocate, I knew all this as surely as I knew how hard it would be for me to enter the shelter and then choose just ONE from among the number of cats, all of whom I instinctively loved and ached to liberate from their undeserved incarceration.  How I wished I could rescue each and every one!  Knowing my city’s shelter was “No-Kill” alleviated a bit of my anxiety, and I took a deep breath before making my decision.

“I want her,” I announced.  “She is spayed?”

“Mmm-hmm!  You can go up to the front with this, and they’ll bring her up to you in a couple of minutes,” the shelter worker smiled, handing me “Cookie’s” intake card.

A short time later, my friend and I stepped into my entry hall and I set down the carrier I’d brought, which contained a surprisingly heavy and silent feline.  After collecting and filling food and water dishes, making sure a clean litterbox was installed in a private corner, and opening some new toys and treats, we brought the carrier into the guest room, closed the door, and I opened the top of the carrier.

“Oh!  She’s beautiful!” my friend exclaimed as “Cookie” slowly emerged.

“Yes, she is!” I breathed in excitement.  There before us stood a massive, powerfully built and intensely colored torbie beauty, with dense, almost brushy fur of russet, umber, and sienna; huge, round, expressive green eyes and the blunt, squared muzzle bespoke her Exotic Shorthair lineage.  She planted herself resolutely on her chunky legs, her bottle-brush tail erect and proud.

“MEW!” she declared loudly.

We dissolved into delighted laughter.

“I love you, too, beauty girl!” I told her, kneeling down to envelop her in a welcoming hug.

“Welcome to your new, forever home, girl,” I promised her, beaming.  “We’re going to get along just fine, and you’re going to have a big, loving, wonderful family from now on.  Now, let’s give you a name that FITS you!”


Jamaka lives in California with her 9 cats - all rescues - and writes occasionally to supplement her income and to better her cats' lives.

These are websites that Jamaka promotes in order to help cats; click on them and see how you can help too!

SPAY/NEUTER AND ADOPT CATS.  http://www.bestfriends.org

SAVE CATS IN FORECLOSURE: http://www.nopawsleftbehind.org

http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com  CLICK EVERY DAY TO HELP FEED CATS!

http://www.freekibblekat.com A CLICK A DAY HELPS FEED CATS!

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/icare2.htm FEED A BIG CAT: CLICK ON THE LINK!

www.goodshop.com and click on "HAVEN ACRES CAT SANCTUARY" then shop.


How you behave toward cats here below determines your status in Heaven. - Robert A. Heinlein


A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

Sponsored Advert