When Diego was very sick I thought about what sort of cat I would adopt after he passed on. You see, I cannot imagine myself living without a cat in my life. I knew I preferred a black cat because they are the last ones to be adopted – if they are adopted at all. (When I volunteered at the cat shelter I watched people come in looking for that perfect pet and the black cats were almost always ignored. Sometimes it seemed like they were “invisible”. Just like dogs, cats can get despondent and depressed if not given love and attention.) I also knew I wanted a male because I’ve always had strong ties with male cats. Other than that, I was open to a cat with health problems, an older cat, a blind cat, a cat with three legs…those details never mattered to me. In fact, right before lockdown back in March I had grown very fond of an adult ginger cat named Solar who I nicknamed “Turtle” because he was so shy he wouldn’t come out from underneath his blanket! But I had already fallen in love with Ramses and had welcomed him into my life some months before. (Though I have no doubt that Solar found his fur-ever home.)
We fall in love with who we fall in love with, but if you are looking for the “furry love of your life” please keep your heart open to those who have so much love left to give.
Day in and day out they wait, hoping and praying that today will be the day someone will stop at their cage and greet them but sadly no one ever comes. As the days go by, they begin to retreat, grow tired and depressed, they no longer have the strength to rise and finally lose all hope of ever leaving the cold and dismal cage they are now forced to call home. Who are they? They are the “throw a ways”, the ones deemed unadoptable, the sick, the old, the battered and abused, and they are, more oft than not, our wise and caring beloved seniors. When we finally reach them and extend our hand it’s almost as if they can’t believe we are there for them. I mean how could we be, because after all they have been discarded by the only families they ever loved and left behind to die alone and wondering on a cold shelter floor, sick, in pain and frightened.
We are persistent though, we do not leave and we continue to call their names as little by little we watch, through tear stained eyes, as their tails slowly begin to wag and they begin to rise and come towards us. “Yes” we tell them, “we are here for YOU, and no matter how long it takes, we are not leaving until you are ready to leave with us”. We have looked past the lumps, the dirt, the mats, their tender years and the obvious weaknesses in their little bodies and we see only the love, compassion, forgiveness and kindness in their eyes as we reach out to embrace them. We promise them a better life and we tell them they do not have to do tricks, they do not have to charm us, all they need to do is walk alongside of us as we guide them to their freedom. We see the panic in the eyes of the ones who are not steady and too weak to walk, and we assure them we are not leaving without them as we gently reach down and cradle them in our arms.