Looking in my date book this morning I noted that this is a very important day.
One shouldn’t need to be reminded of these events, but with 11 cats, half of which came to me as a temporary arrangement, before going to new homes…it gets a bit out of hand.
Lily would have been adopted, I am certain, had I not fallen in love with her. So I am not sure whether today is the day she came as a foster, or the day I brought her upstairs to join my family.
The days were fairly close together, in any case.
The lady that brought Lily to me was heartbroken at having to give her up. A relative living in a nursing home had been happily feeding this stray little waif but the rules said NO, the cat must go.
The rules can be so unkind, but nursing homes are governed by state law. I once come up against them myself, so I was particularly sympathetic.
Lily was barely a year old and she was a cat no one could have taken offense to.
She was playful and funny and sweet. Exactly what the nursing home resident needed, in fact.
It made Lily all the more special to me. I promised to do everything I could to care for this cat that was so beloved by other people. The easiest of promises.
Lily has always been referred to as “tortie” or tortoiseshell, but I consider her to be a tabby-mix, maybe part calico.
My Annie was a tortie. Different altogether,
Annie was adopted from a shelter. She was to be a companion for young Panther who needed a playmate.
Yeti was elderly and not up to coping with the boisterous boy I had taken in. I thought long and hard about it, but one day driving by the shelter, my wheels turned in. I would just look.
Annie was not in fact the cat my eyes had gone to. But she is the one that was brought to sit in my lap. And she was clearly needy. So it was meant.
Unfortunately, Annie did not like other cats. I considered returning her, but I could give her the care she needed. Taking her back to the shelter was no guarantee of anything at all and I would not have been able to live with that.
Compromises were made. We worked it out, but sadly Annie was not with me very long.
It was actually Annie’s passing that opened up a place for Lily. Not that I was concerned with the headcount, exactly. I just could not have subjected Annie to accepting yet another…(oh yes)
Annie had been downright hostile to Panther, so he had still needed a playmate and “fate” provided one in the form of a homeless, tail-less kitten, Cisco.
Panther was smitten with Grisabel, but he and Cisco were best buddies.
Looking back, I ask myself, “Were you mad?”
That was a very difficult time for me, the more so because Yeti was old and ailing and I didn’t know how I would cope with her loss.
Annie never suffered in my care but she should have been an only cat. The moment she was placed in my lap she had begun to purr, drooling copiously all over me.
It will seem ridiculous, but it was as if she thought I was her person that had come to take her back.
The other cats, Panther, Cisco and Grisabel played together and didn’t bother Annie. Yeti was the ancient matriarch. I gave Annie as much love as I could and I was very sad when she died not long after Yeti.
After losing Yeti, I was a mess. There is nothing that hurts me worse than losing a pet. If it makes me deficient in some way, so be it. We are what we are.
Some months later, my very caring colleagues gave me a tiny Himalayan kitten that I named Thimphu, after the capital of Bhutan. He deserved a special name.
Thimphu was beloved by everyone, even my old father who didn’t like animals. But Tim was with me only 8 such short years.
When I took this picture of him with Lily, I had no idea that the very next day he would be gone.
It was very hard to take.
Lily is the cat that is my last link to all those others, so she is important to me in that way, but I love her just because she is Lily.
Like all the others, she has a special place in my heart.
Someone told me once I had a heart like a cupboard.
Maybe he was right after all.