In the Fall of 2010, a strange black cat showed up in my neighborhood. I tried for days to find the cat’s owner, but to no avail.
She was so thin! I had sworn not to have a cat again — I’d had to put two to sleep in just two years. I didn’t think I could handle another heartbreak. My parents had suggested I not have one. But I couldn’t stand this one looking so hungry and helpless, and she was there every day.
Finally, I started to take care of her myself. I fed her cans of tuna for the first couple of days. I lived on the first floor of a three-story walk-up home made into apartments and had a windowsill inside and outside. I went to the grocery store and bought cat food and brought it home. I didn’t know what to call this cat so I started to call her Sweetie. What else do you call a stray cat?
I tried to bring her inside, but that didn’t work very well at all.
I fed her on my windowsill at breakfast, lunch, supper, bedtime, and again if I was awake in the middle of the night — one-quarter cup of food and clean water each time. My neighbors learned that I was taking care of her. But when I tried to leave my apartment to do chores and get groceries, she’d follow me. I had to get a neighbor once to chase her back off the street so she wasn’t hit by a car. Another time, I didn’t know she was following me until I turned around and a car was coming at her — I screamed for her to go back and she froze — but the car didn’t hit her, thank heaven.
As the cold weather came, I wore my coat out and I blocked the windowsill with my coat open so she could eat in warmth. I also let her into the building for as long as she wanted to in order for her to warm up. She let me know when she was ready to go.
Just before that Christmas, on one of her inside warm-ups, she went to my apartment door and looked back and forth between the door and me a few times. I finally opened the door, never thinking she’d stay. Ten minutes passed and I went looking for her. There she was on my bed quite comfy.
I was thrilled! She adopted me just a couple of days before Christmas. And the best part is that she is black, just like all my previous cats had been. However, I had no litter box or litter so I called the Humane Society. I put newspaper down and showed it to her in case mother nature called. Only then did she go to the bathroom. I was stunned that she was so well behaved. We had a good Christmas.
Then I got another surprise. She had started to develop a round “tumor” I thought. On the very day I was to take her to the vet, Feb. 8, 2011, she gave birth to five kittens — four boys and one girl.
That was eight days before my birthday — so this was my birthday gift. I cannot have children, so she blessed me with an unforgettable gift. I helped her to raise them and named them all. I barely left my bedroom because the crib was there and I wanted to see everything the kittens did.
When it was time for the kittens and Sweetie to be quarantined, the OSPCA came to pick them up, and the person who visited said he’d never seen healthier looking kittens.
I missed them terribly for the month but went back when able to so I could visit them. And for what I had done with Sweetie and her kittens, the Humane Society charged me only $125 to spay, vaccinate, microchip, and give her a rabies shot, which was great for me on a disability income.
Sweetie came home with me one month and all five kittens had been adopted out by the time I went to see them in June, the following month.
Sweetie has been a blessing to me, and as a Christian, I believe she was God’s gift to me. She is very healthy, eating IAMS Hairball and Weight Control, and she drinks lots of water. She loves to play and is my shadow everywhere I go, even so far as waiting for me in the bathroom while I’m showering or cleaning teeth and more.
Black cats get a bad rap because of the superstition they bring bad luck. All they have brought me is love, joy, laughter and the best friends I could ever ask for, and Sweetie is my fourth black cat. I’m thankful for the black cats out there, for they all are full of love and affection. Mostly I am thankful that Sweetie walked into my life.
She is good for me because I’ve learned to “listen” to my cats’ intuition. If they don’t trust somebody or walk away from somebody, I’ve learned not to trust that person. If she goes to somebody and marks their belongings and hops up on them, I trust the person. And I call her my baby, to my parents’ dismay. They say they are no grandparent to an animal. So I told them that they would be known as GrandMeow and GrandPurr, which was still not to their liking, but I use those names when they visit.
All cats are blessings. All mine have been indoors. It is far too dangerous out there, not only because of cars, but more generally, because of people and how cruel they can be. Cats will always be my babies and bless my home, because for me, my apartment is not a home without a cat.
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