I usually can’t remember anything unless it is written on a sticky note. However, isn’t it amazing how the experiences that most touch our hearts tend to stick with us for our entire lives? I remember one such event, not many years ago, as if it was yesterday.
It was a Wednesday night, and my wife and I had decided to go out for dinner. We seldom did this during the week. But, for whatever reason, when I asked my wife where she wanted to go, she happened to choose a local pizza place we had not been to for a few weeks.
After dinner, we walked to our car and heard what sounded like a kitten mewing.
As we approached the storm drain from which the sound seemed to emanate, we became more certain that it had to be a kitten. So we knelt down and tried to see inside. Of course, due to the depth of the drain, we couldn’t see to the bottom.
Kneeling on the cement in front of a storm drain drew the attention of several people from the restaurant. When they approached, they asked us what we were doing. We told them that it sounded like a kitten was mewing and that we thought it must be stuck. One of the men, who happened to be the size of Paul Bunyan, stepped forward and said, "Well, let’s have a look."
He proceeded to remove the large metal storm drain cover like it was the cardboard lid of a pizza box. As we all looked down into the hole, sure enough, there was a small calico kitten looking up at us. She mewed several times as if to say, "Finally, someone heard me."
The man then descended the steps into the storm drain to retrieve the kitten. After a few moments, the man returned and gently placed the kitten in my wife’s hands, saying, "Here ya go." There was a sense of relief from everyone involved, followed by my thought: "What do we do now?"
My wife and I smiled at each other and decided to take her home with us for the night and then see what the morning brought. On the way home, we stopped at the pet supply store to pick up the necessities including a pet carrier, a tiny litter box, cat litter, food, bowls for food and water and, of course, a few toys. Who knew the necessities for this very tiny kitten would cost nearly $100! But, not knowing exactly what a kitten approximately five and a half weeks old would need, we made our best guess to ensure she had what we thought she’d need to feel comfortable in her new surroundings.
The next morning we checked on the calico kitten and noticed that she had beautiful blue eyes. Because my wife typically has the honor of naming all of the pets we have been the guardians for during our lifetime, she decided the kitten would be named Cali Blu.
Soon afterwards I started singing, "Mew, mew, Cali Blu" when I held her. Recalling the constant mewing we heard that helped us to locate her in the storm drain, I thought the song was appropriate. She had been with us less than a day and she already had her very own song!
Later that afternoon, I contacted the local no-kill animal shelter, who asked us to foster her until a forever home could be found for her. Because of my allergies, I never anticipated being a foster parent for a cat or a kitten. But since my wife isn’t allergic, we thought we could manage. So we officially became her new foster family.
After registering Cali Blu at the shelter, I was asked to take her in for evaluation. The shelter manager thought Cali Blu was fine, but noticed that she was a little dehydrated after her ordeal and recommended that she be taken to the vet for some fluids the next day.
Our focus then turned to locating a permanent home for Cali Blu. This involved posting her picture on the shelter’s web site along with her description, biography, and our contact information. We must have taken fifty pictures of her before we finally had three that were good enough to post.
We soon got several phone calls and e-mail inquiries from prospective families wanting to adopt Cali Blu. They all said that her picture on the web site was so cute that they had to call to see if she was still available for adoption.
Finally we received an adoption application that stood out from all of the others. This gentleman was looking for a cat to call his own, and this was what we felt she needed.
As part of the shelter’s adoption procedures, I visited his home and met his wife and sister-in-law, and their three dogs. After deciding that this would be a good home, I left the rest of the decision up to Cali Blu.
I brought her in, removed her from the pet carrier, handed her to the gentleman, and observed their interaction. He was very gentle with her. She showed her appreciation by licking his face. That was a sure sign to me that she was comfortable with him.
My wife and I arranged to meet this gentleman at the shelter the next weekend to sign the adoption contract. As I put her in his car in the pet carrier he had brought, I told Cali Blu that we loved her and told her to have a good life. Of course, a tear or two was shed by my wife and me once I returned to our car because we knew we would miss her.
After we were given six and a half weeks to care for such a precious little creature, Cali Blu was off to her new life with a gentleman who assured me that she would be well cared for and be his constant companion.
We still think about her often and wonder how she is doing. I am sure I picked the right home for her — or, should I say, Cali Blu showed me that it was the right home for her.
My wife and I are thankful that we were in the right place at the right time to help Cali Blu. Even though we only had her for a short time, she touched our hearts and gave us many lasting memories.
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