Whoever came up with the phrase “never say never” was a genius. There have been so many moments in my life when I’ve had to eat my words because the thing I swore will never do again happened and made me feel like a total idiot.
This time it applied to cats. I had lost my two kitties to poison — given to them by my hope-he’s-being-attacked-by-lions-in-hell neighbor who decided to kill every feline that walked through his garden, stray or not. The fact that the truth came out after weeks of posting flyers and patrolling the area looking for them made it worse. Not knowing what happened was the worst feeling ever. When I finally found out, I was not just sad, I was exhausted and heartbroken.
It was after that ordeal that a decision was made: I needed a break from cats. No more sweet purring. No more meowing in full sentences. No more litter boxes. Of course all of that is easier said than done. Being cat-less for the first time in 20 years was no picnic. I felt like a drug addict going cold turkey. But it was “for my own good,” I kept telling myself.
And so it goes that one night after a fun dinner with friends, I was on my way home when I almost stepped on a weird lump on the sidewalk. The next day was trash pick-up day and there was garbage in, around, and above the trash cans, so I thought it was either a discarded plastic wrap or dog poop … when suddenly, the poop moved!
I leaned closer and found out it was actually a very small, smelly kitten. Out of habit, I picked her up. She was probably around three months old. She didn’t meow or try to escape. I couldn’t just leave her there, so of course I brought her home. The plan was to give her a safe place to spend the night and then the next day take her to the vet. I wasn’t violating my new life code, I was helping an animal in need.
I lost count of how many times I woke up during the night to check on her. She looked so sick. Oh, I was soooo not ready for this. I convinced myself that she was probably going to meet my other cats up in heaven soon.
I took her to the vet the next day and explained the plan. They would check her and call me later with details, so I could make the decision. In the meantime, I walked to the office thinking of cat names.
Four hours later, I received the call. Kitty was actually six months old, but very malnourished, which is why she looked younger. She did have asthma and pneumonia. But, good news, no life threatening illnesses like feline leukemia.
“What do you want to do?” said the vet.
“Wait a minute. So she’s going to be OK?” Before he gave me the answer, I yelled, “Save her please!”
Never say never? Yeah, right.
That afternoon, I picked up Marisol (her new name) and took her home. I’m not even going to tell you how much it cost me to bring her back from trash-can death. Or how many times I had to run with her to the emergency clinic with an asthma attack. It didn’t matter. I had a new cat in the house. A quiet and sweet kitty. My heart was slowly mending.
With her health returned, her real personality made its long-awaited appearance … and it was a very mischievous personality. No amount of bottle spraying or loud noises could shut down her insane desire to destroy everything dear to me. Using double-stick tape became the only way to save my belongings. She finally learned to meow by hanging out with other cats in the building. So now she had a voice to go with her rambunctious energy, but she was also incredibly loving. She knew just the right moment to come and purr on my lap.
So whenever I feel like my patience is taking a dive out of the balcony, I remember that little, smelly lump on the sidewalk. With my heart full of cat love again, I pick up the broken dishes and smile.
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