Saturday, March 21, 2015


Last Thanksgiving, a four-month-old black-and-white kitten entered our lives. 

He was a rescue. Quite literally!! His mother - as near as we can tell - had been a feral cat and had abandoned him in the situation in which he found himself; she was unable to extricate him. And little wonder: trapped in a snowmobile engine at the age of about 6 or 7 weeks, a woman found him when she went to check on her vehicles. She heard his cries and tried for over a day - nearly a day and a half - to get him out of the engine. He was trapped, stuck inside the fan belt quite likely, and all her efforts to reach in and pull him out were fruitless. Covered in grease, stuck solid, and terrified, every effort she made only traumatized him even more. Finally she called the PEI Humane Society who sent an animal control worker to the scene. She was able to get him free in very short order, and took him back to the shelter to have him cared for, fed, cleaned up and (hopefully) put up for adoption.

It was not to be. The kitten bounced back from his injuries and ate well enough, but he was terrified of anyone bending down over him to touch him, pet him, or (God forbid) pick him up - to the point of hissing and growling at people. This did not bode well for him, so at that point they decided to have him fostered at the home of the animal control worker who'd found him.

He got along well with her animals (a dog and two cats, including one of the kittens she was fostering from the shelter) but he remained skittish and wild around people. In time, he and his foster brother were brought back to the shelter; the brother was adopted within a few days but ... nobody wanted this little guy. He'd hang back in his cage, avoid eye contact, shy away - definitely not your typical sociable kitten. The shelter workers worked with him for weeks trying to get him to accept being handled. He stopped growling and hissing but he was extremely skittish and shy still. 

By the time he was 3 months old, my daughter had noticed his online profile. She took an interest in his case - and even went to see him a couple of times. There was an instant connection. He didn't warm up to her but she felt a sort of kinship from the very first moment she touched the glassed in portion of his cage and he touched the other side with his paw.

From that moment on, she kept trying to convince herself that she couldn't have fallen in "love at first sight" ... but the more she tried, the less it worked. By the end of the second visit, the Saturday of the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend, she had herself convinced that he would be adopted by someone else, and she was grateful for the few photos she'd taken of him. He was barely four months old.

That night, I had a chat with my husband privately about this kitten. I outlined how our daughter felt, mentioned that we had been willing to have three cats in the house if our older female cat had returned (she didn't), so he agreed that it was a good idea to get this cat. I went on the website and applied to adopt him, using our daughter's name and email address. 

The next morning, we were all sitting in the living room. Our daughter had already checked the shelter's website and seen that the kitten's profile had disappeared from it, and she was grieving not being able to see him again, when she received an email from a worker at the shelter who was extremely thrilled that this kitten would go to "such an excellent home!" (We'd gotten two previous kittens from them in the past year so they knew us.) The worker wanted us to go in the next day and bring the little guy home. Our daughter was totally floored. She never expected anything like this. The expression on her face was similar to someone being told that someone had bought a ticket in her name in a lottery, and her number had been the winning one. Disbelief, happiness, gratitude, relief and more flooded her face. 

When the little guy first came to us, he was incredibly skittish. It took a shelter worker five full minutes to get him into the crate we'd brought! We put him (cage and all) into our daughter's room and allowed her to be the one to let him out ... behind closed doors of course. 

She let him come to her on his own terms. It took nearly a week for him to allow her to touch him. She worked really hard those first couple of weeks to convey to him that this was a "safe place" ... and we were amazed at how quickly he responded.  It wasn't the food, or the coaxing, or anything else that brought him out of his shell. 

The rescued one - at 7 months old.
It was the love. He learned early on in the relationship that she LOVED him. And there was a large part of him, deep down, that responded to that love - a shriveled bud that began to blossom into a beautiful flower. 

In his kitty heart, she had rescued him out of what his life had been, and taken him to a place where he felt secure, safe, protected, and cared for. And above all, he felt loved.

And he loved her right back. He still does. Yes, he will allow us to touch and pet him sometimes, and he enjoys being around us - but it's different with her

Every morning, after he has had his breakfast (I feed the cats in separate rooms so we know who's getting how much) I let him out of his room and the very first thing he does is head for our daughter's room. Not sauntering - no - he rushes to her room, squeaking a little meow as he runs. If she's in her bed and is awake, he jumps up beside her and rubs up against her face with complete abandon. The sound of her voice speaking to him thrills him and he begins to pad excitedly ... prancing in delight. She strokes him and his tail lifts up and the tip curls back and forth in extreme happiness. He stays with her until she gets up. Throughout the day he can be doing something else ... and as soon as she gets up and moves around, he is right there. At her side. He wants to be wherever she is.

It never gets old. 

Why would it? She rescued him. She loves him. How could he ever take such love for granted? How could he ever forget how she saved him? how much she has changed his life?

He reminds me that it isn't what we "do" for Jesus that matters; it's what He did for us. It's HIS love that made life, living possible. It's HIS love that compelled Him to make a way for us. It's HIS generosity and goodness that has changed us, transformed us, made us new. 

I watch this cat and I see love and gratitude reflected back toward the one who saved him, the one who loves him. 

And it helps me to remember what's really important.

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