It was ‘kitten season’ at the Surrey SPCA when we decided to get a cat for my preschool Son. The cages were filled with every type of kitten you can imagine, including the white, fluffy ones that I had in mind. However, the final choice was left up to the four year old only child who would call this cat his sibling.
He walked around slowly (no running, speak softly, don’t put your face close to the cage because scared kitties might scratch you…). Each trip around the cages took him by one in the middle that housed a lone, half grown kitten. I suspect she was on death row, being too old, skittish and plain to have much hope for adoption amongst the tiny fur-balls. She was taking up a whole cage by herself because she didn’t like other cats… or people for that matter, and that space was desperately needed.
Although it was out of character for this half-tamed alley cat, every time my Son walked by she’d reach her paws through the cage as far as they would go, meowing pitifully. With the big heart that he carries to this day, he would go to her and talk for a minute before moving on, only to have her do the same thing when he walked by again.
Yup, we went home with that skittish, muted grey tabby.
We let her out of her travel box at home, where she promptly hid under my Son’s bed and refused to come out… except for him when nobody else came too close. She was absolutely terrified of strangers, hated to be held, and the slightest noise or sudden movement sent her running. Yet she followed that boy around, slept on his bed, let him pat her, and patiently hung over his arms when he picked her up (the rest of us would get a sound scratching if we tried it).
And so it has been for many years, a boy and his cat.
That boy has grown into a fine young man with her by his side. She comforted him, kept him company, and glared at Mama with flattened ears when he was lectured. When he was out past his bed time, she roamed the house crying and waited by the door. He is every bit as loyal and protective as she is, as it should be in true love and friendships.
On Friday that young man dressed up in his tux for prom and it seemed only natural that she should have her picture taken with him too, as you can see. I’ve included a picture of them when they were both younger as well.
There are a few points that I’d like you to take away from this love story:
- Kids and cats can sense a kind soul.
- Animals should no more be chosen for their appearance than humans should.
- There’s no such thing as an ‘unadoptable’ cat.
- Cats can live for a long time, please make sure you can commit to them for the duration.
While I rarely write personal posts, I was compelled to write this one and I hope you enjoyed it. I’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the graduating class of 2012, and ask them to help change the world for animals.