Guest Post by Ruth Dewey
Yes, we were missing our Tabby. Although we have other cats, he was special. That gaping hole would have to be filled. As I drove past the animal shelter, I argued with myself. Bob really doesn't want another cat, we are too old, it is too soon. A dozen reasons screamed against it but, as usual, I didn't pay any attention to them. Before I could stop myself, I had walked into the shelter and blurted out, "We lost our Tabby. Do you have another one?' Asking such a question in animal shelter is tantamount to walking into a bar on New Year's Eve and asking if anyone wants a designated driver.
"Can you take two?" they inquired as they cornered me into the exercise room. I walked in rather cautiously as one never knows what one is going to encounter in an animal shelter. I had no sooner entered the point of no return when four paws landed on my shoulders. I looked up warily to see what had captured me only to behold the most incredibly marked black and silver bulls-eye tabby cat. He had
obviously chosen me. There would be no missing with this one. He was a hit!
"How much," I asked.
"Seventy-five dollars," they chimed with no hint of bargaining. He was worth every cent as he was not only neutered but had had his first rabies shot as well.
It took me several days but I scraped up the money and returned. He was slipped into the carrier, the same carrier in which we had taken Tabby to his repose. My next challenge was how to keep him hidden from Bob until Christmas. Felix, which means "happy" or "lucky" in Latin yowled all the way home. Bob was not at home when I arrived back at the farm so it was easy to smuggle him into the house. I whisked him into the shower, placed a blanket, a food bowl, some water and a litter pan in there. Felix entered his new digs and settled in quietly. Well, maybe this was going to work after all. Bob came in and settled in his easy chair I steeled myself for a yowl. I was losing my nerve.
"How would you like an early Christmas gift?" I offered nervously.
"Okay," he agreed.
"Close your eyes," I commanded. He did so and I went into the bathroom to scoop up Felix. I put my finger to my lips and carried him to the great room where Bob sat, his eyes closed expectantly as I gingerly placed the kitten on his lap and told him to open his eyes. I don't know who was more surprised -- Bob or Felix. They stared at one another intently.
"Well, hello there," Bob crooned softly. Felix responded by rubbing up against him thereby forming another animal-human bond.
Judging by the number of cats in the shelter, Felix most likely was a rescue from Hurricane Sandy. Life is strange. One moment you are stranded on a beach in New York or New Jersey and the next you are in another state safe and sound, fed and warm and sheltered from the storm. Not only did Bob get the gift of another cat; Felix got the gift of a new home; the shelter got the gift of some money to feed the other cats and a spot to save another life and I got the gift of this story -- my gift to you.
Ruth D. Dewey is a former English teacher turned gentleman farmer's wife. Her first book is SPRINGBORN, (Dorrance Publishing Co. 2009) a poetic chronicle of a calico kitten's life employing the Old English kenning. She is also a contributor to ANGELS magazine. Her current work-in-progress concerns her recent experience with Dorrance Publishing Company.