(You can find Part 1 HERE.)
After Jack died, for weeks we expected to find him curled up on the living room couch or looking out the glass patio doors at the birds. But we didn’t and something was missing.
So within a few months we began the search for our next pet. We had a wish list: Ben had a fondness for orange tabbies and I didn’t want a kitten. They’re adorable but I didn’t want to manage nocturnal sprints and other kitten adventures. We knew no cat could replace Jack. This new one would have to make his or her own place in our hearts.
One Saturday on the spur of the moment we went to a pet fair at a local park. We made the rounds of animal shelter booths with mostly dogs and only a few cats for adoption. We were about to leave when we came to a table with two cages. One held a sweet kitten named Timmy with black and white tuxedo markings. I poked my finger in his cage and he swiped playfully at it. It was a game but he was in it to win. Next to him was an orange tabby named Carrie. I slid my finger between the bars of her cage and she gently curled the tip of her paw around it and looked at me with beautiful green eyes.
The fair was ending and I agonized over which one would come home with us.
“I thought you didn’t want a kitten,” said Ben, gesturing toward the tuxedo.
“But he’s sooo cute,” I answered.
The shelter volunteer took out the tabby and cuddled her. The cat soaked in the affection, completely oblivious to all the activity around her. The pendulum swung slightly in the tabby’s favour. But I found it hard to commit and looked for excuses to delay a decision.
“I think we’d like to take her. But we didn’t bring a carrying cage though, so …”
“No problem! Take this one and bring it to the shelter tomorrow,” the volunteer replied cheerfully.
“But it’s almost five o’clock. All the pet stores will be closed and we don’t have food for her.”
Quickly she reached under the table and pulled out a bag of cat food. “All adoptees leave with a bag of the food they’re used to. That way, you can switch her over slowly to whatever you want to feed her.”
And just like that I was in the driver’s seat of the car with Ben next to me, the carrying cage on his lap. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I heard a low, whir coming from the passenger seat. “Is she PURRING?” I asked. She was. And that’s when I knew we had been played. We didn’t choose this cat, she chose us.
She divides her affections equally between Ben and me. Or should I say, she divides her demands equally. From Ben, she expects cat treats, a game of catching shadow puppets on the wall and a good belly rub. From me, she expects a lap that is always welcoming, a place at my feet in bed and whatever else her little heart desires. She’s a charmer, though, and she has definitely carved out her rightful place in our home and hearts.