The timing wasn’t right.
I wasn’t right, especially after the horrendous year of pain and loss my family and I experienced in 2016. One of those losses was that of my beloved Basil – a cat in a million. Of all the cats I have shared my home with, he was different. We were bonded, joined at the hip, soul mates of different species. However, this is not Basil’s story. It would need a book to contain that one. Suffice to say, the last two years involved a daily battle with his advanced kidney disease – a fight we eventually lost near the end of the year. It was the final blow. No matter what kind of crazy life sent my way over the past years, I had Basil to help me through it. Now he was gone.
Several months ago, a very elderly feline came to live at Coxwell Animal Clinic. Through no fault of her own, she abruptly lost her forever home and her life was turned upside down. Terrified at first, she spent a great deal of time hiding under the banks of cages in the treatment room. My heart went out to her, as it does to all cats who have lost their home, but my plate was full.
Basil passed away in November, and all you crazy cat people who are reading this know exactly where this story is going. Victoria came home with me in December, just before Christmas. What else could I do? The carrier proved an impossibility, so I carried her in the car on the ride home. She was terrified. I was very concerned because she had started to get used to the clinic and here I was, ripping her life apart again. I needn’t have worried. Once home, she never hid. She was front and centre, exploring. A friend dropped by that night and our new family member went right up to her as if to introduce herself. Needless to say, my friend was totally charmed.
On her second day with us, Victoria helped to put up the Christmas tree and was actively involved in its decoration. She loves to sleep under it. She had an amazing Christmas with toys, catnip, brushes and blankets galore.
As I write this, she has been with us just over one week. I have noticed her, in that time, become less hesitant in her movements and more relaxed. She has fit into our family smoothly and easily, enriching our lives at the same time. The house would be very empty without her.
This is the 6th time I have taken in an elderly cat, abandoned, for whatever reason by those who once cared for them. How can this be? Old cats are peaceful, calm and stoic. They are grateful for every day. Does Victoria wonder what happened to her old home? Does she wonder if she did something wrong? It’s hard not to anthropomorphize when you look into those eyes. These cats really do carry the scars, both physical and emotional, of being discarded in the golden years of their lives when they really do ask for so little. And yet, they continue to trust. Sometimes it just takes longer.
I know that, because of her advanced age, I am getting into a relationship that may be a lot shorter that I’d wish for. But she (and others like her) deserves love and comfort in the time she has left. I know there will be health issues. What senior doesn’t deal with that on a daily basis? Seniors are not wimps.
As I write this, she is asleep beside me. As I rest my hand on her, I am trying to convey to her that she is safe and has no need to fear. We never know what the future brings but I am prepared to stand by her, no matter what. In turn, through her contented purring, she is letting me know that the healing has begun. For her, and for me.
I guess the timing was right after all.
Written by Liz McGill, Client Care Representative