July, 2013. A rather scrawny calico kitten appeared at my son's house. Feral cats being rare in their neighborhood, the kitten must belong to a neighbor so they ignored it, waiting for it to go on home. The kitten persisted in hanging around. Coming toward them when they left their cars for the house. Lying down placidly in front of them. It looked hungry and thirsty so they put out some food and water. After a few days it seemed clear the kitten had no place to go or no idea how to get there.
They already had a cat. A unique cat who didn't like anyone except for my son who adopted her when she was tiny. She didn't care for my daughter-in-law and seemed to view her as competition for my son's attention. Not an ideal situation in which to introduce another cat. But what else was there to do?
They brought the cat in and took it to the veterinarian hoping to find an identification chip. No such luck. So they had the cat examined, given her shots and took her home. Finally realizing no one was going to come to claim the cat, they decided to name her. They chose the name Sybil, the name of their favorite Downton Abbey character.
Cute little kitten no one seemed to want.
This photograph was before they took her in.
They slowly introduced Sybil to our son's other cat, Biko. Biko was totally uninterested in Sybil. Totally disdainful of the newcomer. Not worth bothering about. Well, except to eat that delicious kitty food. And occasionally chase her away if she came too near. But she did not attack the new kitty.
So the two cats led a relatively peaceful life. Sybil was playful and totally believed she could turn Biko around. That was never going to happen. Biko was an old cat when Sybil came into the home. And she was the very definition of curmudgeon even when younger. She did not mellow with age. When Biko died, Sybil was rather at a loss in spite of being dismissed by Biko for so long. By that time, she had grown into a healthy beautiful cat. No longer scrawny and dirty, but sleek and clean.
Last week my son sent me a photograph of Sybil sitting among the nutcrackers as if she were pretending to hide among them.
Sybil among the nutcrackers
But lucky as she is, Sybil is not the most lucky cat around. Not even in her own home. The luckiest cat is a little impaired kitten my son and his wife adopted from the shelter. The little kitten had several strikes against her. She was tiny. She was black. But most of all, she had a neurological impairment that left her with poor motor function, tremors and a rambling gait. She was almost certain to be euthanized. So that's the little kitten my dear son and dear daughter-in-law selected.
The veterinarian explained that she had cerebellar dysfunction but that because she was so young, she might actually get better as she grew. So Sybil had a companion. They named her Rumble. Now the little kitten has grown into a beautiful cat. Her muscle tone has improved but she still has some tremor, more marked when she is excited. And she still cannot jump and still has a somewhat rambling gait. But she has learned to make accommodations for her disabilities and is a happy and energetic cat.
You mean he didn't leave the shoe here for me to chew the laces?
Both of these kitten had a rough start in life. But now both are very lucky to be loved and cared for in comfort.
Kudos to my son and daughter-in-law. And to all of you out there who choose to adopt shelter animals. You are special indeed.