I get one or two calls each week from strangers asking me for help. Sometimes they’re moving (in a few days) and others want to get rid of a pet they’ve had for eight years; others ask me to go pick up a stray puppy or feral cat they saw in a parking lot a few days earlier. Imagine my surprise when the voice asking for help was my 92 year old mom, Grace.
Mom explained that she found a starving tabby cat on her front porch. Apparently somewhere in the yard there’s an invisible sign written in cat that reads, “Soft touch.” Grace fed the boney little thing and assumed the cat would move on down the road. But as we all know, those hungry orphans never leave once they have access to a lunch card. Not surprisingly, a few days later, the hungry kitty returned. From then on, the little panhandler continued to show up at least once a day for a fine dining experience.
With cars racing up and down her busy street, Grace knew the cat wouldn’t survive long. So Grace did what everyone else does, and called the Cat Lady. (I fear my phone number is scribbled on bathroom walls across the country. “Unexpected cat? Call Dusty.”
Grace was determined not to let this kitty become a red spot in the middle of the road; but my mom expressed concern about bringing the stray into the house. Grace already had a cat, a quiet, undemonstrative longhaired silver tabby named, “Mama Kitty.” I warned her not to expose her own cat, Mama Kitty (also called MK) to the newcomer until the stray had been tested for diseases and received her first set of shots.
The little new gray cat was a “nice” kitty, Mom assured me.
I have to admit, I’ve heard a lot of people say they wanted me to take their “nice” cats, only to meet a creature only slightly more domesticated than Godzilla. I fully expected Grace’s kitty to have all the charm of a Tasmanian devil. To my surprise, I found was a gentle, affectionate cat who had obviously been someone’s pet and had no idea of how to fend for herself. Since no one in the neighborhood owned her, the cat was likely dumped.
At the animal clinic the receptionist asked the cat’s name. Grace thought about it for a moment and quickly answered, “Lucky.” And she was. Lucky was disease-free, but full of parasites. Lucky received vaccinations and was wormed and spayed.
Grace introduced Lucky to her resident cat, Mama Kitty (MK) slowly as her “cat expert” daughter instructed. The two cats quickly carved out their respective territories: Lucky slept with Grace and MK sat with Mom while she chatted on the phone and read the Bible.
Today Lucky is safe and happy, and Grace has been blessed with an affectionate around-the-clock companionship. Little MK now awaits Grace and Lucky at the Rainbow Bridge, but Grace still has her Lucky charm.
At least once a week Grace calls to thank me for encouraging her to rescue Lucky, and for providing counsel that made a peaceful transition possible.
I wish others with better resources than my 92-year-old mother (who’s living on a fixed income) would step up to the plate and help that dog abandoned in the shopping center parking lot, or the hungry cat peering in the window. What a wonderful world this would be!