It was a story to tug the heart strings. Eighty plus cats rescued from a hoarder home in Southern Illinois. Nearing that fateful day when otherwise healthy cats would be euthanized for want of a home. We had just lost our Sassy after 15 years of love to the wasting of kidney disease. She was a special soul and is missed profoundly. In the midst of this grief, we heard the story of the hoarded cats. It was too soon, but the need for homes compelled us to act.
The cats were removed from poor conditions, relinquished by an owner overwhelmed with the responsibilities of a situation that spiraled out of control. We do not blame or judge that person. We are thankful for the opportunity to raise and love the one destined for us.
I was scared. I had four babies I could barely feed as I was starving myself. First the cage, then a carrier. I did the best I could for my babies, but I could not care for them all. The nice people at my first shelter helped me with them. The dogs barking scared me. Some days the most I could do was cower and shake. I had no idea what would happen to me next. I heard the words, but didn’t understand the meaning.
We really weren’t sure what we wanted other than to provide a home and convinced we would know the right one for us. We held several. Snuggled them, checked their age, gender. Looking for the one who made that special bond.
Tiger Lily was huddled in the back of her cage, passed over by those who wanted a more active or younger or different color. As soon as she came into our arms, she snuggled in, buried her head in the crook of my elbow and purred. Yes, it was a nervous purr, but a purr nonetheless.
The one in the black shirt pulled me out of my cage. She was gentle and held me close. The one in the pink shirt stroked my head and talked softly to me. I liked them instantly but was afraid they would not want me. Maybe I’m not pretty enough. Maybe I’m too old. I tried to purr to let them know I liked them but it came out as a tremble.
They didn’t put me back! They didn’t put me down. They kept me in their arms, first one then the other. After all the paperwork was signed, we went to the car together for a long ride home. They talked to me and told me I was going to be loved forever. I could hardly believe it.
On the way home, we had to discuss a new name. We talked to her about the home she was headed to and what she would find there. As we talked and drove, we settled on a name. Tiger Rooney. She gave us a paws up.
It was a long exhausting ride. I was so scared, I pooped in my carrier. I didn’t mean to but it just happened. In my experience, humans don’t deal very well with that. I knew it would be my first test. Black shirt said it smelled bad. Pink shirt said oh the poor baby. They pulled over. Pink shirt picked up the poop in a napkin and threw it out the window. Black shirt petted my head and told me it was ok and it happens sometimes. That was all. Then they drove on to my new home.
Once home, Abby and Thumper sniffed the carrier to acknowledge the newest member of the household. Unimpressed, they went about their usual activities. For them this means is to curl up in a chair on the porch and take a nap. After a couple of hours snuggling and sitting together, Rooney was settled into a bedroom to become acclimated to her new home.
I’m so tired and it is all so scary but I think I could like this home.