When did your love of cats begin? What drew you to these wonderful, magical, mystical beings?
For me it started in the summer of my 15th year. My family had moved to a new home and I was quite lonely after having left a community that I had lived in for 4 years, which meant I had to leave my first "best friends" behind.
My brother and I were in our backyard where at it's furthest point was a large wooded area. We kept hearing this noise that sounded like shrill little squeaks or peeps. Upon further investigation we discovered a tiny, tiny calico kitten....not more than a few days old (if that) abandoned under a pile of leaves.
She was precious. Her eyes were little slits and she was fairly helpless, no signs of her Mom or brothers or sisters anywhere, I imagine she could have been the runt of the litter. I gingerly carried her to our house.
My Mother HATED CATS, when I say hated cats she REALLY, REALLY HATED CATS. I was allowed to keep the kitten in the basement in a cardboard box with a hot water bottle. As soon as she heard me stirring in the morning her tiny little voice would hungrily begin to squeak, I was her world, the only "Momma" that she knew and I was so proud of my furry little baby!
In my heart I felt her Momma had abandoned her and I was determined to care for her in such a wonderful, diligent and responsible way that I was certain my own Mother would reward me by not abandoning my hopes of being the kitten's surrogate Momma and allow me to keep her.
The kitten was so tiny I could hold her in one hand while I fed her ever so gently with an eye dropper. I am trying to think now what in the world did we do about litter because I honestly don't remember and no one in my family had ever had a cat.
I barely remember what I fed her (I am assuming milk which couldn't have been a good idea but we did it and the kitten thrived). Caring for the kitten proved to be the perfect remedy for the sadness I had felt when we moved and I was forced to leave my friends. I knew in my heart that this little kitten would indeed fill the void and become my new best friend!!
One day I came home (I doubt the kitten was even a month old) and my mother informed me she had put an ad in the local paper advertising a "free kitten". The people who would take the cat were on their way over.
The pain I felt was unreal, but not nearly as unreal as the pain I felt when I was forced to hand the adorable, tiny, warm milk smelling furball who I had so diligently and lovingly cared for over to her new "parents". I remember my hands shaking as I handed her to them (my mother made me hand the kitten to them because she refused to touch the cat).
|Anthony and Maureen Willott's former kittens|
I abruptly left the basement and ran to my room where I was overcome with grief. I remember sobbing so desperately on my bed. My heart was broken. My plan of caring for the kitten in a most mature and responsible way and sharing many, many years with her was thwarted by my cat loathing mother. I never forgave her for that and from that moment on I became obsessed with all things cats. Cat shirts, cat drawings, cat banks, anything and everything that pertained to cats. I vowed I would have a cat of my own one day. It took over 15 years for me to have one but indeed I did and he was the most special cat that ever lived.... aren't they all?
This post first ran in November 2009...I thought it was worth repeating....Caren