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Second Chances

You may recall that back in July, Isaac helped me get a cat out of a tree. I tried to shove the poor, frightened animal into a carrier then, and it escaped. I kept an eye out for the cat after that, and thought I might have seen it a couple of times, but it was always far too wary.

A week ago, the kids that live next door told me there was a cat, hiding under one of the cars in our parking lot. It was the same cat. It was wary, frightened, skittish, but it also wasn't running away like it had been. I went inside and grabbed a bowl of cat food. Despite the fear, despite the little kids that were trying desperately to help and in reality only getting in the way and scaring the poor thing more, it came out from under the car and started eating. And eating. One of the kids went and got it a bowl of water, and it sucked half the water down.

The cat was the same one Isaac helped me get out of the tree. It was also rail thin, with big awkward feet that would have been white if its fur weren't so filthy. After it sucked down one bowl of food, the cat let me pet it, and even managed a rusty, uncertain purr and a sad, squeaky little meow.

Mike wasn't that happy when I dragged him outside to see the cat. He's always been more pragmatic than me. I was all for dragging the little cat into our house right that instant. He pointed out that it might have FIV, or feline leukemia, or fleas, or who knows what else. But he also knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep, just leaving the little one outside. My next door neighbor was in the same situation; she has two other cats as well, and he husband wouldn't have been happy to suddenly acquire a third.

So Mike and I made a deal; we'd take the cat to the emergency vet, have it checked out, and then we could keep it overnight in the spare room so I could take it to the shelter the next day.

The cat turned out to be a she, was 6-8 months old, and got a clean bill of health other than being incredibly thin - just six pounds. We sat in the chilly exam room while the vet took the cat to the back room to the quick tests for FIV and leukemia, and I sent a text message to Evan, one of my fellow grad students. He'd mentioned that he wanted a cat. I told him that I'd found one, and the first thing he asked was, "Aw, is she cute?"

For the last week, she's been living in my spare room. I've spent time with her every morning, and when I come home, and before I go to bed. She has a purr twice as big as her body, and a meow like a rusty gate. I've been just calling her Squeaker. She's sweet and loving, but also skittish; it's not hard to imagine how hard her life must have been up until now. She loves to be petted, to lean against my leg and purr. She doesn't know quite how to play right with humans, and gets a little bitey. I'm glad that Evan decided to take her. After just a day, I don't think I could have taken her to a shelter. But I can let her go to a good home.

Evan's going to make a good dad for a skinny little cat that needs a lot of love. He decided to name her Shiraz (hopefully I spelled that right). When he loaded her into his car a couple of hours ago, she was wailing and carrying on. It's hard, not being able to explain to someone that their life is about to get better, so much better.

So tonight the cat we dragged out of a tree four months ago went to her forever home. And I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm already missing her, but the two brats are already much happier without another cat lurking behind a closed door. I'd also be lying if I didn't admit I was crying, just a little, right now. But I think I'll get to see her again soon, in her new home.

I don't think that second chances in life are all that uncommon. They happen all the time, little opportunities to correct mistakes or backtrack on bad decisions. But I also think that the second chance to save a life, even a small, humble life, doesn't come around all that often.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
"Aw, is she cute?"

Is she cute?? Look at her cute ickle rolling!

I'm so glad to hear that you were able to get her corraled, and that she is healthy, and that you found a home for her so fast. Some stories really need happy endings.

I hope Evan can get her biting habit under control quickly. My youngest came with a vicious bite that took months to train out of him. (I did it by making my hand 'play dead' whenever it went in his mouth, and after a while, that took all the fun out of it. He also never broke my skin, or we would have had to break out the spray bottles.)
Nov. 6th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
Reminds me of my cat.:)
Nov. 6th, 2010 07:44 am (UTC)
She is too cute. And you are amazing. Be proud, cause that was fifty mine shades of awesome right there.
Nov. 6th, 2010 07:45 am (UTC)
Which wasn't meant as a reply, but since it's retardedly early and my brain isn't quite functioning with the rest of me... it is. *ahem*
Nov. 6th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)

Yay for a happy ending to the story and yay for poor kitten getting a forever home.
Nov. 6th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, she was a very worthy little life to save, and she's such a sweet kitty with such a sweet face!
Nov. 6th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Shiraz is adorable. I think it's a storybook ending! How cool that you were able to find her again and see her to a safe and happy home.

On a side note, how funny is it that the neighborhood kids know you're the one to turn to for feline feats? I aspire to your level. :)
Nov. 7th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Re: Huzzah!
Haha, this is true. If only they found more kitties and shouted "butt cheese!" at each other less...
Nov. 7th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Good save.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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