The Cats of Purrs and Promises

Sami

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SAMI, the first child of my heart, crossed the cage at the cat show to come to me. I was delighted that such a funny, loyal, loving, interesting animal had come to share my life. He changed my hatred of cats into loving, brought out my, until then absent, mothering instincts I didn’t know I had, and taught me about loving an animal. He gifted me a snake, and ate my ants, and broke my heart several times. He was a wonderful "first child" and a great big brother to Little Bear.

LITTLE/BIG/MR. BEAR

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BEAR usually, but he went from Little Bear, to Big Bear, and then to Mr. Bear during his time with me. He tried twice to find me before he got it right and went to my next-door neighbor who trotted him to his new home, and me. He adored his Sami, and thought I was pretty OK, too.  How do you hold a moonbeam, especially-an audacious, fearless, curious people-loving feline-in your heart? Very easily. He and Sami turned my known world upside down, bringing shamans, psychics, healers and strange and not-so-nice renters into our lair to make me question everything I thought I knew this world and others. I loved each and everyone one of my cats unconditionally, but Bear wiggled not just into my heart, but into my soul.

Miss Bella

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BELLA, a beige and gray calico, child of a feral, abandoned at a vet’s office, was a puzzling mixture of wild and loving in a six-pound bundle of energy. Like Sami and Bear, she chose me--I only had a small part in the decision. Like a diligent hausfrau, and as a devoted mother would, she cared for her "red thing"...a scrap of red felt, her constant companion, for years. She was a puzzle of contradictions and left the vet, the communicator and me baffled until her secret was finally discovered and the peeing explained. The answer which unlocked the mystery for the vets brought a new understanding in how to medically treat similar cats. She was the left-out child that reflected my own lonely childhood, and I shed many tears on our behalf.

After Purrs And Promises

Tucker

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Tucker, my most physically beautiful cat, was a shy gray Maine Coon with white markings and big green eyes. Rescued from his Alzheimer mom, he was a scaredy-cat, my only-ever declawed one. He spent the first two weeks at our house under the bed until the neighbor helped me hoist it up and pull him out. I told him his job with us was to look out for blind Bella. So clearly, I remember him sidling up to her, and glancing at me every few inches to see if this was what I wanted. I did; alas, Bella did not. Always ravenous, the vets could not diagnose what was wrong, so he was sometimes a bit grumpy. Even after he went over the Rainbow bridge, I  would see him, his big eyes peeping around the corner at me, waiting for my permission - a pat on my lap - to come running across the room and to throw himself on my lap as though it was the only possible place he could imagine being, ever.

Gracie

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GRACIE, my second loud-mouthed Siamese, should have been named Xena, warrior cat. A rescue from a private home, she was smart, busy, bossy--my shadow. I already had Birdie and Tucker but getting her out of her situation depended on my adopting her, so I did. After coming to me, she purred and purred as she walked around the house supervising what I was doing. She had a hearing and vision deficit and had a habit of finding some impossibly secret place, then going sound asleep. Hours later, she would come waltzing out, totally unconcerned that I was in hysterics, my voice hoarse from calling her. Her years of bad food and depression had taken a toll on her health. I had no doubt that I had made the right decision in adopting her - it was obvious that she loved her life with us, except when Tucker tried to catch her tail. Although she looked startling younger at her death than when she came to me, I did not have her long enough, though her death brought me more revelations. I’m sure that she was still around for many months after her trip to the Rainbow Bridge.

Birdie

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BIRDIE, a two-year old reddish brown tabby with one white toe, was in a shelter for the third time when I adopted her on Independence Day. I chose her as a companion for Tucker. Any kind of constraint would send her into a panic as she flopped frantically, like a 10-lb. fighting salmon, when I tried to pick her up. Six years later she let me pick her up for 30 seconds, yet she delighted in giving me nose kisses, grooming my fingers and sleeping in bed pressed against the top of my head, but she was the cat that would not be held. Alas, there was never a treat she didn’t like and sometimes she looked like a fast-moving bowling ball with legs. She had a most placid but very nurturing purrsonality, a teacher to the cats who came into the house, but is still a ghost to most of the humans who enter our abode now.

Noah

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NOAH was my choice to be Birdie’s unwanted companion after Gracie left us. A long slinky black leopard of a cat, his coat was patent leather shiny. Extremely careful of his manners, he sought approval and cuddling about 70% of the time, the other 30% he isolated.  He was addicted to being on my lap, being petted and loved talking nonsense to him, purring back at me or answering with little chirps and bringing me his little felt Jack-o-Lantern toy. Birdie, who accepted him within 24 hours of their first meeting, told him about the screen porch, (which he had been afraid of at his foster home) and he loved to be outside in the 100+ summer heat. He had great manners and was very respectful and understanding that Birdie was #1 cat by reason of her longevity, but he loved her anyway. He especially loved to sit on me in the morning when he felt it was time for me to be fixing his breakfast, gently and quietly staring at me or whisker-kissing me.