Saturday, January 15, 2011

A to Z and happy, happy, happy

I have the semi-official title of "Cat Pals Coordinator" for the Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg. About a year ago, I started volunteering anywhere from two to five hours a week to helping with the local shelter kitties who are up for adoption at PetSmart (just across the street from my shop). Basically, besides a few cleaning/errand-type duties, I get to volunteer by playing with and loving on adorable cats and kittens a few times a week. (I'd pay good money to do that, but shhh...don't tell the shelter.)

Steve goes with me, and it's nice time for us to spend together. He loves cats, too, and we come up with names for them, talk about their personalities, and on the drive home, talk about which one we'd adopt if we could (we have decided the four cats we have are enough.)

This is Alexis.


And this is Zeeba.


They had just come over from the shelter an hour before our volunteering shift, and while we were playing with cats, a mustachioed, grey-haired gentleman was looking in at the cats. We have learned to ask people if they have questions, and often, they will come in to look at the cats. He was shopping for cats.

His cat, Panther, of 20 years had to be put to sleep on Christmas eve. You could tell he was heart-broken. "That cat lasted longer than both of my marriages three times over," he said. He talked about how Panther would run to greet him every day, how he had a cat sitter come check on her while he was at work, how he had a special bed for her in the file drawer of his computer desk (he works on computers), and how, toward the end of her life, he hand-fed her, carried her to the litter box, and cleaned her.

Maybe, he said, he'd get two cats. That way, they'd have each other for company. "My home is pretty lonely," he said. He looked first at a black kitten named Polo. Panther was black. But Polo "didn't feel right," he said.

Then he looked at a grey kitten named Bunny. She was very affectionate. Too affectionate, he said. He didn't want a cat who was going to be begging for attention all of the time.

Then he wondered if maybe he wasn't honoring Panther's memory by getting another cat so soon. I said: "Panther would want you to be happy."

Steve, in the meantime, had opened a cage with Alexis and Zeeba, two striped cats (one orange, one grey), two very skinny strays. Zeeba jumped down and ran straight for the man. "Oh," he said. "Look, she's running for me." Alexis sauntered her way over, climbed up on the man's round belly, and meowed and growled until he was positioned just right. Then she curled up and shut her eyes. Zeeba, seeing her sister comfortable, jumped up, walked across the man's shoulders, and found the crook of his arm. She curled up and shut her eyes.

"I think I've just been adopted," he said.

It is an amazing thing to see someone fall in love, and I went to bed smiling that night thinking about mustache-man and his two new best friends. Alexis...Zeeba...and happy, happy, happy.

26 comments:

Susan said...

Such a wonderful story! Don't you just love a happy ending?

Happy Stitching!

diamondc said...

This story made me cry I am so happy he was able to find new family members so fast, I lost my Verne in Aug of 2010, I had a similer story Verne was 19 years old, blind and no teeth.
We will adopt again this summer.
Thank-you for a very beautiful story it touched my Heart.
Catherine

Stitching Cat said...

Such a touching story! You brought tears to my eyes and wonderful memories of all my cats who have crossed that wonderful bridge - I just gave Graycie a big hug and told her about the man who just got two bundles of joy and she "mewed" her approval! Thanks for sharing. Deb

Beth said...

What a wonderful story! I've lived in the country for decades and every cat I've "owned" has been an abandoned stray - and they've all been wonderful cats. I don't begin to understand the sheer meaness of people who think a domestic cat will fare well out in the "wild" - they are usually hungry, injured, and invested with fleas and other disease!

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story Theresa! I read it twice-so sweet!

Maggie said...

What a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it :-)

I can't imagine my home without my two little girls.

Robin (Samplerbird) said...

Okay, I am officially leaking tears all over my keyboard! What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.

Penny said...

I got tears in my eyes and chills reading that story. I have lost 3 cats whom I loved and now I have 4 more. None ever replace the others and they are all great in their own way. It was such a wonderful ending. I hope the man and the kitties are all happy and well.

Danielle said...

What a great story! Thanks for posting it.

Stitching Noni said...

What a wonderful happy ending! I too have tears in my ears reading about those 2 lovely cats that adopted that sweet man... I wish them many happy years together.

Congratulations on the wonderful work you are doing at the shelter - you and Steve truly are Guardian Angels.

http://firefliescatsinthegarden.blogspot.com/

Koala said...

It's such a beautiful story, like a Christmas tale. Thank you so much :-)

Charlene ♥ SC said...

You have a way with word as you do with needle! Such a sweet tale, and Thanks for sharing...

Sherry :o) said...

I miss my sagebrush - she's been gone quite a few years now - but we have a puppy (who is 7 but acts like a puppy still) that takes up time.

I have almost always adopted my kitties and doggies rather than purchase...I love this story - they will all bring each other great joy for years to come, I'm sure.

mainely stitching said...

What a wonderful story!!

Melody said...

What a wonderful story. I am a cat person too. We have 4 at our house.

So glad the man took them both.

Gabi said...

What a great story. Glad that Alexis and Zeeba found a loving home.

KimV said...

so very sweet...

Lizzy said...

What a sweet and touching story, Theresa! I'm so happy Alexis and Zeeba found such a loving home!

Blessings always in stitches...

Teri said...

What a lovely moment. Thank you for sharing it.

Stephanie said...

When it's meant to be, it's meant to be! So happy for that gentleman, who sounds like such a gentle man. How wonderful that he thought about adopting 2 and the 2 girls knew who their human was supposed to be. Bless you for your work with the kitties, too. How wonderful of you and John to go play and love on those kitties waiting for their forever homes.

Carol in Indian Springs Village said...

Such a touching story. We just 'adopted' our kitten, Augie. He was thrown out in someones yard and left to fend for himself. She sent pictures out and I fell in love with him right away. And he is such a trusting 'people' oriented cat. Makes you wonder why someone would throw out a cat that trusting and sweet. But we are the winners and looks like Alexis and Zeeba are too.

Romeo said...

Oh geez, my first visit here and you're going to make "her" cry. A love story and "she's" hooked. Sorry, I guess I'll drop "her" off here for a while while I go out for anchovy pizza. You see "she" loves people who care about us cats. Used to work to promote awareness and funds for the homeless ones. If "her" heart was stronger, I don't doubt that "she" would still be doing it. Maybe again at a later time. For now, we are both content to admire kind folks such as yourself. And for me, I am also thankful that I was a love story - you see I was once homeless too.

Purrs!

Romeo and "her"

Katrina said...

Now that's sweet!!! Glad he found two kitties to love :-).

wasiuta5 said...

This story brought tears to my eyes, even more because it was real. I'm glad your moustached man was adopted that day. I predict he will be very happy.

Ann at Beadlework. said...

I love your cat stories and the photos that go with them. What a lovely story about two lovely kitties. Your new sampler is gorgeous and your upcoming design looks as though it will be on my list.

Irene said...

How wonderful they all found each other.