February 10, 2005

adopted

I'm not sure if Spot adopted me or I adopted her. When we first moved into our apartment last April, she greeted me. It seems I was moving into her territory. She pressed her head up against my leg as I walked by -- begging for a little petting with an insistent meow. She was skinny with little hip bones that protruded out of her pure white coat.

I paid attention. I began setting out treats for her. Soon she would bounce along to greet me as I drove into the parking lot. She would bound up the stairs and wait for the daily tuna or chicken. She began to sound less insistent and purred more.

I learned she was abandoned by a family that moved and was being allowed inside and fed by the woman that moved into the same apartment. But then the woman moved out and the man who remained didn't let her back inside. How was she supposed to know that wasn't her home anymore? When the winter rains came, we set up a little umbrella over a little outside shelter for her and her companion cat, Josh.

She ate slow and deliberately -- as if each morsel was precious, as if each could be her last for a while. Gradually, a little plumpness softened across her hip bones.

As we began moving our belongings from the apartment to this house in January, she'd follow me up and down the stairs as if checking to make sure I wouldn't really leave without her. After we moved our own two cats over to the house, I let her inside the apartment to play with fur mice and bird feathers while I packed up small boxes. She reveled.

Finally, it was time to go. I arrived at the apartment and fed Spot her treats inside. I shut the door so that she couldn't wander off before we took our scary little trip to the vet. I laid down on the floor to take a break and she curled up on top of my stomach -- but not before licking my hand, for the first time. It was as if she knew she had finally found home.

When we drove together to the vet, she never peeped, meowed or howled. She put up with the exam and purred while I reassured her. She took her little shots and that squirt of Advantage flea killer that would stop all that yucky scratching.

Someone bothered to remind me that we didn't have to adopt Spot and Josh. That never occurred to me. My philosophy is to take care of those around me. I get a daily giggle at her streetsmart test of the waterbowl -- splashing her paw in it first to make sure it's water. It took her a couple of days to believe that the food bowl would always be filled -- no more empty tummy days. And when I see Spot sleeping in one of her favorite locations, I can't imagine how my stuffed bears Ophelia and Heronymous survived without her...

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