Molly, my only female cat, passed away at age twelve with cancer. Once I had grieved for her and felt it was time to introduce another female cat, I called our local animal shelter. We are a small town, so the new kittens and stray cats are all in foster homes. I was told that there was an eight-week-old orange short-haired male cat ready for adoption. “Sorry, but no females right now,” they told me.
I took the directions to the foster home. This is where I found the most adorable playful kitten. He was a real heartbreaker. Affectionate, friendly and the only kitten left as all of his female siblings were in their new homes. It was love at first sight, and I was anxious to introduce him to my two seven-year-old all black cats, Baxter and Bentley.
I must admit, our new kitten Sami did give the older cats and us lots of exercise and many hours of entertainment. Baxter and Bentley were kind and fatherly or big brothers.
A month later, I received a call from the shelter: they had a female tabby ready for adoption. “Wonderful,” I said, “I’ll be there shortly.”
The caregiver at the shelter shared the kitten’s story with me.
“When the kitten was approximately four weeks old, for some reason, her mother decided to move her litter across the county road to the other side. She had successfully moved her little family, except for one. Unfortunately the mother cat was hit by a car and died before she could move the last kitten. Without her mother and siblings, the four-week-old kitten was all alone, no mother and no siblings.
One day, later that week, the shelter received a phone call from a boy’s mother. Her son told his mother that there was a baby crying in the bush behind their house. When they investigated they found a very young dehydrated and hungry, almost dead, kitten.
The poor frightened and very, very ill kitten was taken to the shelter and then to their vet. The kitten was nursed back to health. Once the vet cleared her for adoption, a member of the shelter remembered me asking for a female tabby kitten.”
Together, we drove to her new home, my home. She didn’t utter a word or meow throughout the entire twenty-minute trip. You could see the terror in her eyes. As is my habit, I spoke to her trying to reassure her, but she said nothing.
Once home, I placed the crate on the floor and opened the door. She wasn’t interested in exploring her new surroundings. I can’t imagine how she felt when two fifteen pound black cats came to investigate the newest visitor. She pushed back against the rear wall of the crate. I’m sure she was trembling. Then a very curious, young Sami appeared. Weighing about five pounds now, he entered the crate, laid down and stayed with her for almost an hour. He licked her fur, made funny little noises and kept her company. I was fascinated with this interaction, so I sat there on the floor watching with interest. When they were ready, Sami sauntered out of the crate and Daisy, our newest kitten was right behind him.
Over the next few weeks we watched as Sami taught her like a big brother, things like where the food was, the litter boxes, and when she didn’t, he would go into the litter box cover up by scratching away at the litter etc. Sami almost completely turned his attention to the newest kitten, Daisy. He was lucky he had his mother to teach him good cat manners, in a nice safe environment. Daisy missed out on that experience. It seemed like Sami was still a kitten himself, but took on the new addition to our family like a project.
During our first visit to the vet, I mentioned that Daisy had never vocalized any sounds. He suggested that she probably had strained her vocal cords during her first few days after her mother died; therefore she now had no voice to meow. It took about a year until we first heard a normal cat sound from her. Soon after that she began to purr. Daisy is just one of our family now.
Sami grew very fond of Daisy over the next four months. It’s been suggested that Sami thinks Daisy is his girlfriend. ...Oops! Time to get them spayed and neutered!
My kittens now are three years old and all grown up. Sami and Daisy continue to be very close and still play together.
Photographer: R.B. Smith
Illustrator: Marjorie Skiba
About the Author: Ms. Smith lives in Canada with her four and two legged family members. When not writing new stories of compelling animal adventures, she enjoys being creative in many different facets, particularly drawing, painting, and also cooking.
Her newest book, Rescue Ben, the story of a dog trying to find his family, is available on Amazon and part of the proceeds go towards animal rescue organizations. You can learn more about her book and its mission to help stop animal cruelty here.
Have your own Happy Tail to share? I would love to feature it on my site. Contact Marjorie about submission details.