When I met Harley, she was a too small bundle of towel. My best friend's boyfriend came in the door with this bundle that had an adult cat head coming out of it, but looked like it was only big enough to be holding a kitten.
"I don't know if you can help her, she was boarded up in a basement for a couple of weeks," while he was telling me this and the story of how it had happened, I gently set her down on the couch.
When I opened the towel I wanted to cry, not just the fact that she was a skeleton with fur, but the fact that she was looking up at me and purring. Her purr was bigger than she was, and she got her name.
Now at the time a vet was out of the question, being way too much money, so I knew I would do anything I could think of to help her myself. I started with warm milk, amazingly she could still stand, sorta. I started with a saucer and didn't give her a lot at once for the first day or so. When she started to clean the plate I would give her a bit more. When we got to an actual small bowl of milk, I started mixing in some cooked oatmeal, warm, of course. During all this our German Shepard cross, Prince, would let her lay down next to him, or between his paws, or on him. He was very careful of her and would clean her, just like a mother cat would; it took her a while to be strong enough to use the box we gave her, and of course the milk went right through her. Although once she got stronger she would use the box, but she still get a wash from her best bud.
She started to fill out and get stronger. When we moved from the small apartment to a larger place in the same house, we had access to a yard and deck and by this time she had seemingly fully recovered, well almost. She would go into heat, kind of. After it, well the only way to explain it would be she had her period. She never had kittens, I figured it was because she had been so emaciated it had made her sterile. I had heard about this happening to anorexic girls.
Now she was an indoor-outdoor kind of girl, but she never went far unless she was in heat. When she was in heat, she and Prince had a game. There were days I would get up and she would be sitting at the patio door looking in, surrounded by 6 to 10 males. On the inside Prince was all wagging tail and excited, but no sound, you see sound would spoil the game. With the opening of the door he would launch himself and watch as the males scattered to the 4 winds. He would come back in with his laughing face and lay down, as Harley rubbed his face, etc.
She passed young, I think, only 4 or 5 years after I met her. I felt sad, but proud that I had given her that time. She was a happy and loving companion for Prince and I during a stressful time. A breakup where I got custody of the "kids".
I don't know about cats having 9 lives, but she had 2. After more than 25 years I miss her still. I remember the trust in her eyes that fateful day we met and feel lucky that I knew her.
Someone had put her into my path and I had done a good job. She will be waiting for me at the rainbow bridge with her buddy Prince. She was a friend that, even after all these years, reminds me of the good that I have managed to do in my life.
Author: Laurie D
Illustrator: Marjorie Skiba
About the Author: About the Author: Laurie lives in Vancouver with her husband and an assorted number of cats. She loves knitting, sewing baking and gardening.
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