Guest Blogger: Joyce E. Cain
On a cold February day, my husband and I were taking our two dogs for a walk. As we strolled along, a kitten appeared. He was adorable! Black and white with a tiny black mustache on his white face. He meowed at us and Luke picked him up. He was filthy and had gum stuck in his tail. And he was terribly skinny, every rib and his tiny hip bones sticking out. We petted him for a few minutes and contemplated what to do. Since he had run out from under a porch, we decided to give it another day. We had never seen him before, so maybe he was a recent adoption and his humans hadn’t had time to clean him up.
The next morning we were anxious to return and check on the kitten. This time, he appeared from a field next to the house. He was still filthy, still had gum in his tail, and seemed desperate for attention. When I picked him up, he snuggled in and started purring. With two dogs and three cats already in our family, we weren’t sure we wanted another kitten. But we decided it was our responsibility to at least ensure he got fed and cleaned up. We could keep a lookout for “missing kitten” posters or maybe take him to the local cat rescue.
Back home, we gave him a gentle sponge bath and cut most of the gum out of his tail. We soaked cat food in water and he gobbled it up. But the sweet little guy wouldn’t sleep. He would lean against me while sitting up but as soon as he nodded off, he would startle awake and look around terrified. That’s when we knew he hadn’t had a safe place to live! So we would pet him until he fell asleep, although he would only sleep sitting up, leaning against one of us.
A couple days went by and we continued to feed him small amounts. He kept passing and throwing up grass, which we assumed meant he had had nothing real to eat in a while. Within a week, he was keeping all his food down. He curled up to sleep. We thought he was the sweetest kitten we had ever met.
Another week passed and suddenly our kitten wasn’t so sweet. He was ornery, too! Turns out he had been so lethargic from being hungry and sick, we had been fooled into thinking he was the calmest kitten who had ever been. But now he was back to good health and he was like every other kitten. He climbed to the top shelves. He dug in plants. He tormented his cat “sisters.” He attacked us from around corners. And every day we fell more in love with him!
No signs appeared. And we realized there was no way we could take him to the rescue, as great as they were. And so we had our fourth cat! A visit to the vet determined he was healthy and would just need the standard care for a new pet (neutering and vaccinations).
And then the big decision… What to name him! It has never taken us so long to name a pet. We tried so many names over the course of the next month and nothing stuck. Finally, we tried Snow, after a TV character we were enjoying. It seemed such a blah name for such a fancy cat, but it stuck, and Snow he was!
That was five and a half years ago. Based on how old he was when we found him and because he looks like he’s wearing a mask, we decided Halloween should be his birthday.
Over the past three years, four of our animal family members have passed away from old age or cancer. And we re-homed two to my mother-in-law (long story… but we found ourselves in a living situation where we couldn’t keep all of our pets and so we asked Mom if she could temporarily take two cats while we figured it out. It’s been two years now because the three of them have become so attached to each other and Mom asked if she could just keep them!).
So now we are down to just Snow! It’s been almost 11 years since we had only one pet. In some ways, it’s nice to just have him to focus on. He gets more attention than he ever has and he is thriving on it! He loves to chat and tells us about everything he has done while we’re away from home. He still has a kitten meow and purrs louder than any cat we have ever known. He has his own space in the RV (we live and travel full-time in an RV) and one of his favorite things is to gaze out the window and watch wildlife or people walking by. He is an incredibly handsome cat and his mustache makes him even more unusual. He likes to lie on Luke’s chest and get his chest rubbed and the ecstatic look on his face makes me giggle. He enjoys sitting on our laps while we travel and his reactions to what he sees and smells outside the truck are highly entertaining. He also makes us laugh with his crazy antics around the trailer, chasing crinkle balls or attacking his stuffed mice. He sleeps under the covers and his almost non-stop purring soothes my anxiety. When I was lost in grief earlier this year, after our Henri dog passed away, Snow gave me someone to focus on and caring for him reminded me I still had an animal friend to enjoy.
But beyond all that, I love him just for who he is. He is a gentle, caring soul. He showed this through the way he cared for Henri. Snow would follow him around the house and gently touch him to let him know he wasn’t alone. If Henri ran into a wall or fell down, Snow was right there to check on him. He frequently laid right next to Henri while he was sleeping. Since Henri’s passing, Snow has become more and more of a companion. He is a great friend and a happy, silly little cat and we are grateful he chose us all those years ago!