It all started one morning at breakfast when Brian gasped and pointed out the window. Strolling across our patio was a cat. Ugh. Instantly, Brian sprung out of his chair and walked to the window.
"Can I go out and pet her????" he asked.
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Don't touch it, Brian. You don't know if it's wild or sick or is filled with fleas..." I said.
I really don't like cats.
But it is pretty, I thought.
Obviously, we went outside. Mostly because I'm a sucker.
The cat was not at all scared and came trotting up, sat down and looked at us. We spent a good hour out there with this "thing" and I felt strange things happening inside me. Some kind of softening to a CAT! Annoyed, I went inside. That night, Brian excitedly told his Daddy what happened. Almost on cue, the cat appeared in view and he went out to meet her. Almost immediately after the kids were in bed, Ed ran to the store for cat food. I was feeling pleased about that, strangely. Annoyed, I went to bed.
The next morning, I vigilantly checked the window to see if I could spot her. I found myself out on the patio making "pss pss pss" sounds. She came running right to me. I started giving her commands, like I would if she had been a dog. She followed every one. There was that weird feeling again! Annoyed, I put out the food and some water and sat next to her while she gobbled it down. She didn't have a collar and looked to me to be healthy. She really is beautiful, I thought.
The next morning, she was back again and I bounded outside to greet her with a head scratch. Yes, it certainly was a head scratcher that I was so happy to see her... that is the truth. I asked our new neighbors if she was their cat - nope. I asked the previous owners - not theirs! The kids and I even drove to some local farms to ask if she was their barn cat - no one recognized her.
That night, we decided to name her Sunshine. "It's the perfect name for her since she brought a little Sunshine into our lives!" We went out and bought toys and a brush and a breakaway collar with a bell and started to make a shelter for her to sleep in at night.
What. Was. Happening. To Me.
Then... she was gone.
Every morning I looked out the window. Every afternoon I was out making "pss pss pss" sounds. Every night I was calling her name.
A couple weeks later - right before Brian started his first day of First Grade - she was back. She waltzed into the yard like the prodigal kitty. She stayed a couple days, so I decided to call our old vet and he graciously made a house call to check her out. He told me she was definitely a she - that she was spayed - that she seemed very healthy and appeared to be about five years old. He congratulated us and I felt excited. I guess we had an outdoor cat! I had no intention of bringing her inside. One, I don't like cats. Two, I can't predict how Hope would handle a cat - and how the cat would handle Hope. Three, I'm just not ready for a pet - and we had planned on getting a dog down the road...certainly not a cat!
That night, Ed and I took the long walk down our driveway to do some gardening work. Sunshine followed after us and sat near us to keep us company - and then followed us back up and went to her usual sleeping spot.
Then... she was gone. A week went by. And then another. I called her name into the wind at least once a day. After a while, I stopped looking out the window. She wasn't coming back - I was convinced. It was no longer a strange and foreign feeling. I missed this beautiful being and wasn't even ashamed to admit it. I couldn't stop thinking about her.
Last Sunday, all of us were out running errands together. One of our stops happened to be near a pet store. I've no idea what led me to go in there - I didn't think they had pets, just pet "stuff." But as soon as we walked in, there were two cages with three cats. Brian and I instantly gravitated to one - a black and grey kitten named "Grace." Coincidentally, the volunteer from the rescue organization they were from walked in the door to do their daily care. I heard myself saying "Excuse me - can we hold this little kitty?"
After we handed her back and were getting up to leave, Ed said to me... "Wait. You're leaving without her?" He knew before I did. He usually does.
About three hours later, I was getting interviewed by a representative from the animal shelter. She told me she would need to call our vet for a reference and would get back to me. I quick sent a message to our old vet (the one who made the house call for Sunshine) and told him to expect a call asking for a reference - that we were about to adopt a kitten. I expected him to be surprised - but I'm sure he saw it coming a mile away. I'm a sucker for animals, but even I didn't see this coming. A cat! ME!
I got the call the next day that little Grace was ours and I won't lie - my heart leapt a little. I arranged to pick her up the next afternoon. Before that, I quick read as much as I could about kitten care... what supplies she would need... and asked my Facebook friends to tell me anything and everything. I ran out to the store and loaded up the mini-van with a carrier and a litter box, scratching toys and a cat tower... and lots of toys. And that evening, before Brian went to bed, the two of us snuck back to the store to say goodnight to our new kitten - that we'd see her at "home" tomorrow.
Hope and I went to pick her up while Brian was at school. I couldn't wait to see Brian's reaction when he got home. The very nice representative that approved us met me at the store to hand her over. The store gave me a free bag of food and coupons toward anything I purchased for "Gracie" which was so nice!
Brian got off the bus that afternoon and I had the kitty in the front seat in her carrier - just waiting for him. He was so shocked - and so, so happy.
Brian is very sweet with animals and really loved this kitten. We had a family meeting to decide on her name. Brian loved the name "Gracie" but was concerned because his good friend's name is Grace. He feared that both of them would be confused if they were together (ha!) or that his friend Grace may not like that our cat has her name! But he thought we should keep Grace somehow...so it's now her "middle" name.
Let me formally introduce you to... Mia Grace!
The shelter suggested that we confine Mia for a few days or a week. We started out keeping her in our laundry room - but it became too difficult since that's a high traffic area.
Not to mention, it was too easy for Hope to get into everything. She even tried to climb on the cat tower to get to Mia!
So we decided to move her. She is now in our master bathroom most of the time and is very happy! She loves playing with the kitty she sees in the triple mirror!
She loves to sit in the window...
...chase her shadow in the sunshine...
...and lounge around, as kitties do.
We visit to play with her many times a day.
I recently bought a harness and leash to let her explore the house - and even outside! I don't want to let her loose and risk her not finding her way back to her litter box. At night she hangs out downstairs with me and Ed. Right now she's sleeping in my lap!!
I was most concerned with how Hope would be with a pet. She has surprised me so much! She loves Mia and says "aaaaaaa" every time she softly (and I mean softly!) pets her. She will throw Mia's tiny crinkle toys and then laugh as Mia races around chasing them. The best is when she shows Mia her toys or her bubbles or her dolls - or tries to feed her from her own snack cup.
I have a feeling that the two of them will be best buddies. I'm always supervising when Hope is near Mia - and it's a good thing. Hope can be a little aggressive with her insistence that Mia kiss her. She grabs her tiny kitten face and plants one on her!! Mia is very patient with Hope - but animals are certainly unpredictable.
Coincidentally, Sunshine showed up in our yard the very day we brought Mia home. Almost like she knew. I went out and thanked her. Yes, I know how wacko that seems. But I am convinced that Sunshine was sent to me to open my heart to an animal I always thought I hated. The time I spent sitting with her in the yard - and the time I now spend holding a purring Mia - is close to meditation. Who knew that snuggling with a soft, purring, sweet cat could be so relaxing. If I had high blood pressure issues - she would be the cure!
This will be my one and only dedicated post about our new addition. I mean come on, I'm not a "crazy cat lady!!" Please. But I really should end here. I need to finish up her birth announcements and sewing her Halloween costume.
(Just kidding. I don't sew. I totally bought her costume. Ha ha!!)