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“I Love Pigs”.

Lessons from Heaven

Three months ago, I lost my beautiful Calico cat, Charity at the age of 17.  After months of battling illness, I made the heart-wrenching decision to put her to sleep.  I had held her and comforted her for weeks and told her that I would never have another cat again…she would be my last kitty.  I was with her in the end and returned home in tears to receive comfort from my three dogs.  For weeks, Charity’s cat supplies sat packed up near the door, ready to donate to an animal shelter.

Before revealing the end of this story, I must make an embarrassing confession.  I have always been a dog lover.  I love all animals and have had many pets, but everyone who knows me is well aware that I adore canines of every shape and size.    I’ve never been a huge fan of cats.  I am not saying that I don’t like them, more that I have been dispassionate about felines.  I never understood or took the time to understand them on any deep level.  As a result, I could have a friend for years that knew cute little antidotes about my dogs and upon visiting my house would comment, “I never knew you had a cat!”

And so you may ask, how did a non-cat lover, come to own and take care of a cat for 17 years, through multiple moves and up and down economic times?

Seventeen years ago I attended a Christmas Event for pets at my local veterinarian clinic in South Florida.  I had a pet sitting business and I shared referrals for years with this vet.  I was dressed as an elf and there to take pictures of pets and owners for the annual “Santa Paws” event.  A cage of homeless kittens had been placed next to my elf chair and there it sat for six hours that day.  She was a tiny calico with a beautiful, full and fluffy coat, bright green eyes and covered with fleas.  So we went home together that day and I named her Charity because I did not have it in my budget for another pet.

Two weeks later, my animal production agency landed her a job on a major movie and I worked with her on the set.  She actually worked in a scene with a new up and coming actress, named Jennifer Lopez.  That night on the outdoor movie shoot, it was freakishly cold in Miami and I had her tucked in my sweater with only her head sticking out.  As I walked around, talking to cast and crew, I joked that, “I’m not a cat lover, but here is my cat”.   People offered to take her because she was so very tiny and adorable.  The answer was, “No, thank you.  She is mine now.”  We brought home a pay check of $400 for our work (more money than any of my dogs ever made).

For 17 years, Charity was a low maintenance pet.  She was always healthy, sweet, hardly ever even meowed and was kind and tolerant of the five dogs in our pack over the years.  The truth is that I came to love her very much.  The main reason I did not want to own another cat is because I do not like a litter box in my home and all that goes along with that.

When she was gone I noticed a unique presence missing in my home.  My dogs are so wonderful, but cats offer a spirit and interaction that is innately different from a dog.  I was missing her terribly.  I did some research on sitty kitty and other alternatives to litter boxes, but I was not convinced.  Three weeks after she died, I happened into a thrift shop that was sponsored by a cat rescue group.  Unexpectedly, I was faced with tiny kittens running around behind the cash register.  I asked if I could hold one.  They passed me a kitten with bright blue eyes.  She was cute but immediately when I held her, I was compelled to give her back.  I walked out, telling the staff, “My heart is just not ready”.

Three weeks later, I responded to an ad for a free kitten.  When I went to the person’s house, there were two kittens left.  They were playing on the porch, a brother and a sister.  The girl was tiny and mostly white with a calico pattern along her head, back and tail.  I told the owner about my recent loss and quickly gave her a verbal disclaimer.  “I am just going to hold her, but I don’t know if I am ready for another cat.”  Then something amazing happened.

I picked her up and brought her close to my face.  She calmly looked at me and took her right paw and gently placed it on my cheek and began to softly feel my face, in the same way a blind person would explore facial features.   My heart skipped a beat and from that moment on, I knew she was mine.

I’ve named her Jasper.  She now plays in “Charity’s garden” every day.  And guess what?  She does not use a litter box.  She goes out the kitty door I made for her and prefers to dig holes in the garden and go outside!!!!  Ha!

And what happened to the blasé cat girl?  She makes homemade cat toys, takes tons of pictures, teaches the cat tricks and tapes every episode of her new favorite show, “My cat from Hell”.

See Charity, You can teach an old dog, new tricks!

http://animal.discovery.com/tv/my-cat-from-hell/

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