Charm made the best of a number of bad situations in her short life, and now she can make the best of a really good situation, for the rest of her life. Yesterday, in the middle, literally, of all the hustle of my show and the event, I came home to meet Charm’s adopter so she could take her home, and both of them could spend the first night in their new home.
Charm was officially adopted two weeks ago, but her adopter was moving and wanted to wait to take her. She asked about being able to pick up Charm on her moving day, which was yesterday, the long day of my show, possibly coming early in the morning so she could take care of her moving during the rest of the day since I would be away until at least midnight. I first thought how I’d like to be able to spend time with Charm on the day she left and not rush the leaving, Michelle would have to lock Charm into a room by herself while all the moving stuff was happening, and I’d rather wait until the next day when I’d be home all day.
But thinking of that magic of the first day in a new place, and Michelle not having to spend it alone but with her new kitty who she couldn’t wait to have in her life, I knew I could find someone to take care of my booth for a while during the slow time early evening so I could come home to feed all my cats and Michelle could pick up Charm after all her moving work was done. If I felt I hadn’t spent enough time with Charm in the past four months I wasn’t going to make up for it now. So Deana watched my booth while I drove home and Michelle was on her way. We decided she would feed Charm as soon as they arrived in their new home so I would hold off on the feeding until after she left.
Charm went to sit at the door, which is not terribly unusual since she likes to watch the chipmunk show in the evening as much as any other cat, but she stayed there. And when Michelle arrived a while later after being stuck in traffic, Charm was still there.
Michelle came down the walk talking to Charm about coming home and Charm stood up at the screen and reached where Michelle placed her hand, as if Charm knew exactly what was happening.
When she came in the door Michelle set down the new carrier she’d bought and said she hoped Charm wouldn’t mind it too much and it wouldn’t be too hard to get her into it, opened the door and Charm walked right in. She was ready! But we had a few more things to take care of, like Charm’s veterinary records and food information so Charm came back out and a parade of black cats went in. Eventually, all was settled. I gave Charm a little hug and a kiss and told her I was glad I was the one who could help her on her way to Michelle, and that I’d had the chance to spend some time with her. She grabbed my hand in her paws and gently bit my fingers while she gave me her sidelong glance from big green eyes, then tipped her nose up so we could nose tap. Back into the carrier she went, Michelle thanked me for about the 40th time for the wonderful cat she was adopting, and off they went.
I wish all adoptions were like that. It was like a fairy tale, and Charm will go on to live a charmed life to match her name.
It’s a little odd, especially that first meal without her, suddenly setting out seven dishes and missing one cat at meal who would not be back, but this time for a happy journey to a forever home, that little tortie, so pretty and petite but not at all delicate in finding her place in this household of black cats.
I also remembered the little bit of stress there had always been to feed eight cats in that small space and how well she had dealt with it after being an unspayed adult, abandoned in November and with newborn kittens in April, locked in a cage and then a bathroom in a strange home with a stranger and smells of many other cats, and finally permitted out and finding her place without a single paw lifted. That level of ability to adapt to change is enviable for any species, and especially for this female cat of an overpopulous species, and with even cuter kittens in tow.
The first time I met her, outdoors, I knelt down to get on her level and she laid down on my skirt and purred. She had come to trust Jenn and Missy who cared for her and asked for help in looking for her kittens when she moved them. When we looked for Charm’s kittens, she accompanied us, and the day we caught them all she patiently waited by their carrier, then laid with them in the cage until we had them all together, stuffed them into carriers and they all ended up in my bathroom.
The first time she nursed them here, she laid on my feet, and laid on my feet to nurse them every chance she had in the next month. Through all these changes she was unfailingly affectionate, good-natured, flexible and fun, and she deserves the best life a cat can have from here on, and she will get that. Below is a photo Michelle sent me from today. Charm is air-kneading, one of the things I found so endearing about her.
And Michelle felt a connection to her from the first time she saw Charm’s photo, and couldn’t wait to share their lives together from the first time they met. Already Charm has settled in, follows her around and helps her around the house, especially when it involves setting up a new cat tree that belongs only to Charm. Charm is pretty inventive with her own plans too, I’m sure she’ll discover!
On this end of things, Basil and Bella are a little subdued, with no crazy antics today even though I’m home and they so love to perform. Charm was closest with those two, which made me think her age was less than two years, as had been guessed. Lately, I’d seen Basil and Charm chasing each other, and Bella and Charm spent hours together at the big north window and lately at the basement door.
I say again, it is a gift you give when you find a home for an animal, a gift both for the cat, to have a loving, caring forever home with a human who cherishes them, and for the human, an animal who is ready to love them and share the home they provide.
Whenever I rescue a cat, after the process of seeing them in need and deciding to help them, and whatever it takes to get them in, I always let myself run through the idea of keeping the cat with me. Was the cat meant to be here? Is that why I found the cat and caught her and have her in my home? Can I love a cat enough for her to learn or relearn to trust humans and enjoy living inside and put up with stupid human things like claw trimmings and kisses on the face, and then let her go to someone else without the cat losing the sense of trust we’ve developed? In Charm’s case—a tortie! A really wonderful tortie! Such a sweet kitty and we loved each other right away.
But it’s only a formality. If you’ve been reading The Creative Cat for any length of time you know how many times I’ve done this with stories dating back to the mid 1980s, how much work it’s taken sometimes to bring the cat to health and trust and home life, then found an excellent home for the cat, in whom my heart is invested, to live. In all the times I’ve rescued, fostered and sent a cat on its journey to a new life, I’ve never regretted their leaving instead of staying with me, and I’ve only cried happy tears to know they and their new person would one day have as deep and complex a relationship as I did with the cats with whom I already shared my life.
So Charm is off to live her “charmed” life, with her fairy tale adoption. After her dire beginnings she stood a chance of disappearing into the street life of far too many unspayed female cats, but people who cared watched over her and rescued her, and I was so happy to help and to foster this wonderful little tortie until her forever person could find her.
I’ve been up late the past few nights getting ready for the show these past two days, and on Thursday night/Friday morning, all other cats asleep, Charm found me in my studio and was very pleased to have me all to herself. We had a wonderful time playing and Charm rubbed herself all over me and laid on my lap while I was printing photos. It’s one of those moments I’ll remember.
And you also know from reading my rescue stories that I remember each of them, and many of the details of the time we shared together, decades later. Like all the others who’ve come before her, I will never forget little Charmee, and she will always have a place in my heart.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!