Meet Stella

As promised, here’s the new addition (well, new as of January). She’s settled in quite nicely. About three weeks later, my son decided to adopt a cat from the same shelter, so Amara came to live with us, too. When he starts his blog (insert eye roll here) he can introduce you to her.

Stella came one day after Cosmo passed because I had a flip-out-hairy-fit episode over not having a pet in the house for the first time in nearly two decades. I’d have preferred a dog, but I don’t currently (and defiantly didn’t then) have the time to train a pup. I figured a cat wouldn’t care if I was MIA for long stretches caring for the aging one.

So off I went to shelters (I originally heard of a little girl who was available from an 80+-year-old, but when it came down to it, the old lady wouldn’t cough up the kitten, and I had to go hunting). Any other time, if my quiver had been full of cats, there’d have been needy felines dripping from tree branches all over the neighborhood. I could’ve had my pick. On this particular panic-filled day, however, not a stray in sight.

I found Stella at a local pet store which displays shelter cats for potential adoption leads. Stella pushed her feathered, red flannel catnip fish toward me and patted it as if saying, “Do you like my fish?”

“Why, yes. Stella. I like your fish very much.” We greeted each other through her cage’s wires. I told Stella I’d take her home. I think I fell in love with her whiskers first. She’s all whiskers. Then I fell in love with her uberly hairy toes.

Turned out, I had to visit the actual shelter who took her in, the Animal Care Alliance, and fill out the paperwork there. And Oh. My. Word. She was one of 40 cats available. Cats everywhere. One-eyed cats, three-legged cats, inexperienced ones, ancient ones, one-eared cats, gaunt ones, obese ones. In all colors and body styles imaginable. Most of them loose and running through two gigantic rooms filled with food dishes, litter boxes, toys, towers, and beds. And 90+ percent of them actually getting along. We were stunned.

And the staff there. They know most of them by name. They know their personalities and quirks. Many foster the animals until the kitties are well enough for the Cat Room.

And my little girl, freshly back in the Cat Room after her pet store journey, was cowering in the corner hissing at the other cats for getting too close. She’d had enough. I could relate. I don’t much like people in my face when I’ve had enough.

I signed the adoption forms. They gave her an updated dose of meds and handed her to me. “Smile for Facebook post”—because the Alliance posts photos of the adoptions on their social media feed. We smiled for the photo, then she right-hooked me in the lip—twice, drawing more blood than I’ve shed in a long time. She lept from my arms and hid in the corner. I think they thought I wouldn’t want her after that. They swore to me she was one of the gentlest cats they had and that she’d never ever acted that way.

But I understood why she did it. Travel weary. Poked. Prodded. Stella had had enough. Stella had been found under someone’s porch after she’d birthed a litter of kittens (which we got to meet, so that was cool). The Alliance took her and the kittens after a stretch with a foster family. And, oh, by the way, she’s been SHOT! The pellet is still in her back, but I’ve been assured it’s harmless.

So before the ripe old age of three, Stella was: Abandoned. Shot. Pregnant. A momma. Fostered. Spayed. Separated from her kids. In The Cat Room. On display. Adopted.

I think I’d right-hook someone too.

Stella is mine in more ways than one. Jayden’s cat is totally different.

Amara likes to be cuddled up close and personal.

Stella does not. Because she’s mine.

Amara likes all visitors and wants to sit on their laps and lets them hold her like a baby.

Stella does not. Because she’s mine.

Amara waits patiently for attention when we’re busy.

Stella does not. Like to wait.

Amara is laid back and meanders through the day.

Stella is not laid back and is always on a mission. Because she’s mine.

Amara is quiet and not pushy.

Stella vocalizes/dirty looks/body languages her opinion whether we want it or not. Because she’s mine.

Yesterday she was lying on my manuscript pages. I tried to take them from under her. She gave me that “glare over the spectacles” look and put her paw on top of my hand—her claws weren’t out, just a little “I’m not done yet” warning. I remembered the burn on my lip the day she boxed me.

I decided I didn’t need those particular manuscript pages just then.

Stella needs her space. I can relate. We’re still bonding. But of all the 40+ cats in the Cat Room, I think I picked the best one for me.

Okay. Who am I kidding?

I picked me.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.