All three things in the title have a connection, which is why the story is somewhat long. But you'll see how it all comes together (if you have the patience toi read it!)
Up until about 2 years ago, I always had at last 2 or 3 cats in the house at any one time. The last family consisted of me and 3 very special cats; Animal (a grey point siamese), Tarzan (a chocolate point siamese) and Fuzzbutt, my gorgeous tuxedo Maine-Coon look-alike.
Fuzz joined the family about 16 years ago (when it was just me, Animal and Tarzan) after his mother, a stray, followed me to my door one day as I was coming home from work. I could see the little rounded belly, thought she might have been pregnant, and decided to let her in and as soon as I could, get her to a no-kill shelter.
I had an extra bedroom at the time, so brought her in there to keep her and anything she migiht have had away from my guys, gave her a litterbox, water and food, and left the room to call the shelter to find out the hours, and closed the door behind me.
After my call I went back in to check, and to my surprise found her giving birth on my brown plaid sofa. Surprise! Even though she didn't know me, ahe seemed to appreciate my company, would follow me if I tried to leave, so I slipped a big blue towel under her, found a box in the house and lined it with a blanket. She would have none of that, wanted the sofa, so I sat on the floor next to her while she had kitten after kitten on my sofa. After she was done, she let me put the kittens in the box, and she went in there with them, content to stay there from that point on. There were 7 by the time she was done. BIG surprise!!!
Sadly the next morning, I found one kitten had died. I packed up the whole brood and rushed them to the vet, who said the kitten just didn't feel right inside, he felt it was was born misformed, which was the cause of death, but the others seemed fine and there was no disease or reason to worry. He said all were healthy, and the reason Mom didn't look that pregnant was because she was pretty much almost starved to death.
Over the next weeks I fed Mom really well, spoiled her and the babies rotten, and she was a great mother. Weaning, litter training, everything went perfectly. The kittens were adorable, playful, friendly and gorgeous. Every single one of them got a home, including the mother (a friend had been looking for an adult cat) and I kept Fuzz. They were so cute even the vet's assistant fell in love with one and took him, and considering how many kittens pass her way, I took that as a big compliment.
That was 16 years ago. I told you that story to tell you this one.
Animal died of natural causes about 5 years ago. Her body just quietly gave out. She was 22 years old at the time. That left Fuzz and Tarzan.
About 2 years ago, Tarzan had to be put to sleep after he got a large tumor in his chest. That was shortly after my very close friend passed away, and he and Tarzan were best of buddies -- Tarzan would always squish between us. Mark used to call him the space invader. I know they're taking care of each other.
That left Fuzz, who never much liked other cats (he tolerated the other 2 because he was last in), or other people for that matter. He was my best bud, visa versa, and he liked it that way. So I let Fuzz be the only cat, and he was quite happy with the new arrangment..
He eventually devleoped diabetes, and and by the end of last summer (he was about 15 by then), I knew he was beginning to go downhill and didn't have much time left. I didn't know what to do, because on one hand, I wanted him happy in this last part of his life, on the other, I didn't know if I could stand the emptiness (I live alone) when his time came without the comfort of another cat to help me deal with the sadness and I considered getting another cat. It was a wrenching decision.
I finally decided I would try not to worry about it, and instead give it up to the "Cat Gods."
The "Cat Gods" are my name for feline fate, that very efficient, but very mysterious force that always brings the right pet to the right person if you're willing to listen. Whenver people ask me how to pick a cat, I always tell them the same thing. Don't pick a cat. Just go meet them. When the right one comes along, he or she will let you know. You don't have to do a thing.
I remembered the Cat Gods had always come through for me in the past, and decided to trust in them yet again.
In August a neighbor ask if I would be interested in a kitten who she had been feeding in her yard. She said it was the cutest, sweetest most affectionate kitten she had ever seen, she couldn't take it because her kids were allergic, but she wanted to make sure it had a good, indoor home. She thought she was about 3 months old.
I was hesitant because of Fuzz, but since she came to me, I also thought it might be the workd of the Cat Gods, so I went to at least meet her.
She was older than 3 months, more like 9. But as sweet, gentle, affectionate and as beautiful as had claimed. In fact, she looked very much like Fuzz's mom. The minute I pet her she rolled over to let me pet her belly. She was all the things my neighbor said, as well as very, very, very pregnant. I began to recognize the work of the Cat Gods.
I seriously considering spaying her immediately, but after doing research and finding out how far along she was (like in ready to drop) it was not the best idea in this situation. I set her up a box in a little alcove in my living room, and closed the room off with barriers. She had the living room and bathroom, Fuzz had the hallway, bedroom and kitchen, his favorite rooms, and the rooms I also spent most of my time. It worked out perfectly.
Just barely a week later, the Mommy, who I hadn't found a name for yet, went into labor.
She refused to give birth in the box. She wanted to give birth on the sofa. If I walked anywhere she'd follow so I had to stay with her near the sofa. I grabbed an old, ratty (but clean) towel I had in the closet that I use for things other than bath reasons, slipped it under her and I sat on the floor to pet her, keep her company, and wait. Sound familiar?
As soon as I got into position I realized the sofa (which someone had given me about a year earlier) was made of exactly the same fabric as the one I had 15 years before, a fact I hadn't realized until that moment. The old, ratty towel was the same blue towel I had also used for Fuzz's mom (it was new then). She was in the same exact position on the sofa as Fuzz's Mom, and I was sitting and petting her in the same spot in the same position.
(Theme to the Twilight Zone). I thought, "Talk about Deja Vu," and it was at that moment I knew her name. There could be no other.
Deja Vu had 5 wonderfully healthy beautiful babies who were named Rocky, Apollo, Yodels (who became Katie Scarlett), Maynard G. Krebbs (had a little goatee spot) and Boogie Woogie (cause of a little white dot of fur right under one nostril -- the boogie part LOL).
I had already decided to keep Deja Vu, but also wanted to keep a kitten, and again, trusted to Cat Gods on that too.
It was about 4-5 weeks later that I finally had to make the decision to put Fuzz to sleep. It was a horrible time, and when I got home, I could only sit on the sofa and cry. Suddenly Rocky ran over, up my body to my face, and started whimpering and licking the tears off my cheeks, and wouldn't stop until I stopped crying. That was when I knew who was meant to stay. They never do fail me.
After the rescue placed the kittens in really good homes, I decided to foster for them. My latest foster kittie is a badly traumatized feral named Snowflake, who they hoped I could perhaps help socialize. Nobody else had much success. She is still here, and progress is moving, but slow. But if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have met the next member of my family, Little Big Man.
After a few days of hiding in the kitchen, Snowflake began to meow quite loudly all through the night. I thought it was a sign of her trying to communicate with me, and I'd meow back. She'd only do it whne alone, never when I was in the room, not until about 2 days later. I was doing dishes and heard her. Excited that she finally meowed with me in the room, I turned around, only to hear the meow and discover it was not coming from Snowflake.
I opened my sliding doors and sure enough, there on the porch, was a beautiful cat, cryinig piteously. I brought him out some food, and as he walked to it, I saw his ribs sticking out, he must have been starving. But he wanted nothing to do with the food, just with being held.
I had him tested, all was fine, and he became the newest member of the cat house. Seems he and Snowflake had been talking for about 2 days, and that interaction with Snowflake seems to be what brought him to me and kept him there until I found him. Cat Gods, you think? I do
It didn't take very long for me to realize this was a very special cat with an amazing temperament. I had recently looking into doing volunteer work with service animals, and it seems he has the perfect personaltiy and termperament for a therapy cat. What are the chances of that kind of match being made? There just has to be something higher than simple chance. Has to be.
So it is now the four of us, and Snowflake. And not once, not once, did I attempt or make any effort to bring any of this about. Seems to be how it always is with me and the kitties. Always.
Little Big Man has also turned out to be a great ambassador cat in working with Snowflake (and probably future ferals) and has even gotten Rocky helping to bring her around.
All are healthy, happy, playful, and fixed.
Deja Vu, after struggling for the first 9 months of her life to survive, now is very happy and content (and a bit too chubby) living the life of Riley on my soft, grey (mixed with black fur) recliner, begging for treats, fetching toys, waving hello (a trick I taught her) and playing with her son, her adopted son Lilttle Big Man, and watching them all play with Snowflake (and any new fosters that will grace these rooms).
Not bad, huh?