A heart-warming, true tale of adopting a shelter animal, by Cindy Beck
Poozer had disappeared. How do cats manage to do that -- just suddenly vanish?
We hunted for days, worried that a hawk had swooped down, scooped her up in his talons and eaten her for lunch. Or worse yet, that she’d been hit by a truck and lay under a patch of sagebrush, injured and hidden from sight.
We looked under every bush, turned over every rock. Well, okay, not literally turned every rock, because there are a lot of rocks in Wyoming. But ... it seemed like every rock!
Then it dawned on us—maybe she’d wandered afar, someone had picked her up and turned her in. Hurry, scurry, off to the Laramie animal shelter!
By now it’d been almost a week, and the shelter only held animals for seven days. When we arrived, the young man at the desk looked disinterested. As in, “Don’t talk to me. Don’t ask me any questions. I’m only here because the judge ordered it.” Yeah, that kind of disinterested.
I looked at him, hoping to catch his eye, but amazingly enough he stared at paperwork on the counter in front of him. Go figure.
Finally, I asked, “Has a white cat come in?”
Our young son, Davey, stood on his tiptoes to look over the counter at him. “Her name is Poozer.”
My husband, Russ, smiled at Davey, as I said, “I don’t think the man needs to know that part, sweetheart.”
The guy shuffled the papers and stared at a speck on the counter. Seriously ... how interesting can a fly speck really be? Finally he said, “Nope.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Well, do you mind if we walk through and look at the cats, just to be sure?
We walked in, and it only took a glance to see that Poozer wasn’t there. However, my hands itched to pet all the kittens. I had to stuff them in my pockets (my hands, not the kittens!) so they didn't reach out to scratch all those cute ears.
As we walked past the mewing balls of fluff, an attendant entered the room. I turned to him. “How long will these cats be here?”
“They’re scheduled for euthanasia tomorrow.”
My heart felt like it leapt into my throat and the only way to keep it down was to gulp. The thought of all those beautiful, purring kittens being dead in less than twenty-four hours made me feel sick.
I looked around, the tears threatening to form in the corners of my eyes. And then I saw her.
No, not Poozer.
I saw the ugliest cat anyone ever laid eyes on.
My heart went out to her. What chance did a half-grown cat have when her muted markings made her look like a lopsided jester? Still, we were there looking for Poozer, not there to rescue a cat that looked like she’d been dunked in cans of old paint.
As we walked past the cages again, the kittens tumbled and played with each other. When we neared Ugly Cat, she moved as close to the bars as she could, mewed, then reached her paw out and patted my arm as if to say, “Please, please take me.”
We never found Poozer. But, from the moment we took Ugly Cat home, she was the cuddliest cat in the house. Because of that -- and because we obviously couldn't continue calling her Ugly Cat -- we named her Cozy. She stayed the size of a half-grown kitten, and her colors remained muted, but her coat developed a sheen, and she never ceased to want to cuddle or to sit cozily in a lap. Her heart was filled with love for us.
Over time, the gruff, elderly gentleman who lived next door took a shine to her, and he’d talk to her when he went outdoors. She’d meow back at him and run to his porch, where he’d feed her fish heads (yuck!) and other "tasty" (and you'll notice I put quotes around "tasty") treats.
Cozy lived to a ripe old age. Eventually she passed away, and we cried as we buried the ugliest cat -- with the most beautiful personality -- on the back half acre where she loved to wander.
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"A Cat Tale -- Cozy, the Cat" © C.L. Beck.
"Cozy the Cat" graphic is the property of C.L. Beck, and may be found on other articles under her pen names. Please do not violate copyright -- obtain permission before using image or text.
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Tags: animal rescue, adopting shelter animals, cats, shelter animal experience, rescuing a cat from the pound