It all started a couple of months ago when a pathetic-looking, stray kitten was found under my van. He was in rough shape and in obvious need of nourishment, love and a good once over by a Veterinarian.
The unfortunate reality is we are not pet owners. In the nineteen years that my husband and I have been together, we have owned a total of two cats (a brother and sister) who came together and in the end, left together. They were good pets but not fond of our screaming, unpredictable new baby and so after leaving many clear signs that they were not happy with the new addition to our family, we had to let them go.
Over the years, many people enthusiastically told us how “wonderful” a pet would be for Meredith. They would say things like, “I’ve read that children with cerebral palsy do really well with dogs” or “Wouldn’t it be so nice for Meredith to have a cat?” Yes, I suppose it would be but for most of the last twelve years, the thought of putting any more energy into giving care to another living being or thing, overwhelmed me and we just didn’t entertain the idea for more than about three seconds. We didn’t even have a plant in the house. I was serious about my caregiving tank being pretty much maxed out.
But the last couple of years have been a little less draining and I have been able to work more out of the home. My husband has always secretly wanted a pet but knew that it was a sensitive topic to broach.
So, this little kitten shows up and we try to find the owners but he isn’t claimed. The weather was rainy and windy so we provided shelter, food and water for him and I did what any responsible potential pet owner would do; I made an appointment with the Vet. As cute as he was, he wasn’t coming into our house with those manky eyes and dripping nose. I was actually warming up to the idea, though, and was feeling excited about introducing a kitten to Meredith. An hour before the appointment, our little stray disappeared, never to be seen again. Surprisingly, I felt a little twinge in my heart when he didn’t return.
Fast forward to last week when our friends posted a photo of a little stray kitten that had found its way to their doorstep. They were having no luck in finding the owners but hadn’t decided whether or not they wished to add to their pet family. After checking in with them and confirming that he was extremely affectionate, I offered our home if he wasn’t claimed. Five days ago, we became the proud human parents to a five month old male kitten. This is Tate:
To say I have fallen head over heels in love with this furry, sweet animal, would be grossly understated. I love him because he has taken to Meredith as though he was specially trained as a therapy cat just for her and then hand delivered to us. I am so incredibly amazed at how intuitive and caring he is towards our girl and she is equally smitten with him. When I am holding Meredith in my arms, he lies beside us and then reaches his paw up and places it on her arm. I am not kidding. It is remarkable. Her naps are more settled this week since Tate lies across her legs and she can feel his warmth and beating heart against her. Oh, and that purring…….just makes her smile as soon as he starts. They are a beautiful match and I am grateful they, somehow, found their way to one another.
Sadly, we learned after Tate arrived that one of Meredith’s caregivers is severely allergic to cats and so now that he has settled in so well, she has unfortunately had to give her notice. She is sad to have to let go of Meredith but feels the joy right along with us that Meredith gets to experience what every child dreams of experiencing and that is the love of her own pet.