August 20, 2013

Sheba - Our First


My husband and I had been married ten years when we moved to Boca Raton, Florida. We never had a pet, nor did we think much about animals. When I tell you why we started thinking about animals and cats particularly, you may get the impression we are not nice people.

When one of our sons came to visit, he brought along a new girlfriend. Lets just say, we were not thrilled with her. One comment she made during the visit stuck in our minds. That comment was - “I am very allergic to cats and can’t go anywhere near them, EVER.”

This got us thinking! We both had pets as youngsters and loved animals, but relocated so much with jobs, that we really never thought about adopting until her visit.

Two days later we went to a PetSMart adoption weekend. My first thought was I wanted a beautiful white, fluffy cat with big blue eyes. I remember saying that I definitely did not want a black cat.

Back in those days, the cats did not have the nice equipment, cages, toys, they have now, while waiting for a potential home. We looked up and down the rows of cats - watching them play, and yes there were white, fluffy ones with blue eyes among them.

A young man in front of the cages directed us to an end cage, on the top row - why, I really don’t know. When we think back, we still don’t remember why he was there, or who he was. He was not an employee. When we first got to the cage, we didn’t see a cat at all. She was hiding behind the box and was too afraid to even come to the front of the cage.

We looked at the card for details. It read: “Older cat, declawed, shy, but sweet, abandoned by family. My husband put his fingers through the cage and called, “come here, kitty.” From the back of the cage came a straggly looking black cat (which I later learned the real color was smoke) with dull fur and a very tired look about her. She locked eyes with both of us. My husband, David, asked for the cage to be opened.

The shyness suddenly disappeared and she let him pick her up. In fact, she nestled up against him and rubbed her head on his chin. We were, in an instant, in love with this little cat that looked like something that just crawled out of a dumpster.

After we took her home, we tried every flavor, brand, shape and size of cat food we could find. She was very thin and we wanted so to give her her health back. Nothing seemed to work. On the first vet visit, we learned she had very bad teeth - some were abscessed and had to be pulled. The bad teeth had also caused a massive infection that had to be treated with antibiotics. After treatment and several more trips to the vet, she was able to eat a little more, but was still very finicky and only ate Fancy Feast Fish and Shrimp and a little dry food on occasion.

Sheba turned out to be the most loving, wonderful family member anyone could ever hope for. Her spot on the bed at night was in the middle, where she could touch both of us with a paw or two.

The five years we had Sheba taught us so much about cats and how one living, breathing, little animal can offer so much to your life. We treasure the time we had with her. She died of cancer, which we didn’t learn she had until near the end.

We found Sheba - and now, abandoned, injured, and stray cats find us. We sometimes wonder if Sheba is sending them our way.

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Cara Jan & Anna


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