It has been approximately two months since I gained a new housemate...namely a new cat! How she joined my quirky entourage is a funny and frankly lucky story, but it feels sufficient for me to say that I came home from church on a blissful and restful Sabbath afternoon and in less than an hour, my day had changed. An impulsive move and a lot of luck... brought a filthy, scrawny ball of energy that was soon hiding under my bed. And like my other three 'strays', she would hiss lightly when I lifted up the end of the futon. It was a funny image to see four cats in a line- three hissing and then Morianna sitting quietly and realizing that at least in this instance, the same mutual concerns of fear and and the unknown were able to allow a new, unknown cat to merge into my small herd with no fuss or territorial squabbling. In fact, you would think they had never known a time without each other. It was pretty amazing to witness and so I could begin to focus on the immediate needs- a bath was really essential as well as potential worming and flea removal and all that sort of thing.
So the next day, I began. After a trip to the pet store after my shift I began the semi arduous and struggling task of corralling the new member and bathing her. I named her Bellatrix – she reminded me of a character in the Harry Potter series, Bellatrix Lestrange, due to the amount of dirt, frizzy hair and the snarl marring her otherwise beautiful face. With a good friend, I managed to clean her without drowning us both and without a large loss of blood on my end. The amount of hair that came tumbling and shedding off into the tub was an amount significantly large enough that when pressed together, it resembled a small guinea pig. However, within a few days, Ms. Bella was eating, purring and quickly became an irreplaceable part of my household. Taking her cue from Morianna, I would find her waiting near the door when I arrived home or running cheerfully towards it to greet me. Treats given from my hand soon encouraged some good closeness and as her weight became more acceptable her fur began to shine and she began to use her new found energy more productively. (She is still too skinny, but she feels more 'solid' now; when I first picked her up she felt like skin wrapped around bird bones... totally light and easily breakable.) A trip to my favorite vet with shots and wormer and she is as good as 'new'... and she has been rechristened Bella as she no longer reminds me of that dark character in the least. Her clear relief at easy food and safety has really come out as she follows me everywhere and guides even my two most stubborn strays to do the same. Her physical beauty and her deep inner joy began to trickle out and now flood into the home environment and I feel her contentment when I come home. It's just a great experience everyday. Today she is at the veterinarian getting spayed and ready to hopefully have a good long life with me. I will truly miss her tonight.
So, I think its official. I am now a 'crazy old cat lady'. The fact that I also own a hamster only puts an even more interesting spin on the funny stereotype, doesn't it? But I feel content and happy. I love coming home to be greeted by two, maybe three friends and I find a little exasperation, but mostly joy in getting covered in cat hair with beautiful, purring sweeties rubbing on my legs and sitting on my lap and bed when I settle. Reading the scriptures next to a purring cat is wonderful for a few reasons. The soft comforting sound helps clear my mind for reading and real study. While doing this I have found that I focus longer as I am pulled in and I find that I don't want to end the moment. That time of peace and comfort has been getting longer as it has become not just something I have been told to do, but something I look forward to throughout my day. When I get home, I see an exciting and happy time about to open... and not the dark lonely nights that I used to feel. (I won't pretend that those nights are all gone, but they feel fewer and far between.) What a beautiful and wonderful gift! I am very grateful. :)