My Pretty Girl

May 17th, 2006. It was my 40th birthday and a friend and I were having dinner. We were discussing pet mortality; his beloved dog of 17 years had recently died, and he was having great difficulty adjusting to it. I was trying, gently, to encourage, if not an immediate adoption of a new pet, at least an open mind to the matter. Meanwhile, my cat Muddy was ailing with well-compensated kidney failure. My friend asked what I thought I would do when Muddy was no longer with me. I didn't realize at the time how soon that would come to pass, being, perhaps, somewhat in denial about my pet's condition. Muddy had literally found me so I responded that I would get another cat, but I would not seek him/her out; the cat would find me. This would give me a year or two to grieve and I knew that to follow in Muddy's enormous paw steps, the cat would have to be extra-special and if he/she found me, that would make it 'meant to be'. Little did I know at the time but, on or around that very day, my extra-special cat was being born.

Barely three months later, on August 10th, Muddy died from a stroke. Even being somewhat prepared for his death, it was devastating. I was inconsolable. Six excruciating days later I received a call from my friend's daughter, Chelse. She was whispering because she was calling behind her mother's back. It seems Chelse had found a kitten in the alley behind her house and, because they already had two cats, her mother insisted they bring the kitten to the shelter. She thought of me immediately and when she asked her mother if she could ask me to take the kitten, her mother insisted that it was far too soon after losing Muddy and she was NOT to call me. Chelse, who is normally a very obedient girl, snuck into her mother's room, looked in her phone book and called me. I was not even close to being ready for a new kitten but I remembered the vow I had made and I knew that I couldn't mess with destiny. I asked Chelse if she could bring the kitten to me and she and her sister came right over with Delilah.

Her pretty little 'no BS' face fascinated me. She was hungry for food and I was hungry for some sort of distraction from my grief. She was the exact opposite of Muddy in that she was young, female and full of energy, so I didn't feel guilty about replacing him. Every day that she was here, I felt a little bit better and started laughing about how she was not afraid of anything. I realized just how devoted to me and fearless she was when a frozen tube-shaped package of beef fell out of the freezer as I opened the door and it crushed my toe. The pain was so intense that I yelled out and cried and hobbled to sit down. She sat, for a moment, staring at me trying to figure out what to do, then ran off to the kitchen. When I managed to return to the kitchen, I found her attacking the meat tube, shredding it with her back paws. The next time I went to open the freezer, she looked at me as if to say, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' and got in an attack stance so she'd be ready for any flying meat! She seemed to instinctively know when I was feeling bad and when I cried about Muddy, she'd curl up in a little ball on my shoulder and dab my neck with her wet nose as if to say 'I'm here'. Delilah was exactly what I needed and she still is really in tune with my moods. She's not as constantly demonstrative as Samson is, but when I need her, she always seems to be right there, ready to cheer me up.

I had never thought of getting a Tortie before I met Delilah. In fact, I wasn't really fond of the look of them (gasp!). But Delilah changed all that for me and I found myself looking for information and pictures of them and developed a real fascination with them. Of course, after we started blogging, I found even more wonderful Torties (Tasha and Isabella primarily) to read about and now I'm hooked!

I'd like to thank Samson and Delilah for letting me write about them. I hope they let me blog again but I imagine they're so mortified with what Mom wrote, that they won't be taking any time off again in the near future.