Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Tail Adoption Story: Fiona Espy




By Siri Espy, Communications Team


I can only write this because cats can’t read. You see, I tell my four felines that I love them all the same, but like many parents, I have a confession to make: there’s a special place in my heart for one of them – my Fiona.

Three years ago, Fiona was living in an unsheltered cage in a back yard. The yard belonged to a woman who may have thought she was being kind by capturing and feeding stray cats. When the woman passed away, Animal Friends’ humane officers discovered a dozen cats in cages, many loaded with fleas and lice. All of the cats were confiscated and underwent medical evaluation and treatment before being cleared and placed on Animal Friends’ adoption floor.

As a volunteer at Animal Friends, I have the privilege of meeting and befriending many felines as they pass through on their way to loving homes. Having recently lost a 17-year old cat, there was a vacancy in our home to be filled with just the right one. As I arrived for an evening of cat-petting, I was drawn to a blue cream Tortie with gorgeous green eyes. Thus began my love for Fiona. Fiona and I chatted several times, and her eagerness to be petted and loved won me over. Soon, she was on her way home with me.

he first few days were challenging, as Fiona struggled to adjust. Initially fearful, she scratched at a bathroom throw rug and mistook it for a litter box at night. I began scooping her up and carrying her to the basement to visit the box at bedtime, and put a water dish in the spot she was misusing, hoping she would not want to befoul a watering hole. She soon cleaned up her act, and has since been a model citizen.

Fiona is our “Velcro cat” – it’s sometimes necessary to peel her off in order to move around, although a lapful of Fiona is a wonderful excuse not to get up. She lives for love, with a firm and convincing head butt to the chin as a reminder. I have rarely witnessed the total bliss she exhibits during a chin scratch or ear rub, closing her eyes and positioning herself for more, more, more, more. As she’s curled up, safe and warm, it breaks my heart to think of her confined to an outdoor cage all alone, braving the elements. She seems so grateful for a loving home, and I’m grateful that we can provide her with the warmth and security she deserves.

In the evening, she’s careful to give equal time to both my husband and me, visiting one of us and then the other as we relax in front of the TV. Even at night she makes her presence known, lying on the back or tummy of one of her sleeping humans, or jumping on the bed, then walking across one of us to spend time with the other. My grown daughter adores and has threatened to steal Fiona. Her lease, which prohibits pets, provides me with some comfort, but I still listen for meows when my daughter packs her car to return home. I’ve assured her that when she can have pets, I’ll help her find a kitty of her own, but we both know there’s only one Fiona.

Although she specializes in love, my Fiona is far from one-dimensional. She can often be seen chasing furiously through the house with one or more of her feline siblings in mad pursuit of…something or other. She holds her own in the nightly feather toy games my husband hosts, and is delighted when I wear dangly earrings that invite a paw swipe or two.

Fiona and I make an ideal pair, both enjoying a cuddle as she lets me know that I am a very special cat mommy indeed. As she flops down, head butts and looks up at me with those imploring green eyes, I understand what she’s saying: “Love me! Love me!” Happily, with yet another chin scratch underway, I know just how to tell her: “I do, Fiona. I really, really do.”

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