This ragged looking old boy is Noah, our 15 year old cat. He fits in really well at our house these days...he's a little arthritic, his vision's not so great, and likes to lie around the house in his favorite chair! There's a bit of a story around our fur boy Noah. I've always been an animal person. I was raised in a family of animal lovers. Both of our kids love animals too and we had a few pets as they grew up - fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, a dog, the usual family menagerie. But no cats. My husband just couldn't stand cats...or so he thought. When our daughter was mid way through college (she still lived at home) she talked her dad into letting her have a cat in the house. My parents still live in Tennessee where I was born and they've always had a half dozen or so outside cats at any given time, like many families in southern rural areas do. One of the cats they called theirs was actually a feral cat. She was a beauty but she had never been touched by human hands. They fed her regularly so she took advantage of a good thing and made their grounds her home. Mother named them all she was Ellie May. Ellie May had a litter of 5 or 6 precious kitties in February 1994. However, in March there was a horrendous flood. Even though my parents live in a high area the flood ravaged the property surrounding the house. When my parents heard the water coming my dad ran out and carried the babies to a safe place under the house. The mother cat promptly ran to her babies rescue and moved her kittens back to the original spot, which was directly in the path of the water. When the rapidly moving water reached the little family the mother tried to swim with her kittens carried in her mouth to a safe place. The first, and only kitten she was able to save, was a snow white ball of fur, now red from the Tennessee clay earth. All the other kittens were swept away in the flood. Mother said she and Dad were heartbroken when they saw the mother frantically swimming in the flood with her tiny baby in her moth. When she reached the patio around the swimming pool Ellie May collapsed from exhaustion with her baby and my parents were able to take them both to a safe, dry place to recover. It was the first time Ellie May had ever been touched. Our Noah was that lucky little survivor. From that time on Ellie let her baby be cared for by my parents. She let them hold him and bath and feed him. Julie drove down to visit her grandparents weeks later and she fell in love with the tiny, fluffy ball of solid white fur. My parents offered him to us. Well, my husband wasn't thrilled about it but he finally gave in and said yes to a cat. Julie named him Noah, for obvious reasons.
Now here's the funny part of the story. My husband calls himself Daddy to Noah, he carries him like a baby in his arms, he shops for and feeds him the most expensive cat food, and he is positive that his fur baby says "hello" to him! When we leave town we have someone come to the house twice a day to care for Noah. My husband has become notorious in his preparations for Noah. There's always enough food for ten cats and there are a few pages of written specific directions, per Noah's preferences. He REMOVES the door to the basement to make certain the door doesn't "accidentally" get closed so Noah will have full access to his litter box. Our bedroom door must remain open so Noah will be able to rest on our bed, along with an article of our clothing so he won't get too lonely! This is the man who hates cats. Perhaps a leopard's spots CAN be changed!
Our sweet fur boy is probably nearing the end of his life now. We'll be so sad when he's gone and yes, we'll get another cat. Noah can't be replaced but we won't want to miss out on the happiness a warm, purring, furry little body can bring to our lives. Meanwhile, until that inevitable day comes, my husband and I will carry our fur baby around and let him sleep on our bed and supply him with treats and love him like the gift he has been to our family.
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.