This tale began on a warm, summer day in June. Every day my children and I would bike along a path near our home. On that particular day as we were riding by a patch of woods, I heard the strangest sound: a mixture of mewling and crying. I stopped and listened. There it was again, one of the most pathetic sounds I had ever heard. So I called to the kids, parked my bike, and headed toward the trees.
After pushing back some branches, I found a scrawny black kitten looking up at me. He cried again, his eyes wide. At first he stepped toward me, then away from me. It was as if he didn’t know if he could trust me or not. My heart just melted. I couldn’t ride off and pretend I never saw him. By the looks of things, he didn’t have much life left. Only enough to call for help.
I reached in to grab him. He must have decided I was trustworthy because he came toward me and let me pick him up. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with him. My husband had said no more pets after I brought home our last stray cat. But I simply could not leave this little black kitten here to die. So I came up with a plan. I would only keep the kitten temporarily, long enough to find him a forever home.
And with that, I called to the kids again and started biking home, the black kitten perched on my shoulder like a parrot from some pirate story.
At home, I dug out my other cat’s food and poured it into a bowl. The black kitten inhaled the food, never stopping to even chew. After a couple minutes, he found me and crawled into my lap. He watched me and I watched him. Then he reached up and placed his paws on either side of my neck. He was hugging me! All I could think was, “Bud, you can’t stay with me.”
Dan came home later and we talked. He knew my tender heart toward strays and agreed to let me find a permanent home for the kitten. So started a month long process of searching. Nothing happened. In the meantime, Vader, as we now called him, had started worming his way into our hearts.
As the month ended, I knew I was going to have to take the kitten to the pound. But then that weekend we had three people interested in Vader. My heart was torn. I saw how much my family, especially my husband (although he would never admit it) had grown attached to Vader. But we already had five animals. We couldn’t take in another.
Then everything fell through. The family found another kitten that fit their family’s needs. And I had made an agreement in my heart to honor what my husband had asked me, to find another place for Vader to live. So with a heavy heart, I text my husband and told him Vader did not have a home and I was ready to take him to the pound. My husband text me back and said Vader already had a home. We would be his forever home.
That is how we came to adopt a sweet, black kitty named Vader. He is one of the most loving, playful cats I have ever met. Sometimes I think there is a bit of dog in that cat. And although he loves all of us, it is my husband who holds a special place in that cat’s heart.
I love stories about stray animals. I think in some ways they represent us. We were once lost, but then were found, taken home, washed up, fed, maybe bandaged, and given a forever home with the King of kings.
How about you? Have you ever adopted a stray? Please, share your story!