Friday, February 12, 2010

All you need is love ...

That's what the cute little sign hanging from The Butterfly's door says, and I'd like to believe it's true.

This weekend, to coincide with Valentine's Day, animal shelters across the U.S. have "Second Chance at Love"-type adoptathons. The shelter for which I volunteer is no different, and I was asked to make some valentines to hang from the kitty cubby windows. I had some fun with these puppies ... er -- valentines.

So it's probably a no-brainer that I'll end up your neighborhood Crazy Cat Lady, but the stories of the cats I've helped care for might help you understand why.

There was a tortie whose jaw was so misshapen, she had a hard time chewing solid food, so we only gave her soft. She was the sweetest girl you can imagine; she went to a great family. Her deformed mouth wasn't a birth defect. Someone had used her for target practice.

Chuck Norris is one of our current residents. He's 8 years old and huge, a big old Russian blue with the tiniest mew. He's very intimidating looking (only looking) ... which makes it all the more touching when you watch him groom kittens.

Padre is another old boy, only he's 12. He's 21 pounds of pure sweetness, an enormous two-armload of tuxedo-colored purrs. He lived his life with his sister, in the care of someone who just had to surrender them both because this person lost his/her job. It's a very common story lately.

I once saw a ruffled torbie girl. She was brought in by her owner, flea-infested and ravished. Cleaned up, defleaed and two full cans of food later, her joy could not be contained as she gazed that gaze only cats can do, purred loudly enough to be heard a foot away and kneaded her paws. She was 14; the woman who surrendered her said she'd had the kitty her whole life, but now the kitty was "boring." I left that day intending to bring the sweetheart home, damn the number of cats already in my house. Someone else beat me to it, and this doll will have the beauty and love she deserves for the last few years of her life.

Sometimes, it's hard to let their stories go. People can be so unaccountably cruel.

And then you hear the other tales ... Like the one about Stille Nacht. He's a beautiful long-haired black kitten, 8 months old and HUGE. His name comes from the white star on his chest, and the kind woman who finally managed to rescue him from the streets, right at Christmas time. She figured he must've been managing on his own for about two months ... surviving despite coyotes, cougars and cars. A little Christmas boy, gentle as his name: Silent Night.

All these animals need is a second chance. All they need is ... love.

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