Shortly after my daughter died in the fall of 2016, a beautiful tuxedo cat took up residence under my house. I already had an elderly 13-year-old calico cat, Callie, and I was struggling just to take care of myself, let alone think about taking care of anything else. I tried to ignore that darn cat, but she just kept showing up. She truly was a survivor, and she apparently had decided that my house was the perfect spot for her to make her new home. She had an abundance of food with the wild bunnies, birds, squirrels, and shrews that also visited our property, and she loved to fish and quench her thirst in our pond. It was becoming more often than not that I would find her either cleaning her paws or sleeping all cozied up on the cushions of my patio furniture or just sitting there bird-watching.
She tried her best to be my friend. One morning as I was tending to my herb garden, she playfully ran past me and darted under the house. At that moment, I decided that if this cat was going to adopt us, I should give her a name and take her to the vet. It was official, Bootsie had found her forever home. There was only one problem . . . Callie refused to share her home with a new cat. One day as I opened my back door, unaware that Bootsie was on the other side, Callie actually ran out the door and chased Bootsie. Bootsie, out of what I can only assume was pure fear, ran for dear life. It was actually quite comical. When I picked Callie up from under the bushes, where she had abruptly stopped, she was panting like she had just ran a marathon. It was literally 15 feet across the yard. Poor thing had forgotten that she was an old girl.
Out of respect for Callie’s wishes I made Bootsie a home in the garage where she would spend her nights. I made her a comfy bed up high on a shelf, placed in front of a window, so she would feel safe and could watch the world. She played outside each day and I put her to bed in the garage each night. It wasn’t my ideal situation for her but at least she was safe from the coyotes and other predators in the area and Callie wasn’t having a heart attack stressing over this new cat invasion. I would cuddle with Bootsie for a while each night before I put her to bed and she became quite accustomed to this routine. During those cuddle sessions and even through my sadness, I found my heart swell with love for this cat. She needed me………………..and I needed her.
Sadly, about a year later around Christmas time of 2017, Callie became sick, we couldn’t get her to eat anything. We offered her everything we could think of to no avail. Eventually we made the ever so hard decision to put her down. More heartbreak……more tears. Ironically, the morning we were going to take her in, I offered her the one thing that she had an addiction for, whipped cream….and she ate it. We had stopped giving her whipped cream many years ago, because she drove us nuts wanting it all the time; even waking us up in the middle of the night, meowing for it. Although it didn’t have the nutrients that Callie so desperately needed, it made me happy to see her eat her beloved whipped cream as a last meal, so to speak. Rest in Peace old girl…
Needless to say, after Callie died, Bootsie moved into the main house and continues to make my heart swell. She has become a “Momma’s Girl” through and through. She follows me all over the house, waiting for me to sit down, so she can be a lap kitty. She appears to be very grateful for her forever home. She lets me dress her up for photo shoots… we go for walks; we cuddle.
Recently, after Bootsie became the ultimate curious cat and got herself trapped in my neighbors garage for two days without food or water, she has been grounded to the house. My husband and I were both so sad when we couldn’t find her; crying and worried that she had become prey to an eagle or coyote. She always came home for dinner. She always came when I called her. Not this time. Although she loved being outside during the day, chasing bunnies, birds and butterflies, we decided that it was better to keep her safe. She does get to go for walks each morning. If you can call it that. Some days she walks me all over the property and circles the house at least once, taking in all the new smells from the night before. Other times, she just sits on the step and stares at the pond……. FOREVER! Most of the time, she actually leads me to the door when she is ready to go in. She is one amazing cat, and despite the depths of sorrow where I often find myself these days, she truly does give me joyful moments!