Both Sides of the Truly Story
This weekend marks the "Birthday" of our fabulous feline friend, Truly. Behold, the story of that day:
It was the Saturday before Mother's Day, 2009. I'd been home from the hospital about a week since my brain cancer diagnosis.
There was no adjustment period, it was as though someone had flipped a switch; priorities instantly rearranged themselves. It was Time To Take Care of Myself and it was a full-time position. For Boyfriend, too.
Which is what we were doing that lovely spring morning: Boyfriend and I were sitting on the deck drinking our morning tea, enjoying the scenery, sunshine and fresh air. We noticed a tabby cat come around the neighbor's house, stalking a bird. I reached for my camera, but the sudden movement took the cat's attention away from her prey for a moment. She looked back to the bird, but it was gone. As was my photo-op. Suddenly the cat's eyes lit up, and she bounded over to us, jumping right up on the deck to introduce herself.
Hi! I'm your new cat!
"Well, hello, little one," said Boyfriend, and we reached down to stroke her her tiger-striped coat. She purred with enthusiasm as she rubbed against our legs and jumped up on our laps. I'd never met a cat so instantly sweet and friendly. "I wonder who she belongs to...," I thought aloud.
Why, you, of course! Silly humans!
As we continued our introductions, we couldn't help but notice how bony her little body was under her soft fur. We hadn't seen her around before - could she be a stray? Left to fend for herself in the woods? "Where do you live, little one?" questioned Boyfriend.
Right here - I'm home!
It was already warm and the weather had been hot all week, so I fetched the little cat a bowl of water, which she proceeded to lap up. Just as we were considering breaking open a can of chicken for her, something caught her eye and she leapt off the deck...
...and we turned just in time to watch her skillfully catching and downing a lizard! Nothing finicky about this feline, I thought, and what a hunter! She was clearly in need of groceries, so back in the house I went to get some chicken...
Humans are so easy to train!
We had been talking about getting a cat, but that was BBT - Before Brain Tumor. The whole world was different now. Everything was different. Nothing mattered, but suddenly everything did. Up was down. Black was white. Needless to say, taking on any uneccessary responsibility, such as choosing and caring for a new pet, had been removed from the New To-Do List. We didn't have time for any more responsibility...
You're not getting it...
But the Universe had another plan, and the cat chose us. Here was this spunky, sweet, starving, little bundle of love in need of a home. Literally falling into our laps! But why us?
Because you need me!
Just when we were contemplating where to keep our little friend safe while we made sure she wasn't one of the neighbors', she jumped off of our laps and trotted to the back door. She stood up and pawed at the door, right underneath the handle. After the latched door didn't budge, she sat down, facing it, and turned her little face to look back over her shoulder at us. Her perplexed expression seemed to ask, "Um, should we go inside?"
Humans can be a little slow to get the message, even the smart ones!
Suddenly we were struck by the blatant fact before us; here was a fur-covered, bursting-with-love, cat-shaped friend, staring up at us, with nowhere else to go. We needed her as much as she seemed to need us, and what were we waiting for, anyway? So inside we all went, a happy family of three ever since.
We named her Truly because we believe there are truly no accidents. That she was truly meant to be our cat, and that she truly appeared at exactly the right time: Just when we needed an on-call nurse, healer, and furry friend. And if the timing of her appearance in our lives weren't enough, it didn't take us long to determine she knew better than us what we needed; whether it be cuddling, warmth, love, someone to talk to, distraction from work or pain, or comic relief!
Don't forget about all the mice I catch...
Oh, right, and she's a terrific mouser - a real pro.
Thank YOU, Truly.
Note: We live off of Paradise Road, in the National Forest above Santa Barbara. None of our neighbors had ever seen her before, so we gather that she may have been dropped off to fend for herself in the wild. We have a lot of wildlife here, including raccoons, fox, wild pigs, mountain lions, bobcats, and wild turkeys. Truly sits on our screen porch and watches the turkeys go by nearly every day, but shows no desire to go after them. And she is completely disinterested in going outside. Happy to have her "wild" days behind her, she is a very contented housecat and feline healer!