A Street Cat Named Belle
We didn't know where she came from- she had no collar and microchip.
It was 2005 and I was back at my parent's house in-between apartments. My lease ended in Old Bridge and a new lease would not open up until several months later in Piscataway.
Signs of spring were emerging from the destitute winter months. Nighttime was still chilly, but there was a softness in the air that made you think it was going to be okay. Warmth was coming - the flowers were around the corner. You just have to hang in..
April 12 - Walking little Coco, who was about 3 years old at the time, I was in mourning. It was my Mom's birthday today, but she had already been deceased for 4 years. It was a dark night, but lit safely with street lamps. Nonetheless, I felt as though I was being followed. Sensing something odd, I swiveled my body around to see who was following us. It was a little kitten - hard to tell the coloring and markings in the darkness, but I could make out a tiny furry face.
Creepy, I thought. Cats are creepy, was what I learned growing up. Maybe it was a cultural thing, but my parents never liked cats. They thought them as problematic and suspicious. Growing up, the only animals we were allowed to have were rabbits, which were perceived as small and less troublesome. Dogs were too much work with all the walking, barking and upkeep.
I quickened my pace, tugging at Coco's leash. We hurried inside.
The very next night, again I had the same sense of being followed. I turned around and it was the same cat! Weird, I thought again, but for some reason an idea popped in my head. I felt sorry for this little kitten and figured I would try to get it to the SPCA. Maybe they could find a good home for this thing. If I saw the kitten again, I promised I would try to get it to the animal shelter.
The next day, I was outside and walking Coco on our front lawn. It was broad daylight and I squinted in disbelief. The kitten skipped right up to Coco and myself. She was rolling on the grass and so close to us. In an instant, though I really had no idea about cats, I snatched her and ran inside, trapping her in the garage.
I managed to get her to a cat rescue organization working through Petco and they said she was actually about 5 months old and should get spayed. I said I would pay for the spay, but had no interest in keeping her. They agreed to do the procedure and find her a home. However, they asked if in the interim, I could foster her as she recovered from the spay procedure as she couldn't be around other cats. Reluctantly, I agreed.
I took care of the kitten for about a week - dutifully changing her litter of newspaper (instead of using real litter as it would have irritated the healing process), fed her wet and dry food from the palms of my hand. When it came time to take her in, I did for a split second think about keeping her, but wiped that idea away as though I were swatting a fly. I didn't like cats and I already had an adorable dog I was spoiling with Coach collars and Burberry jackets.
At the animal shelter, the admin gave me several sheets of paperwork to sign off. She seemed very jolly at the idea that this kitten would be adopted no problem! Well, all would work out well, I thought.
Can you please take her out of the cage? , the woman asked.
Sure, I said and grabbed the cat out of the cage. As I was passing the cat to the woman, Belle wrapped both her arms around me, frantically yowling and pressed her face into my neck. Oh my goodness, I still get chills and tears recounting this story. For some reason, I will never know or understand why, I calmly took the kitten and placed her back inside the carrier. I looked at the woman and declared, "I changed my mind. I decided to keep her."