Sunday, November 28, 2010
Madison, Hope, and things to give thanks for
Today's blog post is guest-written by volunteer Ruth A.
I recall very clearly the first time I saw Madison. This summer I responded on behalf of HPC to a person in the community: a homeless cat she had been feeding had given birth to a litter of kittens. Her vet had suggested that she contact us. I went round to meet Michele, the cats, and see what we could do. A furry little black cat with piercing eyes appeared in the yard. Michele told me that this cat had been part of the mother’s previous litter. Born homeless, it made its way in the neighborhood somehow, eating from the garbage and taking shelter between the houses. It was trying to eat the food Michele was giving the mother cat under her porch. Michele shooed it away so that the mother could get the calories she so desperately needed – thin and homeless herself, feeding five babies.
Michele had found adoptive homes for most of the kittens, but I ran through some of the ways in which HPC could help. This was just the sort of support Michele needed, and we stayed in regular contact as the kittens grew. But I also suggested that we try to help this little black number. One morning I borrowed a trap from an HPC member and Michele picked me up. We set the trap and in waltzed the little black cat - no questions asked. Easiest trap in world history. Except for one hitch - the trap didn’t shut, and so out waltzed the cat.
We decided that we should let this go for a while – the weather was good and with Michele feeding it, the little black cat wasn’t going far. But something about the look in those yellow eyes that first day gave me hope.
Michele gave me regular updates about the black cat - it was hanging around for food; it was not running away when she approached; it was starting to vocalize, it was waiting for her when she got home; it was recognizing her car pull up; it was rubbing against her legs; it was letting her touch it; it was sitting on a cushion she left out for it; there would be no need to trap this cat, she would be able to pick it up and place it in a carrier.
Madison, namesake of the person who has done so much for her, is 9 months old but weighs less than 5 pounds. The last few days she has seen a lot of firsts: picked up by a person; put in a carrier; driven in a car; been indoors; visited the vet; used a litter tray; been brushed. She spent her first Thanksgiving safe and warm with a regular supply of food that she knows is all hers. She loves to be petted and brushed and she purrs a lot. She’s still a bit apprehensive but she’s learning to trust. And she’s a quick study.
I’ve spent a lot time these past few days thankful that Madison is inside as the weather worsens. I’ve also been thankful for people like Michele who notice and help the homeless cats in their neighborhood. And I’m thankful, as always, for Hyde Park Cats, because the hope in those little yellow eyes will not be disappointed.