Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A HOLLY-Day Miracle

A story that bear repeating- for all those who love cats, or the book "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" by Cleveland Amory- the only person I have ever met who was born on my birthday.

My striped baby is going to be nine in February. She has a very comfortable life right now with an owner who dotes on her, lavishes lots of love and cuddles on her, spoils her rotten with a weekly can of Fancy Feast, and provides lots of catnip mousies, a very occasional saucer of milk, and Pounces.

But she didn't always have a good life. When she was about 11 months old, she was dumped off at an animal shelter by an owner that didn't want her anymore. The shelter was a kill shelter. And she was heavily pregnant, with kittens.

A very kind woman in Mercerville, got a call on December 23 that this cat was going to be put down the next day, unless someone claimed her. The cat was described as nice, but heavily pregnant. The next day the cat was adopted, brought back to this home in Mercerville, and made comfortable to give birth. And because it was Christmas Eve, she was named Holly.

A week or so later, but in time for the yearly tax deduction, six baby kittens came into this world. Holly had 6 kittens, two were white with black patches, one was white with grey patches, one was a grey tabby, and 2 looked like Holly.  Their names were, Kringle, Joy, Noel, Merry, Vixen, and Feliz.
That Holly is such a smart girl....

When the kittens were weaned, they were placed in loving homes. But Holly remained - for some strange reason, unadoptable. The kind lady who she lived with would take Holly and the other 14 cats she had given temporary housing to- to adoption fairs every weekend in Hillsboro, but no one wanted her. The other cats came and went, and Holly spent the next two years of her life living in a small Cape Cod house with cats that would come and go.

During this time, I was hospitalized and when I came back home after 30 days and several ECT treatments, I picked up my then fur baby, a blue gray darling named Cleo with a white heart on her neck. Cleo was almost 18, and in December of that year, her health deteriorated severely. When I picked her up at the cattery, she and I bonded, but I noticed something wasn't right with her. The next day after I got home I woke with her in the bed, and I noticed her coat had gone from blue gray to solid white. Her heart was not visible. I took her to the vet, and the vet told me she was dying, her kidneys were shutting down and I should put her down. I got a second opinion. I went back home with her, and watched her the rest of the day til the afternoon. Cleo was still alert and meowing and purring but I could see she was clearly in pain. That afternoon my mother, father, and I drove somberly to the vet, and stayed with her - she was in my arms, as she slipped out of this life and went to the Rainbow Bridge. I went home with my parents, crawled into bed and cried. I was inconsolable. It was like she had stayed alive on purpose just long enough so she and I could have one perfect day together before she left me.

A month or so later, my fuzz ball came to me in a dream. She told me to stop grieving, she was very happy and she needed me to move on. She would be waiting for me where she is. And she told me there was a tan tabby that needed a home ASAP and I needed to call the shelter tomorrow morning and adopt her.

All this struck me as weird, and I forgot it when I woke up. I went into the city to meet some friends from out of town, and during lunch they made a comment to me about a dream they had about me and a tan tabby. Strange.

I got home about 3 pm and opened my email. And saw a note from my mother about the shelter having a plethora of cats that needed homes. i called the number, and later that night a woman got back to me. After a few questions- do I have a home or an apartment, do I have children and other cats- she said she had the perfect cat for me- a tan tabby that was almost 3. I told her I would take her.

The next day I went to collect the tan tabby. She made an awful first impression, she was shy, she went under the sofa, howling uncontrollably. My parents were enamored by some of the younger cats- I remember one was black and white tuxedo, and one was a moggie. But the kind lady said she thought the striped tabby was for me, and made me a deal. I I could take this cat for a week and if it didn't work out, I could return her. If I liked her, then I needed to go to Hillsboro and write out a check for 75 dollars for the cat.

We got the cat in the carrier, and she wailed the whole car ride home. And when I opened up the carrier when she arrived, I showed her where the box was, where her food and water were- she ran under the bed and stayed there for a day or so. And eventually came out. And several days later, started to explore me. By the end of the week she would sleep in bed with me, and allow me to pet her until she became a purr machine, or jump on the couch with me while I was reading, or watching TV. By the end of the month she was my best friend and I became hers.

She is my little Christmas miracle. She is my best friend, and she keeps me sane and happy. I love her so much.

In this season of miracles, she and I would like to wish our readers miracles in their lives too.

(The picture above is Holly at her last birthday party).

ETA: Svasti has a beautiful tribute to her fur baby Cleopatra here Her Cleo is beautiful, it's worth a read.


Southernbelle said...


You had me ricocheting from tears (about little Cleo) to cheers and laughter (about Holly!).

Wow--I actually got chills reading about your "dream" from Cleo, then all the other mentions about dreams of tan cats.

I think it is safe to say that you and Holly were meant to be together!!! :-)

I know how strong and comforting that bond is. I am SO THANKFUL that both you and Holly are doing well, after both going thru some really rough times this year. YAAAY for both of you!!!!

I love you both, and I am wishing you and The Striped One a marvellously Happy Hanukkah and a Joyous (and healthy!!) New Year!

Snuggle up nice and warm with your girl and enjoy the holidays!!!

And oh yes--that does indeed qualify as a "HOLLY-Day Miracle"!! GO HOLLY!!!!

Please give sweet Holly a big hug and kiss from her Auntie Patti, and tell her to give you lots of kitty hugs and whiskery kisses!

Love and hugs,

P.S. Mama and I decided to stay home for Christmas--we're both too exhausted to make such a long trip and all that, so we'll be home and vegging out lol! Love you and the Stiped One!!!

Southernbelle said...

Err--amend that to say, "The STRIPED One"!!

Duh me, lol!

Surgeon in my dreams said...

I hope you have a wonderful CHristmas as well. It can be a hard time of year. It has been for me for a number of years, this one being the first "good" one in a long time,but I always make it through.

Take care...

Merelyme said...

oh my god...i am bawling. what a wonderful christmas story. and what a precious and amazing kitty. our pets are such dear friends to us. i cannot imagine life without them.

i know i have not been so great about visiting and yet you still come around to lend me support and to give of your friendship. i am always in awe of you have survived so very much and still have so much to give. i am simply honored to be your friend.

give holly a hug and kiss for me. and i do wish you a peaceful and joy filled holiday. my thoughts and prayers are always with you.

Ana said...

What a beautiful story she has.
I'm glad she found the right person.
Happy HOLLYdays!

susan said...

@Southernbelle-thanks for visiting! I thought you knew Holly's story!
Miss Holly is nice and warm and has been snoozing under the electric blanket. All I can see is tail sticking out. But I hear her snoring so all is good. I guess. I will tell her her Auntie Patti and biggest fan says Meow!

@Surgeon- this is actually the first good holiday I have had in a few years too. And it's happier knowing I have friends like you who read me, and a silly striped cat.

@Merelyme- You made me cry when you adopted baby kitten Mew! I feel the same way about you- honored to be your friend. Give Mew a hug from Holly and I.

@Ana- I am making you an honorary cat person for the holiday. I know you have a dog, but you think like a cat. And I am blessed to have met you this year. Send some Brazillian sunshine to us, to melt the snow and ice!

Dano MacNamarrah said...

Susan and Holly,

My dears, it is an absolute joy to read of your friendship, blessed by Cleo.

May you have a peaceful and joyous new year, healthy and happy together.

Love to you, Dano, Nigel Nancyboy, Zebedee Minky Star, Henrietta Foundling and Gemma-Pooh-Bear.

Stephany said...

Wonderful. Happy Holidays, Susan and Holly.

Stephany, Koda, Sammy and the 2 birds!

Bless us all in 2009

Gianna said...

I've been cuddled in a ball with Kali most of the glad i have her too...

susan said...

@Dano, thank you! Love to your four fur babies, and Newman now at the Rainbow Bridge.

@Stephany, thank you. When did you get 2 birds?

@Gianna, I am glad your Kali has been with you. She is a beautiful girl.

Border Life said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, what a beautiful story about your loving kitties.

My current cat is called Cleopatra (Cleo) - you can see pics of her and read about how she came into my life here:

She was a little miracle for me as well. I spent a lot of time with the door closed to pretty much every one else. But she was there, of course. And she made things better. Still does.

susan said...

@BorderLIfe- AWw, back!

@Svasti, I put a hyperlink on this piece to your beautiful Cleo.
Thank you for sharing the story with me.

Larry said...

What a touching story.

Schumie was a Christmas puppy too (December 17). Her original name was Cinnamon (because she smells like cinnamon when wet -- the only dog in recorded history who smells GOOD in the rain); her two siblings were Starbucks (because he was the only "red," or coffee-colored pup in the litter) and Mistletoe (because she only had three toes on one paw -- "missing toe," get it?).

I could have kept the original name in retrospect, I guess (even though ALL of the countless dachshunds in my extended family have German names), because, besides her unique scent, personality-wise she is indeed like a spice but still sweet.

I guess if you're a pet lover, It's a Wonderful Life whatever your holiday season beliefs.

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