Dear friends, I have a bit of an amazing story to tell you, but unfortunately, it starts with very sad news from last March. Out beautiful, sweet fluffy ball of love, Willow, suddenly passed away and we are just heartbroken over it.
It was an enormous shock and unforeseen. Poor Willow stopped eating her beloved food and cookies and we knew something was very wrong. We went to our vet thinking it could be her teeth, given Willow's fairly young age- about 7 years old, but by the next day, we were sent to an emergency veterinary center and learned that she had advanced lymphoma.
These were the most heart-wrenching and emotional days that we have ever had. Willow went from her normal self to her body shutting down in less than a week. It was just so sudden......
I can't tell you how grateful we were for Willow's incredibly compassionate emergency vet and their gentle, supportive staff. They walked us through everything, listened to all of our "what if we did this..." questions, even though we knew that she was very very ill. We discussed chemotherapy, but were told in honesty that little Willow's body was not strong enough to go through it and that chemo therapy might only prolong her life, not cure her.
She passed peacefully, cuddled up and hugged by us. We were in shock and too broken to talk about it publicly, so I never said anything on social media. Mourning and missing our Willow was something that our family needed to do in private.
After her death, Jon and I were adamant that we did not want anymore new animals. We've been "pet parents" non-stop for the past 17+ years, and always to multiple pets. Willow's passing hit us hard, and we just wanted to focus on Noah and our other two fur-kids, Hector, our 15 year old cat and Josie, our dog. It has been nearly six months and we think about Willow all of the time and talk about what a sweet girl she was often....We miss her dearly
And then, just as suddenly, about a month ago, everything changed again.
The universe put her right down in front of us, in our own backyard. (Even though WE DIDN'T WANT ANOTHER CAT!) She almost LITERALLY walked into our back door, chose us as her family and made herself right at home. It was actually so absurd, that I like to think that maybe Willow, up in heaven, helped to orchestrate the whole thing. How else would a tiny kitten with no Mama and no siblings around, end up in our backyard and decide that she was determined to be part of the family. Friends, I'd like you to meet, ALICE.
Alice it turns out, was a 6-8 week old kitten that mysteriously turned up in our backyard one day, nearly a month ago. She had a little stick, with a tiny red handkerchief sack tied to the end. (Not really.) And she camped out in our bushes in-between completely antagonizing Josie while playing with all of her toys in the yard. Josie was REALLY beside herself seeing what she did as she looked out of the window.
We heard her tiny meows and immediately felt terrible for the poor, little thing. Our plan was to see if her family was near by. Several days went by and nothing, not a single Mama cat, no other kittens. Alice just meowed and played with the balls in our backyard..... AND FOLLOWED US AROUND.
It was getting slightly silly and worrisome, a tiny kitten all alone. So as soon as we confirmed there was no family near by, we went to work on figuring out how we could get her into a crate and to the vet and put up for adoption!
Being Alice, the Alice who already decided that she was part of our family, who would run around our yard and play and trail behind us- she easily got into the carrier and happily went to the vet. (Whaaat?)
Now we all thought that our vet would give her a check-up, run necessary tests, start Alice's vaccinations and put her cute, little self up for adoption in their kitty corner! What really happened was the vet gave her a check-up, ran some important rapid diagnostic test, like for FIV, took samples, gave her a couple of vaccinations and then JON RETURNED HOME WITH HER! 😂
I stayed at home with Josie, who was flipping out, and Jon just came home with her! He doesn't even know HOW, but it happened so quickly that neither he nor the vet talked about putting her up for adoption and the vet was so happy that were taking care of an orphaned kitty!
Let me just leave this here- one of my biggest fears is having a wild animal in the house. We consulted no less than two different veterinarians, a veterinary tech and a pediatrician about our rabies fear, our intestinal worm fear, and our everything else fear. They looked at us like we going a bit overboard and urged us to stay calm, everything was going to be ok.
We went out and bought a 100 pack of sterile gloves, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and a brand, spanking new tube of Neosporin, to be on the ready...just in case we were scratched. I even wrote Noah's pediatrician to make sure she thought all of this was ok, we were literally losing our minds. Then, we came up with what I think was a stellar plan, to create a screen to separate kitty from Hector and Josie and the rest of the house, until we had the all-clear on any parasites or other diseases. It also worked perfectly to let them get to know each other from behind the safety of a barrier.
I'm not going to lie, I couldn't bring myself to go in there for the first three days. I was afraid of getting too close. I couldn't sleep either. We didn't want the responsibility of another pet and I constantly thought, "what are we doing!? "
After a second vet in our practice reassured us that he thought Alice was completely healthy, and that it truly was ok that she was home with us, I was able to slightly loosen up, and that's when it happened.....
She stole our hearts. All of our hearts. Well, not Hector's yet, but he'll come around.
She's like.....cute, and friendly, and of all things, A LAP CAT! All she wants to do if play and then snuggle and nap on your lap! It's kind of pretty adorable. She's such a sweet sweet little girl. She reminds me of Willow.
Josie seems down with the whole idea too. She actually won't leave Alice's side during the day. They share tiny stuffed animals and Josie lets Alice play with her tail. I am making sure to take Josie on extra car rides and to give her lots of big sister attention.
Like I said, Hector is Hector. He enjoys sleeping, grumpily hissing at kitty, and pooping in all three kitty litter boxes to show everyone that it is HIS HOUSE. He'll come around....
We've fallen into a pretty regular schedule around here with her. It goes like this: we wake up Alice in her little room that she still sleeps in. She stretches and then runs and jumps and climbs around like a crazy monkey for the next three hours. The, in the middle of the day she lounges. Lounges on anyone who will hold her or provide a lap. She lounges and purrs and goes to sleep. We have never met a cat that purrs this much and is content to snuggle. It's quite amazing. Then, around 6:00 at night, she gets the "zoomies" again and goes blasting through the house until we put her in her room for night-night around 9:00 or 10:00. When she is a little older and not digging through our houseplants and teething on everything, then she can have her roam of the house at night.
Oh! I do have to say that Alice is also quite the satisfying eater! She has yet to turn up her nose at any flavor of wet cat food or kibble or cookie. It's kind of refreshing. She also PLAYS with every single toy that comes her way. She's just such an agreeable girl.
She works with Jon at the kitchen table too, and can already type 60 words per minute. She's a big help.
We think about Willow all of the time, and Jon and I still look at each other everyday and say: "How did we end up with another animal?" and then roll our eyes and laugh. Alice has been a healing, blessing to us, one that helped us to face our fears and makes us smile and laugh constantly. She helped us to open up our hearts again to more love.
AND EVERY TIME WE SEE A SQUIRREL FROM AFAR, OUT IN THE BACKYARD, WE PANIC FOR A SECOND, UNTIL WE'RE SURE IT'S NOT ANOTHER CAT. 😂😅