I Chose the Best of the Litter
By Glenda Reynolds
Working at the small mom and pop sign shop had its joys and challenges. The business was located in a very large warehouse called The Incubator. It existed in order to help small businesses in their new beginnings; however, the sign shop had stayed there passed its allowed time. After all, my employer had built separate office spaces for the business and owned some heavy duty equipment. One just didn’t pack all of that up and leave at a moment’s notice. It wasn’t a bad job. It did sometimes create a problem when an employee decided to spray paint something just outside of the office door which caused it difficult to breath. Fortunately that didn’t happen too often.
In the time of my employment there, a feral cat had given birth in a secret place of the warehouse. There was even a cat fight that took place just on top of the ceiling tiles of the “vinyl room”. Over the course of a couple of months, we noticed the little kittens running on the property. They loved to play in and around the forming tubes that were used for concrete columns. The mother cat was eventually caught and taken away by the local Animal Control. She couldn’t be placed in a home since she was wild. She had to be euthanized. Her litter of kittens ran loose for the moment.
One day as I sat at my desk while I paid the bills for the company, an employee asked me to follow him to the outer porch area. He motioned for me to look inside of a cardboard cement forming tube which was standing vertically. When I looked inside, a half of a dozen pair of little kitty eyes looked back at me. All of them had black fur with white paws, all except one. It was a male kitty with patches of gray tabby and patches of white on his face and body. He stood out from his little brothers and sisters. My heart melted. With a leather utility glove on my hand to protect it, I reached in as far as I could. I could only grab his little head to pull him out. He didn’t squirm at all as I brought him out. I placed him in a cardboard box until I could take him home. He was so scared that he stayed in it. I put my long sleeved jean shirt over a portion of the box in order for him to get used to my scent and to make him feel safe.
When I arrived home and parked my truck, I donned the jean shirt in order to conceal the cat until the big reveal. When I entered my house, my husband, Bob, was on his computer as usual. I stood in the doorway with a smile on my face. As I pulled back my jean shirt, the cat’s little head popped out.
Bob made a face as he said, “Oh, no!” in mock dismay. Whatever he felt for the new kitty would soon change in a month or two. They would become best buddies.
Our new kitty was named Rambo after the movie character John Rambo because it seemed like he wasn’t afraid of anything. Rambo would spend time outside with me as I gardened, trimmed the yard or planted trees. He would walk the entire perimeter of the backyard along the privacy fence as if to check that everything was alright in his world. Or perhaps he was in search of lizards to chase.
I soon learned that cats are creatures of habit. Some habits are welcome while others are irritating. Little did we know that some things we would allow, such as allowing Rambo to come and go outside as he pleased, would later make us regret allowing him in the first place. His begging caused me to resort in using a pair of house slippers with little monkeys on them. When you pressed a button on one of the slippers, it made a sound like a jungle monkey. Rambo would run from it.
Rambo’s habits that gave me joy were sitting on the floor behind me against my heels as I put makeup on for work; playing in the dark before I went to sleep; crawling on my chest to have me rub his forehead and eyes; and being sprawled out in Bob’s lap at his computer with a look of contentment.
After being with us for eight years, we noticed that Rambo was becoming obese. We just thought that he was a big happy cat. As many cat owners do, we left dry food out all of the time, his only source of food besides treats. He developed liver disease and diabetes. He soon stopped eating altogether. Force-feeding him only delayed the inevitable. He recovered for a few months until he had a relapse, causing him to stop eating again. We understood then that the illness was winning.
But I lied to myself. The vet will make him better, I thought. Maybe the vet could give Rambo another saline treatment to hydrate him. But as I sat there at the veterinarian’s office with my dear buddy in his carrying case, I realized that I had to let him go. I had to do the right thing. I went to the front desk of the vet’s office and made arrangements to euthanize him and dispose of his body. I paid for these services up front.
A large man took the case from my hands, disappeared, and reappeared with an empty carrier. It was all too professional and void of any sense of caring. I was in a fog. I walked down the hall to exit the building. Once I set foot on the sidewalk, a scream was wrenched from my body as if I had been stabbed with a knife, as if an unknown part of me had just woke up and wanted to be heard. I placed the empty carrier on the passenger seat of my truck. When I got into the truck, I cried and screamed some more. Knowing that I had to drive myself home, I finally pulled myself together and turned the key in the ignition.
How could a pet have such an effect on a human? Did I really choose him or did he choose me? Did God bring him into my life to teach me how to have fun? To love more? To care more? Try as I could, there were no other cats like Rambo for me to adopt either online or at the local shelter. I eventually found an orange and white short haired kitty that filled the hole in my life. Again, God brought another special creature into my life to heal me inside and out after a much needed operation. In the overall picture, God knows the desires of our hearts. Like James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of light…” I thank Him every day for these gifts, even if it is wrapped in fur with green eyes and a really mischievous disposition.