Once upon a time … there was a cat.
She was abandoned. 
Pregnant. Again. 
Unloved. Unwanted.

She had no name. Her owners didn’t want to pay to have her spayed. 
They dropped her off at the SPCA without any information about her age or medical situation.
And then I met her.

She’d just had her last kitten taken from her that morning.
In a week’s time, after her milk dried up, she would be put up for adoption by the SPCA.

I gently put my hand in her cage. 
Let it sit there so she could get my scent. 
Immediately, she began to nuzzle my hand. And purred. 
And purred.  And purred.
The SPCA worker said “She’s chosen you, you know.” 
And so she had. 

No surprise what happened next … I adopted her.
Sweet, 2 1/2 year old tabby cat, she had no name.
What I knew of her life was sparse.
I knew that her before-life-with-me had not been easy.
I knew that she needed serenity in her life. 
I named her Serenity.

Gentle and serene, mischievous and playful, coy and curious, determined to go outside (I, just as determined that she would not), she has incredible agility.  She makes me smile and laugh and talk out loud to her and even sing to her!   My love for Serenity grew. And it grew quickly.

It didn’t take long for Serenity to adjust to her new surroundings. It didn’t take long for the two of us to adjust to one another because when love enters a relationship adjustment quickly happens.

But … so did my allergic reactions to her quickly happen. 

When I adopted her, I knew allergic responses could be a possibility, even though I’d been getting monthly allergy inoculations for more than five years.  The allergist said “You might be able to have a cat now, but the only way to see if you can have a cat is to get a cat.”

When Serenity came home with me, I tried to ignore the allergic symptoms and did what I could to counteract them: replaced the old vacuum, purchased an air purifier, kept her out of my bedroom. 

But the symptoms didn’t go away.  My throat itched. My eyes were watery. My chest/lungs became congested. I coughed more and more in spite of the allergy shots, antihistamines, oh-so-clean house and circulating air in the house. The symptoms remained. But my love for Serenity did not wane.

That love seemed to grow, day by day.  And with each passing day, I knew that my love for her would continue to grow deeper and deeper as time passed as I would become more and more attached to her and she would become more and more attached to me.

I was right. We bonded very quickly.

As the allergic symptoms increased, I realized that I had to find another home for her, and sooner than later, because of how quickly we had bonded.

Perhaps, in another couple of years, the allergy shots will have “done their thing” or scientists will have finished their testing on a substance that can be added to cats’ food and remove allergic symptoms for human beings and allergic responses won’t become a barrier to having a cat. When that happens, I will adopt again. But that is in the future. Serenity was here now.

The question remained: “Where could Serenity go where she would be loved and cared for as much as she is here with me?”   I checked with my son and DIL.  Both animal lovers, they have a dog and a cat (Pepper), but since Pepper’s sibling died, Pepper has had moments of aggression. They were concerned for Serenity’s well-being.  They wanted to take her, but …

So I kept praying.  I kept thinking about possibilities.

And then, an unexpected email arrived came from a FB friend.  “It’s been lovely to follow Serenity’s settling with you, and I’m so sad that your allergies are potentially a barrier to a comfortable life together … You said that your family weren’t able to take Serenity.  If you feel that you need to re-home her, keep me in mind … It’s a hard decision, I know!”

Understatement! But, I knew that I did need to re-home Serenity. I wrote my friend. She wrote back.  We exchanged photos.  We continued to email.

In my heart of hearts, I knew that re-homing her was the best solution to my allergic response to her … not only would she be loved, but she would have a playmate, Scout, who has been grieving the loss of his playmate since March. And so the decision was made and a date was set for Serenity and her new mom, Brigid, to meet. August 7th was the day. Today.

Early this morning, I skipped my time at the pool and stayed home to play with Serenity. And play we did! It was such fun! And then it was time to say farewell.

Her new mom, Brigid, arrived. She spent some time with Serenity, we had a visit and shared tea together – and then it as time for them to leave if they were to catch the next ferry to the Mainland.

When Serenity left, her Cat Tree went with her. How she loved it – playing, scratching, sleeping and cavorting with her catnip mouse and colourful ribbon wand. It was a very long car ride and when Brigid wrote to say that they were home and that Serenity spent most of the car ride “sitting happily on her cat-tree,” I was so happy that I’d asked Brigid if she could take Serenity’s Tree.

After Serenity and Brigid left, I went back into the house. The house was so quiet and empty. It was too difficult to be there, so I turned around and went out to do errands. And then I came home again … to the oh-so-empty house.

Grief is real. And it hurts. But this I know: Serenity’s soon-to-be-playmate and Serenity’s new mom will bless Serenity’s life.  This I also know – Serenity will bless their lives.  And knowing both of these things helps my sadness … a little.

Go with my love, dear Serenity. You have brought so much joy and so many blessings into my life in such a short time. To say how much I miss you … words fail.

© June Maffin