When I called Virginia and told her Elaine and I were thinking of coming up to visit, she said it would be great to see us and that it was an amazing thing that I’d called because she had just the cat for us and, in fact, couldn’t think of anyone else better to adopt it. Virginia and I had been good friends in Brooklyn, where I still lived, and she knew that one night I jumped out of my car to rescue a starving dog wandering in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge-a white German Shepherd and Husky mix who then enjoyed a good long life shared with three growing children with whom she hiked, swam, and played.
“We’ll drive up,” I said. “It’ll be good to see you and maybe we’ll like the cat,” the “maybe” only added because my partner Elaine, who had never had a cat as a pet and was none too certain she wanted one, was within earshot.
We’d never been up to Love and Hope and Virginia said that before we met this special cat she’d give us a chance to meet the scores of other cats she sheltered and administered to. The spaciousness and spotlessness of the well lit cats’ quarters astonished us. (We had to put paper surgical slippers over our shoes before we entered.) And when we entered a room the cats came running, jumping down off their high perches, getting up from their cushions, and leaping from their platforms. While a few kept a cautious distance, most came to be petted, rubbing up against our legs and vying for attention, Virginia calling each by name and giving us its personal history-“found abandoned in a barn with his sister,” “picked up on the street,” “left when the owner moved”-the full litany of sorry stories that pets suffer-and who’s friends with who.
“So about this ‘special’ cat?” I asked.
“She’s been in quarantine to make sure she’s well.”
Quarantine, as it turned out, was a room just off Virginia’s office where she could keep a personal eye on her wards recoveries.
“I came out to the office on a day in late October,” Virginia says, “and there was a cardboard box at the door. But when I looked I saw that the box had been chewed through and whatever was in it was gone. Toward the woods I thought I saw a white kitten and started after it but it ran off and disappeared.
“As the weather got cold in November I imagined the kitten would never make it and just hoped it had found a protected place. Then, after a frigid three weeks, with a snow storm about to hit, I decided to go to the office and there, lying at the door, was the white kitten, thin, exhausted, but somehow still alive.
“I took her in-what was even more amazing was that she had had her front claws removed-and over the last month she’s become just the sweetest most affectionate cat.”
It was quite an introduction, and paced so well that by the time we reached the office door we were already in love with this cat we’d never even seen.
And then Virginia brought her out from the quarantine room, a pure white long-haired with a feathery Angora’s tail, nuzzling so close to Virginia’s throat that she could hardly pass it to me. I passed it to Elaine and the kitten nosed her way up Elaine’s throat, nuzzling her face, and purring loudly. Yes, Elaine said, I think yes.
I won’t try to tell you how much joy this cat we named, Luna, has brought to us. She’s every bit as special as Virginia promised: beautiful, smart, and very funny; loves people; and spends a lot of her day sleeping in her favorite shopping bag. And we have Love and Hope to thank for her.