First she thought she'd pick the one named Bette Davis by the shelter staff, all gold fur and green eyes, coy, gorgeous, a fluffer. But when she returned to the shelter, one smaller cat grew brave for second, walked over, looked into her eyes. Her boyfriend said, "This one really needs a home." The blue flluffy cat, the almost-Persian, strutted and purred. That would have been too easy.
"What's this one's name?" my daughter asked, of the staff, about the shy little cat. But none of the staff had noticed her. Finally, someone said, "Esther." Like the Jewish queen.
She took home the small cat and renamed her Lola. "Whatever Lola wants..."
Lola was shy and skittish in her new house. Every time the heat clicked back on, and a rush of air came from the vents, Lola rushed to shelter. She acted as if she had never seen stairs before. She hid under the bed upstairs in my daughter's room, had to be carried down, at first, kicking and cringing. But when she was placed in front of the Fancy Feast, Lola ate. And then she returned to crunch on some old Meow mix.
Day three, Lola came downstairs on her own, and ate everything on her plate. She preferred paper plates to ceramic, as they were quieter.
Lola was a poet in her past life. She wrote haiku.
"I've chosen well," my daughter said, of Lola. Though of course, every cat person knows that the relationship is a mutual choosing.
Lola will get lots of toys for Chanukah--some expensive mechanized mice, for sure, some race tracks with mice running races around them when the cat taps the plastic circle; and she'll have some homemade toys as well--the ball of silver foil, the box with a hole cut on both sides for her to run through.
Not Bette Davis, more unassuming, Lola has a new chance at life. She doesn't know it yet, but she will be able to write her own ticket. She can sleep on the new cat bed downstairs, lined with my daughter's tee shirts, or upstairs on the bed with the human girl, or under the bed, in the safe, dark place. She can eat hard or soft food, good food without filler, and her water will always be clean. Like Bette Davis, Lola is a love magnet. Like so many young females, she doesn't know her own power yet.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.