We belong

A couple of months after my love died, I decided to adopt again. I went to a different shelter this time and found two rescue cats, a brother and sister, who had been there for a year and a half. Why didn’t anyone want them? Because they were ten years old and particularly shy. Not to mention, one had a bald patch from licking too much. And it’s impossible to compete with a pair of playful kittens! Still, I brought them home two weeks later. After a brief reconnaissance of their new surroundings, they both disappeared in the closet. Huddled up behind my shoes under the bottom shelf of the closet, they were barely visible. Every couple of hours I checked in on them, reassured them, offered them their favourite food, but they didn’t move an inch. I was getting dispirited when out of the blue one of them reversed out from under the shelf, nuzzled up to me like I was a long lost friend and started to roll all over the floor. Before long the other followed. Later that night they both cuddled up against me, each on one side.

The first couple of days the siblings tiptoed around the house side by side, hiding under the bed whenever they got scared. Each day they became a bit more trusting and relaxed. But then, around the fourth day, they started to growl at each other. And before long there were fighting. It got so bad that I had to separate them. Luckily, the shelter was very supportive and send someone to help us figure things out. They now have their own room and we are slowly letting them spend time together so that they can learn to be friends again. Needless to say, it’s been a stressful experience for all of us. But then there are these moments, when I see Minoes curled up in a corner of the sofa or notice that fuzzy hairs are appearing on Flip’s bald spot, and I realise that it’s all worth it.

Things didn’t work out as I had hoped. It’s always difficult to know when to keep going and when to admit defeat. When do you decide that no matter how hard you’ve tried, something simply isn’t meant to be? To listen to that voice within that says: “You are allowed to make mistakes”. Last week I finally admitted that I couldn’t deal with the cats fighting anymore. After seven weeks of three of us sharing a home, something had to change. It was decided that Flip would stay for a while, at least until his wounds had healed, and that Minoes would have to leave. Looking at this beautiful, innocent creature who hasn’t done anything wrong and tell her she couldn’t stay with me anymore, was one of the hardest tings I’ve ever done. And to put her in a basket and bring her back to the shelter. It just broke my heart. I know that I have to trust that she is protected and that she has a good chance of finding a new home, where she’ll be loved. So I held her tight and whispered in her ear: “Reach for the stars!”

How quiet the house suddenly was without sweet Minoes. For the first couple of days nothing felt quite right. Flip lost all interest in playing with his toys and desolately moped around the house. But slowly he started to find his way on his own. I kept thinking this would be a temporary solution, but without noticing we fell into a rhythm. At night he curls up in the hollow spaces of my spooning body, only to wake me up gently when the sun rises in the sky, climbs into my lap when it’s time for me to do some work, sniffs around my brushes and water colour tins, and always, always waits patiently in the window sill for me to return home from the city. Somewhere between nuzzling whiskers and soft paws, this little creature stole my heart. My doubts have disappeared and I simply can’t imagine him living anywhere else. To honour this new beginning as well as his past, I have given him the epithet Kizu. Meanwhile, Minoes has found a new home too. And so, everything will be alright in the end.

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