"The Belle and the Best Boy"
The Fourth Save of Christmas
My husband (then my fiancé) and I had been watching the rescue website for months, admiring Sammy, an 11-year-old shaded silver Persian. The bio said that Sammy had been admitted to rescue after his owner died. Purebreds had done due diligence, getting him a senior blood panel, a thyroid check, and a dental. Now he was ready for a new home. Sammy was in foster care in a small town near Sacramento, so we decided to make a stop there while on the way to visit my parents up North.
As fate would have it, we didn’t bring Sammy home on that day, because our heads were turned by an exquisite outgoing flamepoint Himalayan named Snickers. There she was on the window sill when we arrived at her foster mom’s home, her coat resplendent in the late afternoon light. She knew how to woo us, while Sammy—well, we caught him at siesta time. He stayed in the back room in his bed and didn’t seem interested in greeting us.
As composed as Snickers seemed when we met her, she had not had an easy time of it lately. She had first come to Purebreds in 2014 with a raging case of herpes, but with appropriate medical and loving care, she’d been restored to health and placed in what was supposed to be a permanent home. It isn’t entirely clear what eventually went wrong with that placement, but just a few months ago, Snickers had been returned to rescue, and unsurprisingly her herpes had flared up a bit. (Herpes is a condition that can be managed well in a stable environment, but stress can cause a resurgence of symptoms, and there must have been some major stress in Snickers’ household before she was returned to rescue.) Now Snickers was fine again, but because even going to a forever home is initially stressful for a cat, her foster mom dispatched us with instructions and antibiotics as a prophylactic measure.
Because we had been on our way to my parents’ place when we met Snickers, we proceeded to our destination with her, and the country vibe of Jainesville, California, combined with the Southern Belle elegance of our new darling, inspired us to rename her Leila-May.
For a cat with a stressful history, Leila-May adapted quickly to our family. Back in the Bay Area, window sills are still her favorite place to soak up the sun. She loves her treats, tells us when it’s time to eat, and keeps us in awe of her beauty. She remains calm even for grooming. We’ll never forget her first lukewarm bath–how sweet and petite her little frame was under all that fluff, but also how she didn’t even struggle when we put her on a spinning cat tree for a blow dry!
Time went by, and everything was going well at home with Leila-May, but we still kept checking on Sammy. To be honest, we felt a little guilty for not having paid more attention to him on our first meeting, and he was still posted on the website. It isn’t always easy for an eleven-year-old cat to find a home, even though most of them still have many years of love to give. He seemed like such a nice cat, and he and Leila-May already knew each other, so it wasn’t difficult to convince Chris to go back with me to that little town and bring Sammy home.
What a rockstar! When we first met Sammy, he had seemed uninterested, but he turns out to be the sweetest, most loving cat we have ever known. He loves everybody and everything. And he has this adorable quirk of sticking out his tongue when he is contented; the happier he is, the farther his tongue sticks out. He loves to snuggle in bed and seems to want to remind us constantly that he feels he has hit the jackpot in our home. I think we all have.