I’ve always been a cat person, but I married an artist who didn’t think much of pets.
I constantly nagged my husband about adopting a cat. Then one day, out of the blue, he picked me up from work and drove me straight to an animal shelter.
I was so excited that I could barely step out of the car. I was babbling non-stop, telling Dave that he could pick out whichever cat he liked best. I’d love any one, I promised. Old, young, fur-less, fluffy, whatever– I’d love him or her forever and ever.
The lady at the shelter was a dog-person and waved us into the cat area while standing at a careful distance. “Call me when you’re ready or if you have questions!” she said.
I greeted each meowing friend. They were all beautiful– some louder, some fatter, some strange– but all beautiful. I gave air kisses to each one as Dave analyzed them with the eyes of an artist.
I know how critical he can be when in that mode, so I reminded myself that it might take awhile to find the perfect cat.
At that exact moment, Dave fell to a dead-stop. His jaw dropped to the floor and he smiled as if seeing the most beautiful thing on earth.
I tiptoed around the corner to see who caught his eye and came face to face with a wall of empty cages. There was no beautiful woman here. There was no cat. There was no meowing, no swishing tales, and no outreaching paws. As far as I could tell, there was no living being on this side of the room at all.
I peered closer. Sure enough, there was a movement in one of the cages.
The grey background shifted. There was a cat in there, and she was the only cat who didn’t bother coming out to say hello. The only cat who was separated from the others. The only cat who had the colored notes on her cage indicating emotional and psychological problems.
Dave stepped forward with the unerring grace of a man on a mission and reached half his hand into a cage. He was met by a swishy grey tail.
He stood perfectly still for at least two minutes before the cat inside turned herself around to look at him. Her eyes were bright with distrust– yellow and feral.
“Hey, Princess.” he said, and I laughed at the nickname for this hairy bundle of grump and nerves.
To her, though, the word was just right. She reached over and put her hairy paw on his hand,and I could see the cartoon hearts in the air.
We took her home that same day and named her Perdita.
Before letting us take her home, the lady at the shelter warned us that she had been returned repeatedly, didn’t use the litter box, couldn’t meow properly, washed herself like a rabbit, and had street-habits.
Dave wasn’t impressed by any of that data. Neither was Perdita.
They both stared at the lady until she shifted awkwardly under the glares of those who understood what it was to be different, and the silence of those unimpressed with the missteps of the past.
“Well,” she murmured uncomfortably, “I just thought you should know about her troubles.”
What the lady didn’t understand is that Dave didn’t fall in love with Perdita in spite of her flaws– he fell in love with her because of them.
That’s how true love works.