Dear Nougat (a.k.a. Ginger),
You’ve had a hard two months. Likely the hardest in your short little life. You lost your home, your cat sibling, your three human siblings, and your human parents. You learned to survive on your own in the harsh Canadian winter with no reliable sources of food, water or shelter for the first few weeks. You roamed the freezing cold streets until you finally found a water dish, food bowls, and a cozy, insulated cat shelter with straw bedding on a porch belonging to two other ginger cats and their people. You endured bullying by hardened neighbourhood strays and bigger cats who technically have homes but who spend a lot of nights out in the cold with empty bellies. You learned when to slink off to the window well to let Felix have the warm spot between the doors, and when to hold your ground. You are such a resilient little creature. I have so much respect for you.
Despite all of the loss, violence, and harshness that you experienced on the outside, you always remained a gentle soul. I mistakenly thought that you were declawed at first, because I never really saw or felt your claws in action. You timidly accepted food and water from a distance, skittishly hiding around the side of the house at first, until we were safely back in the house. You slowly allowed the gap between us to decrease over the weeks, first letting me talk to you across the porch, then smelling my hand, then head-butting and meowing greetings to me, then sniffing Willow’s stroller or car seat every time she crossed your path, until you finally decided to jump right into my arms for cuddles this week, and to crawl all over Willow to cover her face in kisses. You snuck into the house and made yourself at home on the stairs, and I knew that it was the right time to coax you into a carrier to visit the veterinarian so that we could have you examined, treated, and hopefully find a loving home for you if you didn’t already have one.
You are a very lucky cat. Your human parents loved you so much that they had you microchipped. When we asked Dr. H. if she could scan you for a microchip, we were so excited to find out that you had a family that loved and missed you terribly. A family that had given up hope of finding you. Dropping you off at your home and seeing the children gush over you as you were reunited with your loved ones made my heart sing. You were home at long last.
Thank you for choosing our porch to claim as your own for the past several weeks. It was a privilege and an honour to gradually win your trust and affection, and to have you as a temporary member of our family. Thank you for being so gentle with Baby Willow and for playing “hide and go meow” with Tobi through the windows. Thank you for your patience when possessive Hana would hiss at you through the screen door to tell you to stop cuddling HER mommy. Thank you for reminding us that miracles can and do happen. You have left tiny ginger paw prints on all of our hearts and we will always remember you with love and warmth.
Congratulations on finally finding your way back home, Nougat. We will miss you.