Buying our first house provided lots of unexpected life lessons. We were young and had a lot to learn and I was eager and willing to get my hands dirty. Well, how can that not happen when you’re a rehabber right? After the black cat & skunk incident, my husband’s obsession was keeping those critters out of the dilapidated garage. Kuddos to him for doing just that, but–SPOILER ALERT–the displaced black cat went from garage dweller to living in my house and sleeping in our bed for 15 years.
Let me tell you, I was surprised as anyone that that even happened because I didn’t know the first thing about cats, since I was raised with dogs. Cats kinda scared me, but I love animals and apparently they love me. This black cat was constantly around my yard as I tried my hand at another new project–gardening. We locked eyes on many occasions, but he spent the whole summer slumbering under my evergreens (oh that’s cute!) and watching my every move.
One day as I was walking back to the house, this cat decided to attack my ankles. OMG! I know nothing about this cat and he’s going to give me rabbis? I asked neighbors if anyone knew who he belonged to. Apparently, it’s no ones cat. One lady told me she use to feed him if he came to her house. Great! Why isn’t he hanging around her house? So, in an effort to assure I wouldn’t get some dreaded disease, I took him to a vet to get shots. The vet informed us he was only 6 months old & in great shape. “If I were you,” he said, “I would keep him inside”. Oh, easy for you to say sir. I don’t feel very comfortable around cats.
Gradually, my summer garden activities created plenty of opportunities for this mystery feline to spend time with me. Then, one day it happened. While in the tomato patch, he rubbed up against my leg. He never came that close to me ever. Wow! What does this mean? Does he like me? Is this some kind of mating ritual? Is he marking me? Little by little, as the summer slipped into fall harvest we became friends and of course a friend has to have a name. So, we named him Irving–after a major boulevard in Chicago. We we no longer enemies eyeing each other from a distance. I was officially attached to my garden buddy.
Winter came to Chicago one night. I heard a meowing coming from my back door. The light illuminated the snowfall dancing upon the head of Irving. My heart sank. He seemed to be inquiring, “Can I come into your nice warm home?” My husband and I looked at each other and submitted to the fact he couldn’t stay out in this potential snow storm. “Just for tonight he can stay in the basement” he said. That decision solidified Irving living with us for 15 years. By day two, he was out of the basement and sleeping in our bed. Can’t tell you how much I loved that little guy–my first cat. He paved the way for allowing two more felines to live with us down the road. Guess what? I love cats and am so grateful God sent Irving into our lives. This was a lesson from HIM of stepping out of my comfort zone, but it sure wouldn’t be my last!