by Betsy (aka Gina DeNofa)
My name is Betsy. And I needed to be loved.
I was brought into the ACCT Philly animal control shelter as a stray. For unknown reasons, my family had dumped me on the streets. Being in the shelter was better than outside, but I was not far from danger.
The shelter was getting more and more animals, and despite its size, the big building couldn’t maintain the never-ending flow of unwanted life. I was among the many, discarded animals. Sitting in a small steel cage, wondering what I had done to be forgotten completely by my former family. I still needed to love them, so why did they stop needing to be loved?
Finally, after over a month of watching people past my cramped quarters, a woman came up to me. At first, I was elated at this new change; someone was finally interested in me! I looked up, purring happily, waiting for the woman to open my cage and give me just one hug, just one head rub. . .
I just wanted to feel needed.
But this was not meant to be. I got a sense of sorrow from her eyes as she put something in front of my prison’s barred door, and left without a sound. I didn’t know exactly what happened, but animals can sense emotions that people tend to hide; but despite the efforts, you can’t lie to animals. We’re just too honest to misinterpret you.
A volunteer who came regularly spoke sadly to me. She, too, had noticed the teal looking thing that was placed on the front of my cage; a blank colored card that silently gives notice to kennel attendants to take the animals away. And it was then that I began to fully understand.
Not because of the curious card that seems to make the resident animals fade off from my views forever, no. I still don’t comprehend its meaning. . . My realization was from the regretful expressions of the volunteer who gazed into my frightened eyes. I could feel and see what she was thinking; the silent universal body language that helps animals and people connect without words or sounds. I now completely understood.
I was going to die.
I had no other options. When the volunteers express their upmost sympathy for a shelter animal, we usually are gone shortly after. I’m an adult tabby and knew that crying for pity would have been in vain and would only make the loving volunteers’ hearts burst into tears.
I could never do that to them. They care too much about us to be hurt. So I just did what was left. . . lie down and remember what life was like before I was abandoned. The long-lost memory was vague, but it was the only blanket of comfort my downtrodden heart had right now.
So when another volunteer came up to my cage, I barely gave her notice that she was peering at me. It’s not that I didn’t care. I just didn’t want to make the kind soul any sadder than she appeared to be already.
The woman ignored my stoic exterior and opened my cage. I was shocked this happened but didn’t let on right away; I didn’t want to upset her or give in to false hopes. I was going to die, and that was it. However, the woman kept making gentle sounds with her voice and then slowly put out her hand.
Wow, this volunteer was persistent. . . Her kindness was getting hard to ignore, and I couldn’t hold back my affection any longer.
I needed love. And this was my last chance.
I got up from my tiny cubicle cell that I used for a house and went to her outstretched hand. I sniffed her fingers, and when she touched my head, it was wonderful. Although I was going to die very soon, it was nice to have a fresh memory of being loved, and I could take that with me for wherever my existence would fade away to.
The volunteer closed my cage too soon for my liking, but I reluctantly accepted it anyway and went back to my tiny plastic lair. I gazed back at the volunteer who was staring at the teal card that was attached to my confine’s door. Normally, when volunteers stare at the small square object, I sense the emotions of sadness and hopelessness. But. . . this woman’s eyes were narrowed. . . and her breathing was fast but steady. Then I felt it. . .
Devotion and determination.
Confused, I watched with sudden renewed hope as the volunteer was quickly conversing with one of the kennel attendants who gladly nodded and pointed somewhere. The volunteer took my papers that were attached to my cage and rushed in the direction to where the now-bewildered kennel attendant had gestured.
I blinked as the door of the adoption room closed in seconds. I never knew people could move so fast! I held my breath as I waited. For at the time, I had no notion to what I was actually waiting for. But whatever was going to happen, it was good. Very good.
How I knew was from the other look of the volunteer who had originally given me the grief-stricken expressions just earlier. She was now showing contentment and relief in her eyes. If people could purr, this caring person would be purring with joy.
All became clear as the determined volunteer came back smiling. My green eyes widened when she opened my cold steel cage and had placed me in a blanket-lined carrier. I admit, I was a little afraid when I was put in yet another, even smaller confined space, but the sense I was receiving from the volunteers and kennel attendant was pleasant, and the woman who had put me in the carrier spoke with a reassuring tone. It was enough to calm me down. I wasn’t going to die.
I was going to be loved instead.
So, that is my story on how a tabby almost lost her ninth life. I now am in what people call a foster home. I have actual room to move about, play, sleep, cuddle and be. . . just a cat. I adore my foster mom, for I would not have stayed in this world without her heart’s tenacity to take me out of the shelter during my formal final 10 minutes of life, but I need to find a forever home to be spend my future days with. This way, not only do I get the opportunity to be cherished again, but also my foster mom can open her arms to another lost one who has no other options left. She promises me that I will eventually find a home soon.
Because life is too short, and everyone needs to be loved. . .
Betsy is a five-year-old white and brown tabby female cat in foster care via ACCT Philly. She is vaccinated, tested negative for FIV and FeLV, spayed and chipped. Betsy is a sweet soul and would be great around gentle children. She needs to be the only cat, unless that resident cat or dog is mellow and will give her space. She is low-maintenance and would be great for an apartment or older person. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or watch her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UgbIsVKKCo