I met her on a Monday
I met her on a Monday, and she didn’t have a name. She was only referred to as “Blue-Eyed Baby”. Soon, despite my objections to having a pet, she would be my blue-eyed baby.
It was my first night volunteering at the cat rescue shelter. My ex-girlfriend had invited me to give it a try. It sounded like it might be fun, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve always been an animal lover but never had a pet as an adult. Living situations and military service had always gotten in the way. Besides that, I didn’t want responsibility or to deal with an animal dying on me. I’d dealt with so much loss during my military career, including both my parents. I was wanting to avoid grief as much as I could, and the easiest way is not to get attached in the first place.
Normally, my ex-girlfriend cleaned the Kitten Room, but extra help earlier in the day shifted duties around. She and I would be cleaning Quarantine that night. They had just taken in a number of cats from a local animal control facility, so it was quite a full house. A lot of them were very cute and playful, but I had prepared myself ahead of time. I steeled my heart. I wasn’t going to fall for any of them.
I didn’t pay much attention to this “Blue-Eyed Baby” at first. The pair of brothers above her were wild and distracting. She was hiding back in her cage, shy and scared. She was estimated to be four months old, so tiny and scared. She weighed about four pounds, a beautiful flame-point Siamese mix, mostly white with little reddish accents. Her eyes were a sweet blue. When I took her out to clean her cage, she snuggled up to me for a while and purred. Eventually she climbed up on my shoulders and then bounced around the room. She was so sweet and adorable. It was hard for me to put her back.
As we cleaned the rest of the cages, she kept pawing at me anytime I got near hers. This shy little creature had clearly become attached to me. When we were done, I took her back out for another visit. She was so small that she almost fit entirely in the palm of my hand. I had been feeling my heart melting throughout the night. She spoke to my paternal instincts. She clearly wanted me to take her home, protect her, care for her, love her. My resolve was crumbling.
My whole plan was to enjoy these kitties and appreciate the fact that I didn’t have to take care of one myself. But there I was, asking about taking her home that night. I was informed that health concerns alone would make that impossible, not to mention the adoption paperwork. I thought of smuggling her out, but I decided to be an adult about it. (It also would’ve been next to impossible. People would’ve noticed, and I had gotten a ride to the shelter that night.) The next day, though, I made sure everyone knew that I was adopting her.
My next big question was her name. Her beautiful blue eyes made me think of my mom’s favorite singer, “Old Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra. My mom hated cats. I had wanted one as a child, but that was never going to happen. We had a couple dogs instead. So that ensured I’d have to name my little kitty after her man Frank. Being the beautiful girl she is, I knew she needed something quite feminine, and I chose Italian female equivalent of his Mr. Sinatra’s full name Francis. And so she was dubbed Francesca.
It took another month before she came home. She still had to be spayed and caught a little cold at the shelter that required antibiotics. Another week of paperwork issues almost drove me crazy. I had my house well-prepared for her. She had tons of new toys to play with. I was beginning to worry she wouldn’t make it home by Christmas, but then I got the call. Just a couple days before my mom’s favorite holiday, Francesca made the big trip across town and took possession of my house. A little over two years later, she continues to let me live there.
Drew Sheldon is a disabled veteran, blogger, and writer-in-progress. Raised by a single mother who hated cats, he is now the single father of a feline she probably would’ve adored. Constantly curious, he blogs about his journey to understand the rest of the world at www.swmseeks.wordpress.com