This little gray girl has a tale of woe befitting a blues singer.
But, like the gospel singer for whom she’s named, Mahalia still lives her life with a song to sing and a joyful spirit. And, at every step of her perilous journey, there’s been a guardian angel or ten easing her along to where she’s meant to be.
First Mahalia was born into a setting no cat should face: the cold streets of homeless life in New York City. But at no time did she feel like a motherless child (er, kitten) – with doting mama Angelina caring for Mahalia, she had her first and best angel on her side. From the street they were scooped up by the largest animal control center in the city, a veritable Ellis Island for homeless NYC animals. In this cramped and crowded realm, the threat of euthanasia loomed large…but there were more angels waiting for Mahalia. Through a series of providential events, Mahalia and her whole family were spirited away two hours to Tabby’s Place.
Ordinarily, highly adorable kittens like Mahalia last for about 2.6 seconds at Tabby’s Place before being whisked off by adopters. But, again, Mahalia’s story would be a bit more complicated. Almost immediately, we discovered that our hamster-sized baby girl, her siblings and her affectionate mama were all afflicted with (cue ominous music here) the worm that isn’t a worm…ringworm.
So, it was back to our ringworm quarantine area for the gentle, timid baby and her family. The TLC was flowing freely between human beans and the Angelina Family during their weeks of quarantine, and a few brave adopters were interested enough in the girls to put on the regulation disease-control gown, surgical cap, gloves and booties required to visit the kittens in isolation. Still, there’s something about hearing that a kitten has (ominous music time) ringworm, and having to dress like a surgeon to visit them, that’s more than a little bit of a deterrent. And so, the wee ones grew larger and larger, still unadopted.
It was a gleeful day for human beans and kittens alike when Angelina and her babies were finally freed from quarantine. I was beyond giddy, as this was my first opportunity to hug and snuggle Mahalia and her family at any great length – something I’d eagerly longed to do since their arrival. As we’d hoped, it was only a few days of living in the lobby before Mahalia scored the heart of an adoptive family. Even better, they made it a two-for-one deal, scooping up her sister Tori, too.
But, the blues song wasn’t over.
That adoption was just about a year ago. As weeks turned into months, we all still fondly remembered our little gray girl and her sister, but never thought we might be seeing them at Tabby’s Place again. So it was with shock and sorrow that we learned last month that they would both be coming back to us.
It is not my place to pass judgment on anyone, so I won’t presume to analyze what led Tori & Mahalia’s adopter to bring them both back to us. All I know is that it’s a story as sad and heavy for us human beans as it surely was for the kittens.
But, then, these girls were no kittens anymore. A year later, Mahalia and her sister were leggy, beautiful one-and-a-half-year-olds, even more adorable than they’d been as babies. I ached for their shock of losing their home and family, but my heart sang when they seemed to settle in right away at Tabby’s Place. Once again, Mahalia’s hopeful spirit - not to mention those angels on her side – was buoying her up through all the troubles she’d seen.
As I type this post, Mahalia is a content and cuddly resident of our Suite C, the youngest and (arguably) most adorable resident in a room of 15. I don’t doubt a genuine forever home looms in her future, and I’m eager to meet the earth-angel who will become her adopter.
In the meantime, I’ll take comfort that the little gray cat who’s seen the trouble of the world is in the competent care of the One whose eye is on the sparrow, and whose hand is on Mahalia for good. And you can bet we’ll be reminding her of that with all the snuggles we’ve got.
Coming attractions: Next week, look for a post on Mahalia’s sis Tori, who found her own very happy ending this month by fitting into a perfect puzzle.