I remember it very well-the night “Pepper” came into our lives.
Our daughter and son-in-law to be were living with us at the time. They had just walked in the door after visiting a relative for the weekend. My husband and I had barely said “hello”, when our son-in-law said “I told her not to Carine, this is not my fault!” and then I felt something warm drop into my lap!
I looked down and there was a month-old gray tabby sitting with me! He looked cute as could be, save his two front legs that were a bit deformed. He was crying and looking up at me. My husband’s jaw started twitching. But our 6 ½ year old lab mix, Sunshine came right up and started smelling him and kissing him. Then she wouldn’t stop kissing him. Love at first sight for the two of them.
Hubby and I, well-we (at this point) were not pleased. You see, it had been 8 years since we had had a cat. Our beloved (yet rather troublesome) Snowy had passed on and we swore-NO MORE CATS! Our daughter knew this little fact, all too well.
Yet, here in my lap was this cute, pathetic deformed tabby. And Sunshine had decided he was her baby. It happened in less than 2 minutes!
Our daughter gave us quite the sob story:
Mom, he and his 3 sisters were found in a tree with their dead mother. The lady who rescued them said she couldn’t keep them. All the other kittens found homes, but this one with his weird legs scared all the kids. She said this was his last chance for a home or she’d take him to the pound to be euthanized! Then she turned on the waterworks.
Okay, she was 23-but this trick still worked with us-besides, Sunshine was now carrying the little guy around as if he were her pup. She howled and goosed anyone who dared to come near him.
The next few weeks were not easy-he did several jobs of “leaving the leftovers of life” on my living room sofas, nearly made my husband fall down the staircase a few times and had ruined our family room leather recliners with his nails.
It was my job (per hubby) to “get that cat out of here”. Well, I tried- a lot. We called cat rescues who promised to let him live until a home could be found. I firmly told our daughter I just wasn’t up to training another baby at this point in my life.
Meanwhile, the little bugger wormed his way into our hearts and souls. He realized (wisely) that his “leftovers of life” better not find their way onto anything else but his two litter boxes. Sunshine decided she’d teach him manners, the way a good mother should.
The wind up: when our daughter and son-in-law were ready to move into their own place 6 months later they were going to take Pepper with them.
My husband (who now loved the little guy with all his being) told them “NO WAY! You’ll break Sunshine’s heart and Pepper won’t understand why you’re taking him away from her! He’s staying right here and that’s that!”
So they moved. Without Pepper.
It’s been a 6 years now. Sunshine still mothers Pepper and sometimes has to tell him what for, but doesn’t even want to stay outside when we’re not at home. She prefers staying in all day with him.
My husband and I love the little guy-can’t remember what it was like without him. He sleeps with us, mostly curled up in my armpit. His deformity sure doesn’t stop him from running all over the house, jumping on top of all the tops of the furniture or getting into all kinds of mischief !
I think our daughter rescuing Pepper was, in a way, a form of rescue for us as well.