An Opal for an Opal
Opal is a beautiful young female black & white domestic shorthair cat who reminds me of my last dairy bull, moo-moo that I raised as a meat cow back in Southern rural Georgia. Their markings are very similar, he was a much loved animal too. It made me very sad the day that he left the farm. Little did I realize I would also be leaving the farm two months later.
Due to a toxic living environment, it became necessary for my granddaughter & me to do an emergency evacuation from our home in Georgia to Tallahassee, FL where we landed literally on the front steps of my son’s & his fiancée’s home. They graciously welcomed us with our 2 chihuahuas & their 3 cats. A few months later, my granddaughter moved back to Georgia to be closer to her boyfriend & we settled down to one pup & three cats.
My now daughter in law, Jaz, became interested in the group “Its Meow Or Never” & began to foster kittens at first. Oh my, they were so very cute, & so lively! They were such a pleasure to have around & so much fun to watch. The little ones always would put a smile on my face every morning as I drank my coffee & watched them.
Then, Jaz began bringing in some older cats. They were not adopted out quite as fast. Seems like most people preferred kittens over adult cats. In a way I could understand why. One of the cats bit me & it did give me a scare especially since it was right before I was to have extensive back surgery & I couldn’t afford to have an infection. Then came Opal.
Opal was special. None of the cats in the house liked her. She didn’t get along with any of the cats in the house. She did however, like the Chihuahua. Go figure. Fresh out of back surgery, in my room at night, I could hear this cat cry night after night & scratch up her room. I would think, “When are you going to sleep?” Several weeks after back surgery I started to spend time in the room with her & found that she was just lonely, kind of like me.
Little by little, we made bonds with each other. I would take time to give her love & attention. In return, she had to promise not to bite me. It was starting to work! Also, as time went on, Opal began making a truce with at least one other cat, Sousa, aka Russian Hat Cat, who is the kindest, sweetest cat known to man. She was a little put off by Opal’s new found friendship at first, but slowly the two began to form a tenuous partnership. Unfortunately, not so much with the other house cats, but we learned something else very special about Opal. She had a very motherly instinct when it came to fostering kittens.
Jaz brought home a couple of small, single, small kittens at various times, & each time, Opal would gently take each kitten under her experienced care, play with it, sleep with it, & even eat with it, helping each kitten to feel comfortable & welcome. She is truly an amazing foster mommy.
One day, Jaz was getting ready to go to a local adoption event. She loaded Opal up in her carrier & off they went. Nobody even gave Opal a glance at the adoption event & Opal came back a very unhappy kitty. I was happy to myself that Opal wasn’t adopted but now I had a decision to make. I started to do some soul searching…
Once again, a couple of weeks later, Jaz brought out the kitty carrier to take Opal to another adoption event. She went to retrieve Opal. I could feel & see the look of dread in Opals eyes as Jaz picked up Opal & brought her close to the carrier. At that moment I said, “No, don’t take her!!! Ill adopt her!! She belongs here in this home with us!!!” Jaz asked, “Are you sure?” And I answered, “Yes I am!” And now she is a proud member of our household.
In all these events that have happened, I feel that my life has come full circle & I have Opal to thank for helping me to come to that realization. I gave my son an heirloom opal ring to give to his future wife, Jaz, as an engagement ring. I feel that I received the sweet gift of Opal in return, more precious than any opal ring in my book.