Monday, March 27, 2006

How Our Family Started

It was brought to my attention on "Blog About You Cat Day" that while I had written complete posts about Allison and Wrigley, I had not yet introduced you all to the one that got the ball rolling. Here is Nellie:

Nellie's story isn't as bizarre as Wrigley's or as humorous as Allison's but her story means the most the me.

Just before we moved to Florida, Dean and I contacted a feline rescue organization in the Tampa Bay area about adopting an adult cat. We knew we weren't up for a kitten right away since I had no idea what grad school was going to be like. I saw Nellie's huge saucer eyes in a picture on the internet and fell in love.

Dean and I got down here, settled in for a few days and told the feline rescue organization (which turned out to just be a married couple) to bring Nellie over any time. Both the husband and wife came over to our new apartment with Nellie, who at the time was only six pounds. They let her out of the carrier and she trotted around the apartment with her tail up, checking everything out. She was obviously comfortable already. The woman, Carla, marveled at Nellie's behavior and said she had never seen a cat act so at home so quickly. It was meant to be. It was my first time adopting a cat from a feline rescue organization. Carla made sure we knew that we could change Nellie's name to whatever we wanted. As with Allison, I felt that she came to us with her own name and thus identity. I sort of felt like I should respect that even though it is still undecided whether or not cats actually know their names. Plus, she looks like a Nellie.

It was not lost on me that the day they brought Nellie over was the two-year anniversary of the death of my beloved childhood cat, Chelsea. It was bittersweet. I asked Carla roughly how old Nellie was. She said, "Since she was picked up as a stray, I don't know for sure, but if I had to guess I'd say two years."

Carla's husband picked Nellie up, crying a little and said goodbye. I felt terrible taking Nellie away from this man who obviously cared for her, but he assured me he was confident we'd give Nellie a good home. And we have.

Getting Nellie also meant a lot to Dean and I as a couple. Though we didn't make a big deal of it, this was a big commitment. I had no idea how Dean was going to behave with a cat since he had only had one cat years ago and no other pets since. Dean knew I had an intense love for animals, especially cats. Moments after the couple left, Dean turned to me and meaningfully said, "now I get it." Since then he has loved cats just as much as me. And I love him even more for that.

That first day Nellie showed her loyalty for us by hunting. She grabbed a stuffed bear I had on a bookshelf that was wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey. A memento from Komisky park that my grandma had gotten me years ago. Dean despises the White Sox. When Nellie came up to him, carrying that poor bear by the neck and dropping it at his feet, Dean beamed with a fatherly pride. "That's my girl!"


Runner Girl FL said...

YEA NELLIE BEAN!!! I Love your Nellie bean!! :)

Note: that Nellie and I have an understanding I call her Nellie Bean and she calls me Jilly Bean. No one else calles me Jilly Bean. :)

Jackie said...

That's a great story!

And absolutly halarious about the white socks bear!

You're right, she does have beautiful eyes...

mom said...

i think you kept her name because it has spawned so many great nicknames... nellie bellie smellie nellie, nellie bean on and on. cats are supposed to have nicknames, (crabby abbey spacey gracie, halo potato....)

Jackie said...

Your right mom, cats are all about the nick names. My cat growing up was technically named Pepsi, but she also got, Rosie, Rose, FoodRose (don't ask me how that one got started). :)

Runner Girl FL said...

Well if I must, I'll talk about my kittes...

I have a Loki (Loki Doki) and a Saga bug (She's the littlest) and "The most beautiful stripey cat Freya" (such a princess sometimes)