In the spring of 2010, I found myself the cat mom to this adorably cute, fluffy white kitten of maybe a few months old.
She had this gorgeous coat of white, pure fur, blue eyes brighter than any ocean and a cute little pink-frosted nose that would bump up against you as you slept.
She was also partially paralyzed.
The first time I saw her, her face was completely bruised. Dried blood and dark marks were covering her body after she had been attacked by a dog and dropped off at the vet's doorstep. Or at least, that's the story I heard.
She had been in the vet's office for several weeks when I found out she needed a home.
The day we got her was terrifying.
I'll be honest: She was scary to look at, at first. Her bright blue eyes were piercing, and it seemed as if she was looking right through you.
Her mangled body left her with her back two legs hanging behind her, and they would drag against the soft-carpeted floor.
It was difficult to see.
Fast forward a few days: I'm sitting in the middle of the bedroom floor, when her tiny little body crawls on top of me. She gently presses her tongue down onto my ring finger and lies down, curling up on my legs.
She immediately falls asleep, purring. Before I know it, I'm already in love with this little fur ball.
Sometimes, I'd play fetch with the dogs in the house. I'd toss a tennis ball down the long, narrow hallway with my back arched against the living room wall.
I'd hear the ball boom around the hall, banging into the wall and carpet, and that paralyzed cat would be running after the ball faster than you could imagine.
She could never pick it up, of course. However, if you threw something smaller, like a cat toy, she would dart after it faster than even I could run.
She would pick it up in her mouth and wait for you to throw it again.
She would climb onto the couch and recliner, and plop herself up on a fresh load of laundry I was waiting to fold (always a delight). She would look at me, purring, and I was amazed at how limitless she was.
She was smart, too. She knew her name. When you said, "Alright, let's go to bed," she would climb down from wherever she had climbed up on and follow you to the bedroom. She'd climb back up and fall asleep, happier than ever.
One night, I was lying in bed with my legs in so much pain, I felt like crying.
I was born with a spinal condition, which although corrected, left me with pain on some nights.
I lay in bed, restless, and I felt really sorry for myself.
Enter the cat. She climbed up, sensing my frustration and insecurities, and lay right in the middle of my chest, looking at me with her beautiful blue eyes. She licked me, made her bed and fell asleep.
I believe she climbed up to remind me that in life, we all have different obstacles to face.
But it's how we cope with those obstacles that indicates how happy our lives are spent.
That cat, early on, was given a rotten hand in life, but she coped with it.
In honor of National Cat Day, I wanted to share this story.
This is not only to bring awareness to disabled pets who deserve a loving home, but to show animals are more than just companions.
They can be sources of inspiration too. It just goes to show us, in the face of adversity, there is always a way to overcome and succeed.
You can never give up, give in or feel as if your life can't be lived to the absolute fullest, just because it didn't go as planned.
As cheesy as it may be, I'll always thank her for that.