“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” –John Ruskin
A few days ago, I hooked Anakin’s leash onto his harness in preparation for an afternoon walk. As we proceeded past my car, however, Anakin refused to move. I peered under the car, and there two eyes looked back at me. In the sun’s glare, I could see the face of a gray cat but little else. Thinking that the cat was one of our neighborhood cuties, I convinced Anakin to continue on with our jaunt.
The next morning my husband gasped in shock when he opened the door. There on the porch was the same cat, but he was better able to see the cat’s condition. Obviously a stray, the cat was extremely thin with a ragged coat. He or she was also understandably wary of people. My husband shared his experience when he returned inside, and we quickly figured out that it was the same cat. There was a new stray in the neighborhood.
Not knowing what else to do, we put out food and water for the cat. We watched out the window as the cat tentatively approached the bowls, eventually consuming everything that we had provided. Due to the cat’s emaciated body, we provided seconds and thirds that day. Our sleep was troubled that night thinking about our new little friend.
The next morning, I opened the door in order to take Anakin out into the yard. There, sitting calmly on the sidewalk, was the cat. He or she faced the house, seemingly waiting for us to appear. I took care of Anakin’s needs and then provided the stray with more food and water. This pattern has continued since then, with regular appearances of the cat at a watchful, but ever wary, distance.
I suppose that our little acts of kindness towards this one stray cat may pale in comparison to some of the larger charitable acts that I have witnessed. However, it has made two depressed people feel a bit more useful in this world. And most of all, I know that we’ve made a difference in this one cat’s life.
For more information on caring for stray cats, see this page from Alley Cat Allies.