Adopting a Little Patience

Trapped in a steel animal shelter cage, the bewitching black kitten gazed at me longingly. Immediately I asked the shelter volunteer if I could see this adorable critter up close. As I held the pretty kitty with wide green eyes, she nipped at my arm. At that moment, I knew it was love at first bite and the beginning of my journey of adopting a little patience.

Having just returned from a spiritual retreat in Sedona, I longed for an opportunity to nurture a furry friend. Caring for this tiny pet would be a meaningful way to continue my renewed journey of personal growth. So, I processed the adoption paperwork and purchased supplies while Princess Purrfect slept quietly in her new cat carrier.

Driving with Patience

It was the beginning of a journey, alright. Little Hissy Missy quickly revealed another side of her personality when we entered my car to drive home. Loudly meowing while using the carrier as a litter box, she expressed her severe displeasure – not precisely the serene experience I had envisioned a few moments earlier. 

“Patience,” I exclaimed. “We’ll be home soon.”

Patience – there’s a good name. Maybe it will inspire her to acquire the virtue I hoped. No such luck; Patience yowled during the entire 15-minute ride home, which dragged like an eternity.  

Once home, Patience raced out of her cat carrier when I opened it. Curious Cat explored her new home in awe for nearly an hour, studying all the sights, sounds, and scents. In the meantime, I silently calmed myself while setting up her food station and litter box. 

A bit tired from all the kitty drama, I lay on my family room couch to relax. Within moments, Patience jumped up to greet me. She snuggled on my tummy as we enjoyed a nice catnap together. Now, this was the nurturing connection I sought. 

Trying My Patience

Hours later, I awoke to my quiet kitten’s soft purrs. Thinking she might be hungry, I carried Patience to her food dish. Choosing one of the ten free food samples provided by the shelter, I filled her bowl, adding a few treats. After a brief sniff, Finicky Feline walked away with her nose and tail in the air. Then I quickly oriented her to her new litter box. Again, she walked away. Espying a sparkly cat toy still in its clear wrapper, she reached for it with an enthusiastic meow.

“Patience,” I cried as she snouted my arm with a growl of protest, “Give me a chance to open the package.” Finally, I opened the package and handed her the toy. Once again, she walked away after a quick look.

“You’re trying my patience,” I cried with exasperation as Crafty Cat ran off to tug on the sheer curtains lining the patio door. Upon seeing a robin outside, she pawed the door desperately. In my efforts to distract the little creature, she gave me a mild scratch before she ran and hid. I then changed her name to Little Patience as I prepared a cup of soothing lavender tea. 

Cultivating a Little Patience

When Little Patience emerged a few hours later, I offered her four more of the ten free food samples the shelter provided me. Refusing all of them, she curled up and fell asleep in a little box on the floor. Maybe the little one has no appetite now, I hoped while turning into bed that night.

Little Patience pounced on me with impatient meows at the crack of dawn – one of the joys of my new journey. Slowly, I stumbled to her food dish to offer another cat food sample, then another, then another. Each time, Her Little Highness meowed with disgust. I grew worried when she refused the last variety of kitty food sprinkled with three different treats. Out of sheer desperation, I opened a can of tuna fish. No loyal subject of the Royal Catdom can resist that.

Eureka!! Little Patience finally showed interest. She lapped every bit of juice without eating a single flake of tuna. Then I remembered receiving a carton of milk specially formulated for cats from the shelter. Ravenous Rascal enthusiastically lapped my first pouring, demanding an encore tout de suite. I happily complied. After she finished the entire carton, I decided to lay in stock from the local grocery store.

We played cat and human for the rest of the day. Every time Bratty Catty found a new hiding place or knocked off an item from a table, she purred with delight—the final score: Cat 997, Human 13. I worried I would have trouble taking her to a scheduled vet visit at the shelter the next day. So, I reminded myself to be patient as I considered changing the kitty’s name to No Patience.

Losing Patience

Preparing for the vet visit the next day, I must have caught Little Patience off guard because I effortlessly swooped her into the cat carrier. Fumbling with the latch, I brought her into the front seat of my car. Somehow, Cagey Cat managed to release the latch, jump out of the car, and head toward the outside garage door. I attempted to stop her from running outside by closing the door, but she narrowly escaped. When I opened the door again, the little kitten was nowhere to be seen.

“Patience,” I called. No answer. “Little Patience.” I cried. No answer. “Kitty.” I tried. Still no answer. I phoned the shelter vet’s office to inform them of my situation. The volunteer suggested I lay some toys or treats on the driveway. For a solid hour, I enticed Hidey Cat with treats and toys as I combed every inch of my driveway, my yard, and all the areas surrounding my home. In the distance, I could see the busy highway. Feeling hopeless, I canceled her vet appointment. 

Finding Patience

Tears of devastating grief streamed down my face as I worried that a car had run over my baby kitten. Words could not describe the desperate ache I felt in my heart as I searched for Little Patience. Between choked sobs, I asked a neighbor to watch for my kitty. He agreed.

As sunset approached, I repeatedly called Little Patience, promising she wouldn’t have to go to the vet. I knocked on neighbors’ doors to alert them of my missing cat. After two hours of futile search, I realized how deep my attachment had become to her in a mere three days. 

Finally, I heard a faint noise while passing a neighbor’s bush. Standing still, I perked my ear. I listened to another quiet noise behind the bush. As I moved closer, I detected a distinct meow. Behind the bush was Little Patience. With tears of joy stinging my eyes, I eagerly reached for my precious baby and hugged her for several minutes. 

As I held Little Patience in my arms, I realized the true purpose of my personal growth journey to nurture a kitten. It was to teach me Patience. Why should a cat learn to be patient? And teach me, she did. We have journeyed together for 14 years. When Little Patience tried my Patience, I called out her name, reminding myself of my purposeful journey. Although we didn’t live patiently ever after, we did patiently form a loving bond that will endure in my heart forever after.  

Unpublished Work © 2022 Jessica Loftus

Photo was taken by Jessica Loftus

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