Monday, May 31, 2010

A Tiny Cat Named Chevy

This is the story of a tiny cat named Chevy. Chevy’s life began about eight weeks ago under circumstances none of us are aware of, and her arrival triggered a change of heart for Bill, my brother-in-law.

Bill has never been a “cat person” and has voiced his opinions about the little bundles of fur many times. Sadly, three weeks ago, he had to say good-bye to Cocoa, his 17-year-old dog and long-time friend, when Cocoa left this earth following a long and pained illness. The day after Cocoa’s death, Bill went to work – he and my husband own a car-repair shop – and though his heart was heavy, he tried to focus on the tasks at hand.

Early in the morning, one customer brought a car in to get his oil changed and the moment the mechanic got close to the vehicle, he heard a strange sound. He quickly opened the hood and out jumped a tiny ball of fur, straight from the engine onto the chest of poor Bill who had walked over after the mechanic said he heard a sound.

The kitten was scared and hurt – his paw pads had been burned by the hot engine, but he seemed okay otherwise. Bill took him to the office and calmed him down, offered him a little water to drink and called a veterinary hospital nearby. Upon examination, the vet determined that Chevy – several customers that morning chipped to find the right name for her – was indeed okay and that her paws would heal just fine. She was only a few ounces in body weight but her spirit was that of a survivor; she eagerly sucked milk from a bottle for a couple of weeks until she could be weaned to kitten food.

And the sweetest part of the story? Chevy became Bill’s cat. He brought her home with him that day, to the joy of his fiancĂ©e and stepdaughter who had secretly wanted a cat for a while but didn’t voice their wishes in light of his dislike.

Last night I went over their house for a cook-out and got to see for myself the power this tiny being has over a big man hung up on his idea that he didn’t like cats. He took us to his bedroom where the kitten was safely playing away from people and dogs, he picked her up and kissed her, while everyone around was melting a little all over the bedroom floor.

Little Chevy had a rough start, and she had probably crawled inside the car engine to seek warmth during a night when temperatures got to be too cool for her tiny body; we have no information regarding the whereabouts of her mother or her siblings, but we know the trip she took could have been her last. Somehow she hung on, and through her temporary struggle she secured a nice, comfortable life for herself. She was hurt and scared, hungry and void of hope, but in a greater design, her fate was drawn in bright colors.

And, she was able to give a little something back. By entering Bill’s life at that particular time, her presence filled a bit of the void left from Cocoa’s departure. Chevy and Bill helped each other, though neither realized it at the time. For those of us who were fortunate enough to witness this situation unfold, it was the confirmation that miracles still happen even when we feel there is no hope left at all.