All my life, I have been an animal lover, but my knowledge of cats was minimal.

While attending university in Vancouver, my son, Ian, became the owner of a black and white stray. Named “Squibby,” this little soul was there for my son all through his student days, and they became very close.

When Ian graduated and returned to Toronto, Squibby came, too. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep the cat due to his new living arrangements.

My son knew I was reluctant to have a cat: I was recently retired and dealing with the grief of my sister, Betty, being palliative.

Still, he suggested I take Squibby.

“She’s so sweet, Mom,” he told me. “Squibby won’t leap on counters and scratch your furniture. She’ll even hang out with you.”

I doubted that would be so, but nevertheless I relented and suggested a trial run.

A New Friend
So one Saturday morning, Ian brought Squibby to my home in a carrying case and deposited her in my front hall. I couldn’t see her, crouched at the back of the case, but I found myself saying to this little frightened being, “Don’t be afraid, Squibby.” The truth of the matter was that I was probably more frightened than she was.

My son advised I set Squibby up in one room for a couple of days to give her time to adjust to her new surroundings. When let out of the case, she immediately ran behind the couch in the TV room and stayed put.

“Do you like classical music?” I inquired as I turned on the radio. “How about a little lunch?” I put bowls of food and water on a placemat, close to the couch. “Perhaps you’d like to see out the window?” I asked, as I drew the curtains back for her to see outside. All to no avail. Squibby was having nothing to do with me.

After a couple of days, I opened the door of the TV room in order that Squibby might venture out and explore her new surroundings. She managed that well, but continued to ignore me completely.

Three days later, my son stopped by to pick up some mail. As soon as he arrived, Squibby came out, and I heard her purr and meow for the first time. But when I ventured near, she quickly ran and hid from sight.

After my son’s visit, I went to see my sister. The visit confirmed to me that her life was coming to an end, and I was grief-stricken at the reality of losing my best friend in the world.

Heading upstairs when I returned home, I suddenly became aware of Squibby behind me.

“Oh, are you wanting to be friends? I really need one today,” I told her.

Having said that, I sat down on the steps leading up from the landing, to find a purring Squibby circling around behind me to come and snuggle.

That moment was the beginning of a strong bond between this precious intuitive soul and myself.

Feline Blessings
My brother-in-law requested I pay tribute to Betty at the funeral service. I wanted it to be special, and I spent a considerable amount of time in front of my computer, putting together the words I needed to say. But try as I might, I couldn’t read it out loud without breaking into tears. “God, help me make it through the service,” I prayed. At this rate, how will I be able to give my tribute in front of an audience?
Squibby the cat
The day of the service, I sat down at my dining room table to again try to read my tribute aloud to myself. To my amazement, I realized Squibby had joined me, sitting on a chair at the table like a real person, making no attempt to jump on the table and scatter my pages.

“Do you want to hear Betty’s tribute?”

With a little meow of response, I read the tribute through out loud for the first time without tears, as I did at the funeral service in front of a room filled with friends and relatives.

Whether it’s snuggles in times of concern, a morning meow of welcome, hanging out with me, or even swatting the newspaper with her paw when she senses my attention is divided, these are just a few of the blessings I’ve been given thanks to my little furry gift from God.

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