A Strange Cat
The cat showed up as it had done all week, and as expected, it did not touch any of the dry food set out in bowls like its counterparts. Instead, it dashed to the wrapped food, biting into the plastic bag before sprinting away.
She passed her apron to one of the other volunteers and followed the kitty, knowing this was her only chance to solve the mystery. What she discovered would shatter her heart.
Coming To America
Amanda Kim moved to Philadelphia with her mom when she was ten years old. Having spent her childhood in Lijiang, China, Philadelphia’s wild, almost endless concrete jungle took Kim by surprise.
She loved every new thing that being in America brought. But although she was having a good time enjoying all that the city had to offer, there was a big problem.
An Almost Ruined Childhood
Amanda loved everything that her new life brought her way. Despite this, she was having a hard time acclimating to everything. Language barriers interfered with her experience, almost ruining her childhood.
Amanda spent her first few months in Philadelphia without friends. Since she was an only child, she’d hang out with her mom to pass the time. She didn’t know how much these little moments with her mother would shape her future.
In Her Mom’s Footsteps
Amanda’s mom was a biology lecturer at the nearby university. Among her areas of interest were cats, a piece of her that she was sure to pass down to Amanda.
By the time Amanda grew into a teenager, she loved biology and cats just as her mom did. It wasn’t a surprise then when she majored in the subject when she started college. Her future was shaping up nicely.
As part of her sophomore year’s fieldwork, Amanda needed to volunteer at any local animal sanctuary, zoo, or home during summer break. What many would consider a dark cloud over their sunny break from school was heaven for Amanda.
She’d spent most of her childhood volunteering at animal shelters with her mom and couldn’t wait to finally venture out on her own. Unknown to her, a kitty was about to change her entire outlook on life.
Amanda started her first day at the local animal shelter with zeal. Among five other students from her class, she had volunteered to take care of the animals at the shelter.
The experience was more than she could’ve ever imagined. She’d done this countlessly with her mom, and though she loved every second of those moments, they could never live up to what she was experiencing now. But everything changed when the shelter moved her to a different post.
A Different Post
Before her new post, Amanda had been focused on ensuring the animals in the shelter were cleaned, fed, and given medicine if necessary.
But her supervisor wanted her to move to the vanguard of the operation, which included feeding feral animals that didn’t stay at the shelter. Seeing this as a new challenge to conquer, Amanda stepped up, not knowing what was about to happen.
A More Fulfilling Post
Feeding the animals that didn’t live within the shelter was hectic but more fulfilling. Amanda would hand out bowls of dry food for dogs and cats that came to eat. She’d also note the ones that looked sickly so the shelter could bring them in.
One fine afternoon, she was immersed in her duties when she noticed something that piqued her interest. One of the cats, a ginger-furred beauty, wasn’t eating her food.
Understanding The Cat
Amanda knew how hard life was for stray animals trying to survive in the city. The ones that usually found free food would chow down quickly and scamper away. So why was this cat staring at its bowl and meowing at Amanda as if distressed?
Amanda didn’t know what to make of the situation, but she knew she had to step in. She offered an overflowing food bowl, hoping to entice the cat.
It Doesn’t Work
But the food bowl didn’t work. If anything, it seemed to only distress the cat more. Amanda stepped back, wondering if the cat was full and needed some different kind of care.
She walked to it, eyeing it carefully as she pondered whether to pick it up. She could bring it into the shelter so a vet could look at it.
She Tried To Catch It
Amanda crouched before the cat. It was clean despite being a stray, and something within her pushed her to reach out for it.
But the kitty meowed and turned on its heels, running past the road and into an alley overlooking the animal shelter. Amanda stood back up, perplexed by what had just happened. Little did she know that she’d see more of the cat soon.
She Goes Home
Amanda returned to her duties, catering to other strays that came to the shelter. The day came to a close, and she went home.
Early the following day, she hurried to the shelter to clock in. She had forgotten about the cat incident and was ready to start the day. Little did she know that the cat wasn’t done with her.
How They Start Their Day
Amanda and her team started usually started their day by cleaning the shelter. They cleared the pens and kennels before bringing the animals breakfast.
At half past nine, they brought out breakfast for the animals that didn’t stay at the shelter. Although Amanda was new to this part of her volunteer work, she really loved it.
“Handing out the bowls of food was the best part of it all,” a smiling Amanda shared while recalling the moment. “Most people think of those animals as menaces.”
“I see them as loving creatures without homes. They need our love too.” Amanda ensured each bowl was filled as the dogs and cats came, ate, and left. It was then that she remembered what had happened the previous day.
I Hope To See Her Again
“Standing there, I remembered what happened with the cat. I wondered if I’d ever see her again,” said Amanda.
She’d always had a soft spot for cats, picking up after her mom in that way. Now that she’d remembered the little beauty had come and didn’t eat its food, Amanda couldn’t help but hope she would see her again.
Starvation is among the many reasons animals, pets or not, die out in the wild. The situation is even direr for pets that were used to being taken care of in homes but suddenly lost those privileges.
For such creatures, finding food in the wild becomes a harrowing experience. Amanda knew such realities, and the thought itself made her stomach churn.
A Confusing Cat
She knew just how hungry these animals were. She knew that most would do almost anything to have something in their belly.
The idea of handing out free food was heaven-sent for these animals. It was a Hail Mary for the strays that found it hard to hunt on their own. (canablue.com) Such a realization made the occurrence with the cat very confusing.
Amanda couldn’t understand why the cat didn’t touch its food. She was still pondering the matter when she saw something familiar out of the corner of her eye.
A ginger-colored fur ball was hurrying across the road, coming from the familiar alley where the cat had run into the previous day. Amanda narrowed her eyes toward it, and her lips parted.
The cat was back! Amanda’s heart began beating faster. She had spent the entire morning wondering why the cat didn’t even touch its food. She’d never seen such a mind-boggling creature before.
Now that it was back here, she knew she would solve this problem. She hurried to fetch a fresh bowl of dry food and offered it to the cat.
Amanda expected the kitty to dig in. She seemed hungry, given the way she was staring at the food. But despite the many times, it came closer to the bowl. It just wouldn’t eat.
Amanda scratched her head. She hurried off to bring a different colored bowl and poured the food in. But the cat just meowed before finally scampering away.
A Cat Person
Amanda had hoped the second day with the cat would be different. But the cat had done precisely what it did the day before.
She decided she’d talk to the best cat person in her life: her mom. That evening, she approached the woman with a frown and talked to her about the occurrence. As always, her momma bear offered her a way out.
A Picky Eater
“My mom suggested that maybe the cat didn’t like dry food,” revealed Amanda. “She knew some picky eaters and theorized that the cat might be one.”
Amanda spent the better part of the night pondering over her mom’s words. There was a truth in them that even she couldnt deny. If the cat were a picky eater, Amanda would offer something it could eat.
Amanda’s mom suggested she start with wet food to gauge the cat’s reaction. Amanda spent the next few days doing that, but the kitty wouldn’t bite.
She’d tried canned food, cooked food from home, and even different varieties of dried food. She’d given the cat food in different bowls, from brightly colored ceramic ones to dull steel and plastic. Still, there was nothing. But then Amanda had an idea.
Stepping It Up
There was one thing she hadn’t tried, and although the idea seemed stupid at first, she knew she had to try it at least. Amanda wrapped some dry food in a plastic bag and offered it to the cat the next day.
To her surprise, the kitty meowed in delight and bit into the bag. But instead of tearing it open and digging in, it bounded away with the whole package.
Amanda was stunned at first, but she knew something remarkable was happening. She took off her apron, tied back her hair, and rushed after the cat.
Amanda snuck after the cat into the alley across the road. She watched from afar as the cat placed the food bag down and began meowing, looking more distressed than Amanda had ever seen her. And then it happened.
She Finds Out
A smaller cat came out of one of the alley’s garbage cans, its fur the same as the one Amanda had followed. It purred up at the larger cat and scratched at the bag.
Amanda’s heart broke as she realized what was happening. The cat had been coming over to the shelter looking for food for its kitten.
She Should Have Been Keener
She recalled the many times it came to her and meowed, clearly hungry but not eating what she offered. She remembered the look in its eyes, the pleading that shone through its irises.
She had been asking for food for her kitten! That’s why she never touched the food in bowls but chose the plastic bag at first glance. Amanda hatched a plan as the kitten dug into the bag’s contents.
Amanda spent the next few days ensuring she packed a variety of nutritious food in a plastic bag for the two cats. The mom started coming directly to her in the second week, and soon enough, she allowed Amanda to follow her into the alley openly.
When Amanda first saw the kitten, it’d been malnourished. But now that two weeks had passed, the tiny cat looked stronger.
Although the food had been helping, Amanda knew she needed to bring the two cats in so the shelter could properly take care of them.
Amanda reported the incident to her supervisor, filling him in on everything she’d done and the bond she’d formed with the cat. The shelter immediately stepped in, taking the two cats in and caring for them.
A Big Happy Family
But it didn’t stop there. Amanda, who’d formed an unbreakable bond with the mommy cat, adopted her and her kitten. She was so touched by the cat, reminded of her mom and everything she did for her as a child.
She also formed a close friendship with the kitten, which had grown into a very active cat. Amanda couldn’t believe that her volunteering at the shelter would culminate in such good fortune!
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.