On 2010 Thanksgiving my husband Brad and I went to Breathe Inn near Lake Roberts to have our holiday dinner --- that was before the place became Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery.
Soon after we started to drive home (we hadn't been on the road for even five minutes) we got a flat tire. Brad got out of the car and started to fix the tire when a cat went up to him. That cat went around and around my partner's legs and I guess I should add was purring the whole time.
He opened the door and the cat jumped in. He told me, "We are taking her with us."
A woman came out of one of the houses along the street. She told him that the day before a man had driven up and let three cats out of his car before turning around and driving away. She said she thought the guy may have driven there from Silver City. We looked but didn't see the other two cats.
Brad already had a cat so he said it would be mine. I decided to name her Clara after the dancer in the Nutcracker Ballet. Clara was content and quiet for all of the drive home.
The next morning he went out to buy cat supplies. We know that day is Black Friday and we never like to go shop then. But he made an exception and when he got back he gave me cat food, kitty litter, and bowls for food and water. As well as a large plastic container for the kitty litter.
First I set up the kitty litter. Then I filled and set out the cat food and water bowls. Clara looked at me the whole time but it was hard for me to know if she thought I did everything properly. .
I thought it was possible that woman was right and Clara had been living in Silver City before her trip. And if so I wanted to keep her in to prevent her from being able to return to her former home. But she was always able to sneak out.
It was not long before she returned from her adventure after watching me set up her cat area. She looked anxious and impatient to get into the house. I opened the door and she raced (and I mean raced) to the litter box.
Then I knew that she liked this place and wanted to stay -- she knew where the bathroom was and knew this was her home.
From the beginning Brad and I knew we were not dealing with a feral cat. She was pleasant and we could tell she was used to being around people. I kept wondering what the kids had done.
I made an appointment to see a veterinarian on Monday. Brad wanted a checkup to determine if Clara was healthy -- "We don't want to have to contend with the problems of an unhealthy cat."
On Monday we got to the vet's office ten minutes early and it was pretty soon when we handed over the cat to the vet. She turned it over and while she was looking at its underside she drew her index finger across its belly.
"I don't see it," she told us, "She is a female."
I was proud I knew what she was referring to when she said it. She went on to tell us she was healthy. I was pleased we wouldn't have to contend with any serious cat diseases or conditions.
And I was glad I wouldn't have to get into an argument with Brad about being able to keep her. I say that because even before I booked that appointment I knew I wanted to keep Clara no matter what the vet would say.
As we were driving away I knew I was glad I wouldn't have to think of another name. I guess I could have renamed the cat Clarence or Charlie but it was very nice I didn't have to make such a change.
I know Thanksgiving is about having a good time and being able to eat a lot of food. But also the day provides a time to offer thanks. One thing I have to be thankful about is for the cat my husband and I found eleven years ago (or for the cat who found us that day a decade and a year ago).
Now I assume, but really don't know, Clara is thankful for me.