Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sassafras

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This is Sassafras...or Sassy, as we call her.  Let me tell you about Sassy.  For so very long my girls have been wanting a cat.  But since we rent, most of the time owners don't want tenants to have pets.  So the closest thing to pets we are allowed are fish in an aquarium, which we do have, by the way, and we love them.  When we moved out to the farmhouse we thought that maybe, since it was a farmhouse out in the country, the owners wouldn't mind if we had a couple pets, particularly a dog and cat.  But no...they said absolutely no pets. 

Well, we went about moving and getting settled in.  As we would come and go we would see a couple of "phantom" wild cats.  They were so scared of everything.  As soon as we would pull into the driveway, they would be off like a shot into the woods or the garage or under an outbuilding. 

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The more we were around, the more this little black one became used to us.  And the trouble she caused!  She would get into the garbage and string it all over the place!  We finally had to get a couple garbage cans that had latches on the lids.  Even then she would get up on the lid and scratch the plastic bag to smithereens.  After awhile we didn't see the other one.  In fact, I never did see it.  The girls told me about it.  I think it was a calico. 

I decided to start giving Sassy some milk in the mornings to see if we could get close enough over time to hold her.  After all, she wasn't our "pet".  We didn't choose her; she chose us.  And she came with the place.  Of course the kids were ecstatic about this idea of befriending her. 

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At first she would cry and cry when we were outside.  It was like she wanted us so bad, but was still too afraid of us to come out of hiding.  We put her milk on the front porch, on the bistro table by the window so we could watch her.  She would only come up to it after we went back in the house.  Then she would almost stick her whole head into the bowl while she ate.  She would shake her head and splatter milk all over the window.  She figured we were a safe distance away from her and would watch us through the window, rubbing against it like we were petting her, smearing up the window with her dirty little coat and milk splatters.  Over several days this became her habit.  She would drink her milk and stay at the window meowing and rubbing up against it and purring.  She would come and go throughout the day.  She felt like she was part of our family, just watching us through the window. 

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It wasn't long until the girls were able to go outside while she was on the porch and finally they were able to touch her and hold her.  Then Sassy became their best friend.  You never would have known that at one time, only a few weeks ago, she was deathly afraid of people.  She went everywhere with them.  She would even try to get into the car when we went somewhere.  Like a puppy dog, she would follow the car out of the driveway.  It was like she had never been fearful at all. 

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Well...sadly, it's been several days now since we've seen our little Sassy.  Over the weekend it got down to -15 degrees outside (not counting the wind chill factor).  The first cold day, she spent almost all day on the bistro table by the window.  I put a small box with an old towel out there for her and she didn't leave it all day.  That evening we didn't see her.  When K put out her milk the next morning, Sassy didn't show up to drink it and it quickly froze over.  Yesterday it was warmer out (just above 0 degrees) so the girls bundled up and went out to see if they could find her.  They walked everywhere calling her, but didn't find her.  We are all so heartbroken!  We are hoping and praying that she is ok and just weathering out the cold somewhere nearby. 

We miss you, Sassy!

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