I remember adopting my beloved black kitty like it was yesterday.
The year was 2012 and I had recently turned twenty-one years old. It was summertime. I was enjoying my summer break from college and enjoying some fun in the sun with my friends.
After another long day at my retail job, I came home and my parents told me about a cat they'd seen that was up for adoption when they were at the pet store earlier that day.
"Jenna, you'd love this cat. She's absolutely adorable. You should've seen her!"
They gushed over this cat like she was the last cat on Earth or like she was the jackpot in the Cat Lottery. Like she was the Oprah or the Queen Elizabeth II of all cats.
I've loved cats my entire life. I'm pretty sure I am a cat myself, in a sense anyway. But, at first, I was a little hesitant. I was hesitant because if this cat was truly that amazing, she must've already been spoken for, right?
"She sounds amazing. I guess I can go down there and look at her."
I quickly changed out of my work uniform, hopped back in my late 90s Toyota Camry, and raced down to the pet store.
"If this cat was supposed to be my cat, I'd get to see her," I told myself on the way there.
Rushing through the front door, probably knocking down everyone in my immediate path, I ran back to the far left side of the store, where the cats were housed and displayed for adoption.
And there she was, a couple of windows down: The beautiful, chonky black cat my parents had told me all about. Her name was Moxie.
I stood there staring at her, Moxie's yellow-green eyes staring right back at me. Before I even adopted her, I could see she had a nervous nature to her personality, but I also knew she had a lot of love to give. I could see it in her eyes.
The volunteer, Jane, for the organization (The Nine Lives Foundation), looked at Moxie and I staring at one another. I looked up at the volunteer while pointing at Moxie, mouthing, "Can I see her?" Jane gestured to her left, signaling me to come to the door.
I ran to the door, jumping up and down like a five-year-old high on a Halloween night sugar rush. She started by saying, "I'm sorry but," and I went blank. I was so scared she'd be spoken for and here it was, my exact fear coming to fruition. Then, I fully processed what she'd said.
"Huh? What was that?"
"I'm sorry, but you have to sign-up for an appointment to meet her."
Oh. Well. That I can do. "There's no way I can possibly see her for a quick bit today, can I? Please?"
"No, I'm sorry. But, lucky for you, you'll be the first person signed up on the appointment list to meet her."
I had work the next day, but I was off around two in the afternoon. After confirming that the date and time would work with both my and Jane's schedules, the appointment was set for three o'clock the next day. I'd get to meet this adorable black kitty in person tomorrow.
"Thank you so much! I'll see you tomorrow at three."
"Great. See you then."
After everything was in order, I went back to Moxie's window and we stared at one another again. Putting my hand gently up to the glass, I told her I'd see her tomorrow.
As usual, the workday was long and boring and difficult. That's working in retail summed up in a few sweet words. But that workday, the "Meet and Greet" appointment day, was much, much longer than usual. Time seemed to drag on twice as slow as usual. Maybe even slower than that!
When two-thirty rolled around, I ran to the time clock to end my shift, then to my locker to grab my purse, ran out the door shortly after, and scrambled into my light blue Camry.
I raced out of the parking lot and to the pet store a few miles away like I was the lead star in a new Fast and Furious film. I'm pretty sure I drifted into my parking spot once I got in the lot.
Barreling through the pet store over to the cats up for adoption section even more ferociously than I had the day prior, I waited by the door I was instructed to go to yesterday. Again, I was bouncing up and down like a child. Only this time, like a child experiencing a sugar rush on speed and steroids. I was so bouncy and hyper, I'm surprised the volunteer actually let me in to meet her.
"Come on in, Jenna. Have a seat and I'll bring her right in."
Jane locked the door behind me, so no one could accidentally open it and possibly have any cats go M.I.A.
A few moments later, I saw Jane holding Moxie as she brought her in. Moxie was breathing heavy, but also purring the loudest I've ever heard a cat purr. When I held her, I noticed the silliest thing about her: her head was the tiniest head I've ever seen on a full-grown cat. She was absolutely adorable.
Tears swelled in my eyes. She was scared, as I expected. But looking at her and locking eyes with her, I just knew in my heart she was my cat. In her eyes, I could tell she knew I was her human too.
"I have to make a phone call."
I picked up my phone and told my parents how much I loved this cat, how badly I had to have her. It didn't take too much convincing, since they already liked her themselves. But, I begged and begged anyway.
"Alright, Jenna. We can get her."
"Yes!! Thank you, thank you!"
After getting confirmation from my parents that I could adopt her, I told Jane I'd take her. She got my information and told me she'd personally bring Moxie and her belongings to my home whenever our schedules lined up. I told her I'd be able to the next day if she could. Unfortunately, she wasn't working that day but would be able to the day after that.
"That's perfect. Whenever I can get her. Thank you."
The day ended and so did the next, as they always do. And finally, the adoption of my four-legged best friend was here.
Jane brought Moxie inside in a crate along with a few toys and a pink blanket and a matching pink bed. She also brought the food she'd been eating as well as her medical info and some pictures of Moxie.
We brought her into one of our bathrooms with a bowl of water and some of her food. The poor thing couldn't stop breathing heavily and hid in the corner, between the toilet and bathtub.
"It's ok. Don't you remember me?" I lightly stuck my right hand out. She barely sniffed it and hunkered away in the corner.
I knew this cat and I had a special bond. I could feel it in my heart. She wasn't afraid of me. She was afraid of the new, of the unknown.
"I know you're scared, but I love you. I'm so happy you're a part of our family now."
I left the bathroom, periodically checking in on her throughout the day. Every time I'd come in, she'd run into her corner.
After a few days, my mom decided that Moxie should be in my room. So, we moved her bowls, toys, bedding, and a litter box into my room.
The first night she was in my room surprised me. I was watching one of my favorite shows, and this curious little cat stood herself up against the TV stand, and stared at the screen. She liked to watch TV!
When I initially went to sleep, she had hidden under my bed. If I'd move even a centimeter, she'd hide under my bed. About fifteen minutes after laying perfectly still, I felt a thump next to me. She'd jumped up onto my bed and walked over to me.
What she did next was both shocking and magical. She laid down, facing me, purring like crazy, and started kneading my chest and stomach.
"Awww. You do love me!" I said quietly.
She kept purring and kneading for hours. I couldn't sleep, but I didn't want to stop her. I didn't want to discourage her.
This was only the beginning for Moxie and I. There are so many memories from our relationship that I like to look back on.
Her watching TV with me. Her watching me make my coffee every morning. Her kicking her toys around, sometimes pulling all of them out, like a child.
The best memory was an everyday occurrence: How happy she'd be to see me. How she'd get up, purr, and walk towards me whenever I'd enter the room she was in.
I had seven amazing years with my furry best friend. Though I wish I could've had more, she became very frail and ill in 2019.
December 17th, 2019 was one of the most difficult days of my life. I made a choice that I never thought I'd have to make.
As I laid on my bed, bawling my eyes out, Moxie slowly climbed onto my chest and put her head up against my neck. She started purring louder than I'd ever heard her purr before. She squished her face against mine and we both held one another for a while.
Then, it was time. My mom and I took her to the vet and she peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge. When I got home, I couldn't stop crying. In her memory, I played Somewhere Over the Rainbow and kept bawling my eyes out.
Now, I have a paw print and a plaque with her picture on it to remember her by.
Whether it's with animals or humans, we all wish that we could have just one more day with them. Just one. That's all we think we need.
But, in reality, we just want to extend their stay. That one day would just turn into us needing one more. And one more. And one more. And so on.
If you're reading this, I hope you're lucky enough to find your own four-legged best friend, as I did.
There are many superstitions and stereotypes surrounding black cats. But in my experience, I can tell you that black cats are good luck. They deserve love and respect just as much as other cats do.
If you're looking for a black cat to adopt, might I suggest the Nine Lives Foundation.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Stay healthy and safe.