At the time, our house had its fair share of critters, with no plans to add to the brood.
Then, I experienced a sudden and unexplained urge to get a kitten. My daughter and I went to the shelter – just to look (famous last words). My husband reminded us before leaving, “Look only at male kittens. Maybe a white or gray one,” he said. “Anything but black.”
(I understood his thinking. We’d always been a boy-cat family. The color request was practical in nature. Pets shed. We have a yellow (shedding) lab and light colored furniture to help hide the occasional pet hair. Black fur would not coordinate with our overall camouflaging technique.)
We held many kittens at the shelter that day but only one was available for immediate adoption. We returned home with a sweet purring ball of fur. A black female with radiant topaz eyes. We named her Gertrude. She’d been abandoned, but by the shelter’s estimates she’d been born around October 12 – my mom’s birthday.
Officially, we got the kitten for our youngest son, but she was my baby from day one. She showed a special attachment to me and I welcomed her attention. Having Gertrude helped me deal with the grief of losing my mom. I gradually stopped sensing her presence; I believe because I was finally ready to let my mom go.
This isn’t the end of the story. Recently, I found an old pile of photographs. As I flipped through, I came across one of my sister and me with the little kitten named Beauty we’d owned for a short time years and years ago. There, in the photograph, the bright topaz eyes of an exact replica of Gertrude stared back at me. I’d forgotten, but Beauty had been a black kitten too.