It was late fall when she first appeared at our back porch. I remember because my sisters were helping cook dinner and the dog suddenly went racing through the kitchen on a frantic tear! Food went flying as someone dropped a salad bowl and we all wondered what was happening. Turns out, our dog Chase noticed there was an adorable cat gazing at us through the sliding glass doors. An unforgettable first encounter.
It was a while before we saw any signs of the cat for a second time. We knew all our neighbours where we lived in our small area outside town, but no one had a cat like this that we recognized. No one knew where it came from or why it suddenly appeared. There weren’t a lot of homes where we were so it was easy to know if was local. The mystery continued. Then we got a huge shock we were not prepared for.
After a couple more random visits the pattern changed. After turning up one evening, the cat came back the very next day. And the day after that. It was also looking a lot mangier since the first visits. Then we noticed something that made all of us gasp. She had no tail. We never noticed before. In all the encounters, the cat would approach, but never too close, and often at night – and always with the safety of the closed glass door. (Probably because of the dog, as well!)
We put out food because we thought it might be hungry. After that it hung around. Close. Very close. It began to wander around our backyard, and was always about. Eventually, we would leave the door open to see if it would come in, but she never even attempted. So, we kept feeding, gave it a little shelter space from the cold outside by the vents to get the extra heat and left it at that. Then it happened. She was in the kitchen one day.
We’re not sure why she suddenly chose that particular average day to come inside, but there she was. Even the dog had gotten used to her being around and paid little attention. We checked with the local shelter, who asked around, and put up flyers but got no response. Eventually it became clear. This homeless cat was suddenly seemingly ours. So a formal naming ceremony was required. Big Bessie, due to her intensely fluffy exterior, was now part of the family. And she needed a day at the spa. Badly.
We brought her to a person in town who’d been grooming animals since before cable TV arrived and she went to work. When BB was dropped off at the kitty salon she was a giant ball of knotted hair, matted clumps and was an all-around disaster on the outside. Fast forward a few hours and about 50 pounds of hair later – it was like she was reborn.
We still canvased the community looking for where she came from but no clues were ever found. The next town over wasn’t really close, so if she wandered that far, it had to have been a journey. Still, we put up a notice in the local paper but nothing came from that either.
So, for whatever reason, Big Bessie chose us and our house. There was always lots of noise, a dog barking and general household mayhem you’d expect. But through it all, for whatever reason, she found us and decided we were going to be her forever home. And suited all of us just fine.