Fairy-tales begin with “Once upon a time” and often subject a beautiful princess to hardship and trial before granting her happiness forever. This is the story of a grey and white kitten born in the wild and lured into a live trap set by some of our HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return volunteers. Although to the kitten this experience must have seemed terrible at the time, she was actually being rescued by the first of many fairy godmothers who would transform her life. The volunteers took her to a generous vet who checked her over and spayed her. From there, she went to live temporarily with HSBC President Jeannie Nichols, who named her Gracie. Jeannie cared for and fed her but was not able to give Gracie the time necessary to socialize her. Then HSBC fostering volunteer Sherry Nelson took Gracie in, and slowly the timid little feral creature learned to enjoy human contact at Sherry’s home.
Meanwhile, not far away, a woman named Colleen, her husband, and her three lovely teenaged daughters were talking of getting a companion for their cat, Mystique, a tall black cat Colleen describes as “The Best Cat Ever.” They had rescued Mystique a few months ago when she had been an emaciated stray with eye infections. It did not take long for Mystique’s sweet personality to emerge and for her to become a permanent part of their household, which also includes a gentle lab mix named Maxine. As the humans discussed Mystique’s future companion, the older daughter said that she would prefer a cat with grey and white fur.
At work the following day, Colleen mentioned to Sherry her daughter’s desire for a grey and white cat, and here is where the story takes on the magic of a fairy tale. Sherry was delighted to suggest Gracie as a possible new addition to Colleen’s family. Sherry told Colleen that the kitten might not be immediately approachable and would need some patience before she accepted the family. Colleen was amazed; her daughter expresses a wish, and that wish is granted the following day! Not only that, but Gracie was sixteen weeks old, the same age as Mystique.
So Gracie entered Colleen’s family. As Sherry predicted, the new kitten at first hid in corners or peeped at the family from behind an open door. Gracie always allowed her new owners to hold her, but soon she started going up to them to ask for affection. Now Gracie and Mystique frolic together without a care in the world, and she mingles freely with the family instead of observing them from a distance. Colleen says of Gracie, “She eats like a pig” and, “She is loved.”
If Gracie could talk, she might tell us that she feels like a fairy-tale princess rescued from an uncertain fate and magically spirited to a life of warmth and love. Her story has many fairy godmothers and the luck that gave her the grey and white coat her new family wanted in their next cat. Gracie’s good fortune also depended on the HSBC Trap-Neuter-Return program, in which volunteers trap feral cats so that they can be sterilized and their kittens can be socialized and adopted into good homes. Along the way, each person who cared for Gracie gave her the courage to discard her fears and become a playful and affectionate kitten. It is because of this HSBC TNR program and the incredible volunteers who manage it that Gracie will be indoors this winter, a great pet for a loving family and a happy friend of “The Best Cat Ever.”