I was adopted this summer. “She” showed up the day that we did at the Camp in Ispica. She was sitting behind a fence that separated the camp from the property next door. She attached herself to our team almost immediately. She was fearless and always underfoot. Initially I attempted to keep her out of the kitchen, but it was a losing battle. And she would sit on the floor and look up at me with the most soulful eyes begging me for a taste of that beef, that chicken, that turkey, that tuna, or whatever else it was that caught her nose’s attention. (She particularly loved melon rinds. How bizarre is that?)
I missed my cat, Mew Ling. So sue me. I started to feed the skinny gray kitty. She needed a name. The girls first came up with Etna, which I thought was really a cute name. But it didn’t stick. Isabella, and then eventually Izzy, and Iz, did stick. And Izzy somehow became my cat. She had been abandoned by her mother along with a couple of siblings. The next door neighbor sort of took them in and occasionally fed them. But only Izzy came over the fence and made friends with us.
Last summer I missed my cat tremendously. But I had Abner to keep me company, to make me laugh, and to have deep grown up conversation with. It was a pretty lonely summer for me this past summer. I was the only head leader. My assistant leaders were both very young. All the adults that were at the camp spoke either Italian or German. Some spoke a little English, but not enough to easily have more than the most simple of conversation. I think God sent Izzy to me to keep me company and to alleviate my aloneness. She did a great job of it, too. It seemed to me like it was her personal mission to be my companion. And I know that God loves me enough to take the time to arrange something like that for me, too.
At first Izzy never made any sounds except purring. It was a couple of weeks before I heard the most faint little mews coming from her. I don’t know if she was abandoned so young that she didn’t know how to meow or what. When she finally did “learn” to talk, it was so pitiful sounding I couldn’t help but want to make sure I did whatever necessary to make sure she was safe and healthy. I got sucked in by her situation and her phenomenal cuteness. I was a goner and it didn’t take long til I was crazy for this kitty.
I think Izzy thought I was her mother. She would snuggle up to me or snuggle down in my clothes and find a little wrinkle of fabric and suck on it. For hours she could do that. I once woke up with a huge wet spot on my shoulder. She had been sucking on the back of my shirt for who knows how long. She’d play all day with the kids, following them out to the work site and playing with them into the evening hours. But when it was time for bed, most nights found Izzy in my room and on my bed. Since no one was allowed into my room without my being in there, Izzy would retreat there when she needed alone time. I would often find her stretched out (or curled up) on my bed in the afternoon taking a long leisurely uninterrupted nap.
Izzy’d come when I’d call her, too. I’d make a very loud long kissing sound, and if she was within hearing distance, she come running like a gray flash. Sometimes I’d do the sound when she was being held by one of my kids just to see all the acrobats of her twisting and twirling and trying to get down. It was fun to watch whoever was holding her to try to hang onto her as long as possible. It was like watching someone trying to hang onto loose Jell-O!
Izzy liked to hang out in the kitchen. Probably because she knew she’d be able to get food out of pretty much anyone, especially me. She got stepped on a lot. Eventually she found a place she could hang out without getting crunched. She’d curl up with the pots and pans in the kitchen island.
When I’d go to my room to do paperwork, or whatever, Izzy liked to jump up on my shoulder. Why do you suppose she would do this? I have no theories. But it seemed like she was very interested in whatever I was doing and liked a good view.
And we all absolutely loved her. Me especially. And I had to leave her behind. Sad day. I had been hoping to bring her to Colorado to live with me. The missionary’s son said he’d help me get her if it was possible. It doesn’t look like it is. Even if I could arrange to get her to a vet there in Sicily and get a certificate of health (a requirement of British Airways), British Airways makes all animals travel as cargo. They don’t offer cargo services from Catania, Sicily. The only way I could get her to the U.S. IF I had a certificate of health, would be to have her fly out of Rome. I guess Iz is staying in Sicily.
I’m worried that Izzy has no one to feed her. I wonder if she is trying to get into my room at night. Do you think she wonders what the heck happened to all of her people? I feel terrible that we had to leave her behind.
Stupid. I know.
She’s just a cat, afterall. Right?