The tiny grey-striped sat huddled in the corner of her cage. Her food from the day before was untouched. She had hardly used her kitty litter. The label on her dark, bottom cage named her Aria and said she had been captured on a street in Bloomfield the previous day.
I offered her some dry food from my fingertips but she cowered into a tighter ball. Placing wet food in a bowl, I inched it under her nose. Aria took a few tentative licks. After I cleaned her cage—it hardly needed it—I sat on the floor by the open door with one hand as close to her as she allowed. After about 10 minutes I was able to stroke her cheek, just a bit. Then she pulled her head away. Poor little Aria, I thought. You are definitely singing the blues.
When I looked in on her the following week, she was peeking out from under her pillow-bed. At least her food had been eaten. Once again I sat by her, inching my hand into her cage. Her eyes grew large but she didn’t back away. I stroked her cheek, then behind her ears. She tilted her head into my hand. Gradually she inched forward and turned so I could reach her back. I continued to pet her until she turned belly up.
I wasn’t sure if she would trust a belly rub, but she did let me lift her into my arms. I moved her to an empty, top cage where she could get some light and actually see other cats. This was a whole new point of view for Aria, and she perked up.
But the next day she was out to the vet for spaying. Oh, no, I thought. I’ll have to start all over.
But we didn’t have to. Yesterday she enjoyed another petting session and even began a faint purr. Hoping next time for a new, happy song from Aria.