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First Person: Antics aside, life’s sweeter with Jelly Bean

The fearless, proud and unsinkable Jelly Bean.

The fearless, proud and unsinkable Jelly Bean.

By Thelma Gearey

Browsing a pet store looking for cat toys, I saw a litter of kittens and asked the salesgirl if I could hold one. The kitten put her tiny white pink paws around my neck and pressed her soft head into my cheek and just purred in total comfort.

I went home with my precious furball.

My home is like a daycare centre, with toys everywhere. The sunny windows give Jelly Bean the enjoyment of watching busy squirrels, birds and bugs. She is always trying her best to catch falling leaves or snowflakes. With so much activity, her little head is spinning with total exhaustion. And then it’s naptime. I couldn’t figure out why my humidifier wasn’t working till I looked more closely at the fan section and saw that Jelly Bean had deposited her dry food inside.

For her safety, I bought a tower humidifier instead, and she is in total awe when the water makes bubbles. Jelly Bean copies my other cat, Suzie, by cupping her right paw into the water dish and then bringing the water up to her mouth, just like a lady.

My cats chatter. They inform me if there’s a hair floating in the water bowl, no food in the dish, or if the litter box has a fresh deposit. Every morning at exactly 7:20, Jelly Bean requests that I open the apartment door to let her into the hallway to greet our neighbour’s dog, a 150-pound Saint Bernard. She runs down the hall with her lemur-like tail proudly standing straight. On the glass panes of the inner door she stretches her pink paws up to say hello to Brock and they press noses.

All the cats in my life were rescued pets or from a shelter. But today I have great difficulty going to any animal shelter.

All the abandoned, depressed, frightened, screaming animals in tiny, wire cages with old worn out blankets and the strong heavy smell of javel in the air, the barking dogs with their pleading eyes pacing on cold cement floors within a three-foot cell make me sad, as though they are on death row. If I could, I would save each and every one of these animals.

Recently, I went with a dear friend to the SPCA Annexe. I was not too keen on going, for the fear of hearing the screaming dogs from outside. But when we parked, I heard no distress. On entering, I was totally surprised to see relaxed cats and dogs. Open spaces were filled with toys, soft blankets and huge sofa-type cushions for the pets to nap.

I walked around and was attracted by “Mr. Whiskers” in a tuxedo, a large sleek black cat with a white patch under his chin. He had sparkling emerald eyes and the longest whiskers that jutted out on the side of his puffy cheeks like antennas. He caressed my hand with such positive energy that I just wanted to scoop him up and take him home.

I left feeling much better about animal shelters.

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