Daniel is very, very special. In ways impossible to explain. Unique. Intuitive. Quietly present, but not intrusive. (I wish people were as genuinely caring as he is!) I respect his need for his own space and he respects mine. When he does come to me for attention, it’s so special because he’s sharing and giving of himself in a way that is reserved just for me. No outsiders. I am his person, period. And his expression of trust and acceptance, coming from a cat (excuse the stereotyping), is a true gift.
I got Daniel after seeing him on the IndyHumane website for more than two weeks. My husband of 52 years had gone to a nursing home and I faced an empty apartment every day and night. I hadn’t had a cat in 22 years, so I had some doubts about the idea of adopting one again. But I took the leap with Daniel, and he was standoffish for weeks. I was hurt, but gave him his space. He was older and I was sure he had a history – maybe a bad or sad one. We had that in common.
I was, however, comforted by his warm but distant presence. My loneliness and yes, fear, began to dissipate with passing time. I’d leave. He’d sit and watch me go. I’d return. He’d be sitting, looking at the door, like he’d been waiting. I was not alone anymore. I cannot write enough or find the words to make someone truly understand just how much this little furry creature has changed my life from the misery and hopelessness I felt the day I adopted him (8/7/17) to the day I wrote this essay.
Through the long nights, he’d lay at the foot of my bed, quietly observant as I cried, offering no physical comfort aside from his presence, but that was alright. I was not alone. When I’d feel lonely and depressed during the day, he’d entertain me by chasing his catnip mice around the living room. I’d inevitably smile. I felt better, just because. If this little angel had not been saved and protected and housed and fed, waiting for me, it would have been such a great loss. Not necessarily for me, but for him. He’s not “just a cat.” My great-grandmother told me when I was a child, “animals are God’s perfect creatures; He just puts up with us.” Daniel, my “cat brat,” is a prime example of that belief. I have sometimes wondered if I’d still be here if I did not have Daniel in my life.
My husband died on 9/12/18. I received a call advising me of his passing at 4:23 AM. Although I shed no tears, issued no cry of mourning to announce my grief and shock and despair, Daniel, ever the standoffish one, climbed into bed with me (he’d been sleeping on the couch by the window in the living room). He walked up to my pillow, meowed, and proceeded to lay down on the pillow next to me. My husband’s pillow. No kisses. No demand for attention. Just laid down beside me and I felt his warmth near me and was comforted on some level beyond my comprehension. Daniel is not just an animal. He’s a living, feeling being. No animal is “just an animal.” I beg of you, give life and protection to all of these innocent creatures. You never know when someone will need the comfort and quiet support that can’t always be given by a fellow human. I call Daniel my life-saver, and I truly believe he was. That sad, sad night, he was there for me. And I believe he will continue to be my life-saver until he passes on.
Don’t turn your hearts away from these animals. For just a few dollars, you may save more than just one life.
I cannot tell you how much Daniel means to me. I can only tell you that I hope someday, if you haven’t already, you will know the perfect and faithful love of a pet – cat, dog, or whatever it may be. Because I truly believe that these animals have so much more to give us than we could ever really give to them.
– Edith Alkire (Daniel’s mom)