Rosie was once a kitten and everybody loved her. She was once small and tiny. All watched her play all day.
She was little and cute, the first to get adopted. Her new parents loved her and gave her everything she wanted. A ball of yarn, a mouse made of cloth. Rosie once had it all in her new house. And when she was sad, she sat on her mom’s lap. And every now and then, she would wake her mom with small licks and head bumps.
Then one day, six years later, her mom no longer wanted her, saying, “She isn’t a tiny kitten anymore, but a big black cat that only plays every other day.”
So her mom brought her back to the shelter and said “Don’t worry, she will get adopted soon. She’s a good girl.” Little did her mom know that no one wants an older black cat.
If only she was small and tiny again, then maybe Rosie would have a chance. So every day, she sat in her cage, watching all the kittens find their way. Always wishing that she would be as lucky as one of those young and playful kitties.
Days turned into months and not one person looked her way. They all wanted the tiny playful kitties, not the six-year-old cat sitting in her cage.
But then a family came into the shelter. They thought she would be good fit. So they took her home, and there she stayed, but only for a few days. They came back to the shelter and said, “She climbs and hides too much. She’s not the cat we want. “
Poor Rosie found herself back in the all too familiar space. And from her cage she watched and from her cage she waited for the one person who will look her way. For that one person who will love her even at her old age.
In her cage she sat, and in her cage she stayed for another ninety days. She no longer hoped and she no longer prayed for someone to want her at her age. The long days went on and on while she sat in her cage. Now waiting for the day when the shelter needed to make more space.
But then a young woman came into the shelter. There was something different about her, Rosie thought, but this young woman wanted a kitten, just like everybody else.
Rosie sighed, but never cried for she had no reason to hope. Until the next day, when the young woman came back to the shelter and stood at Rosie’s cage. She looked at Rosie and smiled and asked the caretaker, “Has she been here a while?” The caretaker nodded yes and opened her cage. Someone finally wanted to meet Rosie for the first time in ninety days.
The young woman left the shelter without a cat in hand. For the first time Rosie thought, “Maybe she will come back again.”
So she waited in her cage for what felt like another ninety days. When suddenly her ears heard the sound of a familiar voice calling out her name. But once again the young woman left the shelter without a cat in hand. Rosie did not know if the young woman would be back for her again.
But it was her last hope, and so she prayed as she waited in her cage for what felt like another ninety days. When the next day came, the young woman opened Rosie’s cage. She held her close and said, “Let’s get you out of this place.”
Rosie climbed into the carrier and knew she found a home. But she was never sure if the young woman would return her, so she put on her best show. She jumped onto the young woman’s lap and purred, all in hopes that her best efforts would keep her out of the shelter.
But then the day came when the young woman was moving away. The boxes were packed. The car was ready. Rosie sat in her carrier knowing she was going back to that terrible, yet familiar place. They got in the car and drove for hours. Rosie knew that they should have been at the shelter by now.
Finally, her mom opened her carrier to a new, yet familiar place. This new place had the same couch, the same toy, and the same bed. Most importantly, it had the same young woman. And that was all Rosie had asked for.
Rosie cried tears of joy and climbed onto her new mom’s lap. It was then that she knew that she finally found her human half.
So after she purred her new mom to sleep, she climbed onto the windowsill to look out at the street. She said a silent Thank You for this young woman who saw her in her cage. For this young woman who loves Rosie even at her old age.
4 thoughts on “Rosie’s Journey: A Short Story About An Older Shelter Cat”
Thanks for completely breaking my heart.
Thank you for reading it!! I appreciate it more than you know!
We adopted an older cat in 2005. The shelter said she was 5, the vet said 7. We just lost her a month ago. She was the queen of the house.
I am so sorry for your loss. But I greatly appreciate that you adopted an older animal. You gave her an amazing life I am sure of it!