Julie Marie Gervais, an animal-rescue specialist in Toronto, got out of her car at the library on a cold winter day. A handsome, skinny, ginger tabby bounded out of the bushes toward her. He appeared to be homeless. His meows told her he was hungry, so she gave him food and water from the supply in her car.
Over the next week, Gervais visited and fed the cat daily. She named him Rufus and decided to find him a home. At the end of the week, she took her cat carrier to the library. To entice him to enter the carrier, she put his food and water into it. Rufus reluctantly edged in, and they headed to her veterinarian.
Gervais’s veterinarian found signs of frostbite on one ear and one pad. Rufus was cleaned up, given a flea and ear mite treatment, vaccinated and neutered. His blood test results were fine, but he didn’t have an identification chip. The veterinarian liked Rufus and offered to board him free of charge until Gervais could find him a home.
A number of veterinarians allowed Gervais to advertise the cat in their offices. One evening, while she was posting yet another notice, a woman named Linda Snowden arrived to thank the veterinarian for helping her with her cat, who recently had died. Snowden saw the picture of Rufus and immediately fell in love with him.
She asked Gervais to keep Rufus until she spoke to her husband, Dave. The next day, Snowden called and said her husband would like to see Rufus. They arranged to meet that afternoon at Gervais’ veterinarian’s office.
Dave got down on the floor with Rufus, and they communicated beautifully. The Snowdens looked at each other, nodded and said they would like to have him. Gervais turned to Rufus and told him that he was going to a new, permanent home and then, something amazing happened: Rufus walked calmly into the carrier and was off to his new life.
After quickly settling in his new home, Rufus became the center of attention. Everyone loves him madly, and he shares his love with everyone equally, by climbing into each lap and purring. He is especially good with the young grandchildren.
Having been exposed to the elements before Gervais rescued him, Rufus clearly appreciates the indoors. One day, when the winter wind blasted in the open front door, Rufus went to investigate. He felt the cold air on his face and immediately retreated to the fireplace.
Dave says Rufus is the best cat he has ever had, although he adds that the cat has some strange habits. For example, he enjoys being in the shower with Dave. Later, he leaves pawprints all over the bathroom floor and has to be toweled dry.
He also loves wine corks. “I don’t know why,” Dave says. “He loves to play with these corks all over the house. Unfortunately, he loses them where only the vacuum cleaner can find them, so they’re always plugging up the vacuum. But that’s alright.”
According to Dave, Rufus has completed their family, and he is a gift from above.
Michael Marley is a freelance writer and member of the Cat Writers’ Association. He lives in Toronto, Canada, where he writes about cats and for children.