The Story of Harry and Hermione

My 14-year old daughter had never had a kitten. When she was born, we had an older cat who passed away when she was still young. Then we adopted our present cat, Stripey. He was almost a year old and a full-grown cat. He didn't hit it off well with Holly because she was a typical noisy toddler. When Oliver came along, the senior cat I took in after my mother could no longer care for him, Holly began to bond with him, but he attached himself to me. My husband promised Holly that she could have her own cat when Oliver passed away. Five years later when that happened, it was a heartbreak for all of us. We didn't rush to get another cat, and Stripey seemed content to be an only cat again. As the one-year mark approached that Oliver took his trip to Rainbow Bridge, a cat cafe opened up in our area called The Shabby Tabby Cat Cafe. I thought it would be fun to visit and see the cats. We took a trip there, and Holly fell in love with a kitten named Ringo. Unfortunately, another person had already laid claim to him. Holly was upset, but her dad assured her that we would get a cat for her eventually, and I explained that Ringo was just not the one meant for her. We took another trip to the cat cafe on October 21, three days before my daughter's 14th birthday. There was a fall fair going on in town that day, and I thought we'd just drop into Shabby Tabby and see if they had any new cats. It turned out that they had several new kittens. My daughter spotted a black one right away and began playing with him. Although Ringo had been white and orange, she'd always said she wanted a black cat, but the main thing was one that connected with her. All the cats at the cafe are named. I found out they come from the Golden Paws Society shelter in Huntington Station. After playing with Harry for a while, Holly told me she was in love with him. I could see why. He was a playful fellow who seemed affectionate and bright. When I asked if he was available, I was told he was but that he couldn't be separated from his sister, Hermione, a calico kitten. I was also informed that Harry and Hermione had tested positive for FIV (Feline Aids) but that it was possible they hadn't contracted the disease but were testing positive because of their mother's antibodies. We wouldn't know for sure until they were retested at six months when their immune system was mature enough to function on its own. I knew my husband wouldn't like the idea of our taking two kittens especially ones that might have FIV when we already had another cat. But when I saw Hermione, I wanted to take the chance. It was like fate because not only had I always wanted a calico cat after having so many other types of cats all my life, but I'd just written the fourth book of my mystery series that introduced a calico kitten into the town. I also thought it would be great for the two kittens to be together as playmates. Eventually, I could introduce our older cat to them. I was hopeful the kittens were healthy and were told there was a good chance that they were. In the past, many FIV cats were euthanized before research showed that kittens were less likely to catch the disease from their mothers and that it wasn't generally spread through eating or sleeping together but through a deep bite. I completed the adoption forms that had to be approved by Golden Paws and set a pick-up date for that Wednesday night, October 24, which was the best day for us because I had the next two days off to watch the kittens while Holly was in school. It also happened to be her birthday. My husband wasn't thrilled when we broke the news about adopting them, but he finally agreed. To prepare for the new arrivals, I picked up some supplies including a pet playpen in which the kittens could stay when we weren't around. We set it up in my daughter's room because we wanted her to learn the responsibility of caring for her cats. She was able to fit food and water bowls inside, a few safe toys, and a litter box. She also cleaned her room and made it cat friendly. On October 24, we picked the kittens up from Golden Paws in Huntington Station. When we got them home, they seemed to do fine in Holly's room. They were accustomed to the playpen from the cat cafe, although my daughter kept them out after school while she was doing her homework. At night, Harry curled up and slept on her chest. Now that they are six-month's old, they have most of the run of the house and, although our other cat is a bit wary of them in his territory, the three of them can stay together with only occasional play fighting. We also received the wonderful news from their vet that they have now tested negative for FIV. Harry and Hermione are playful and beautiful kittens. I'm convinced that they were meant for us, and we were meant for them.

Debbie De Louise
HICKSVILLE, NY