Jack.

There are things in life that are hard to ignore. Sometimes they’re people who get under your skin, other times it’s the right thing — the right thing that hasn’t yet been done.

A month ago, I picked up my cat from the vet; he’d gotten into a cat fight, had an abscess that needed draining and stitches. He was stoked to wear a cone for two weeks. Not really.

There was a black stray kitten at the vet that someone had brought in — it was a few months old at the time when he first arrived. The vet fixed him, let people know he was ready for adoption, and the days ticked by.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Half his life had been spent in a small cage, even though the staff would take him out for play time every day.

I met him a month ago when I picked up my cat, but had completely forgotten about him until the other night. I was almost asleep when my eyes shot open: “I wonder if that cat is still at the vet,” I wondered. My stomach felt sick at the thought of a cage being all that little kitty knew of life.

I marinated on it for two days, then called the vet on Thursday to see if he was still there. I knew if they said yes, I’d have to bring him home. Who would say, “OK, just wondering. Bye!”

Not me.

He was still there. “Are you interested?!” the girl asked excitedly.

“I uh…I am,” I said. The girl at the vet practically squealed with delight.

People laughed at me, told me I didn’t know what I was doing. In fact, I did. I was helping, and decidedly leaning into my singleness.

I picked him up earlier today, and he’s trying to make sense of his new surroundings. Nobody wanted him because he was a black cat; apparently superstitious people are more plentiful than I thought. But to let an animal sit in a cage and not try to help is impossible for me.

Today I am thankful for my new kitty, Jack, and for being able to help. In a weird way, I’m thankful he wasn’t wanted by anyone else, because now I know how to put a cat condo together, and I’ll have at least one companion until I’m 50-something.

50-something. Wow. But nobody will be able to tell me ever again that I don’t know what I’m doing, and that — if you will — I don’t know Jack…because I certainly do. He’s shy, he’s furry and he’s tiny. And I know him.

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