We found Lee Ann, my brother’s 12-year old cat, hiding in a closet the day he died. For more than two years Mike had endured many chemotherapy and radiation treatments in his battle against lung cancer, fighting long after most people would have given up. One of the primary reasons he fought so hard was so he could continue to care for Lee Ann. Exiting the closet, she seemed confused, but with her tail wagging we thought she was comfortable with us. However, after we petted her, she went straight to the door and meowed, asking to be let outside. She escaped from the house within 48 hours and was not spotted again for three months. We left food outside daily.
Shortly after Lee Ann disappeared, we found a note titled “The Cat.” In it, Mike instructed us to find her a good home, or at least take her to Lycoming Animal Protection Society (LAPS), the local no-kill cat shelter. What Mike did not know was that LAPS was full, and had a waiting list of 70 cats. Despite Lee Ann’s absence, we tried hard for 10 months to find her a good home. No workable solution was ever found. In late spring Mike’s neighbor told us that he had seen Lee Ann crossing the adjoining properties. Over the next several months, we spotted her many times, and called to her. She responded each time by turning around, raising her tail and trotting away. As fall approached, she let us observe her eating, but still she resisted our efforts to get close to her. After the house was put on the market in October, in desperation I said two silent prayers to Mike, imploring him to help her accept us. A week later, I was standing in his driveway and I heard, “meow.” I turned and saw Lee Ann sitting on the next driveway over, looking at me. I said, “Lee Ann!” She repeated, “meow.” Sitting down, I said, “Come here, Sweetheart.” Amazingly, she trotted straight to me, climbed into my lap, curled up and fell asleep. This scenario was repeated almost every day until the house was sold. Finally, a bond had been established!
We, for the first time, seriously discussed providing a home for Lee Ann ourselves. We put her in a cat carrier, surprisingly without incident, loaded her into the back of our Forester and took her to the vet. When we brought her home, we opened the carrier door and allowed her natural curiosity to overcome any fear she might have felt. She cautiously followed us around while we introduced her to her new environment. We have at this point shared our home with Lee Ann for almost three months. We were delighted to discover that she is not the least bit destructive, is very clean, very affectionate, and sleeps 20 hours a day, spending most of the other four hours in one of our laps. She spends a lot of time on her cushion near the dining room door so she can look out on the back yard, and in the bow window, where she can look toward the front of our property. If she misses the great outdoors, she has offered no indication of it. Although 2017 started sadly, it ended peacefully as Lee Ann has reduced anxiety and has brought much joy, affection and laughter into our lives. Watching her many antics, including playfully attacking her own back feet and tail as if she has never seen them before, never fails to amuse us. She also has played a significant part in alleviating my grief over the loss of my brother and our mother, who died in May of 2017. Whenever I look at Lee Ann’s sweet face, I feel closer to Mike. I like to think he somehow knows she has found a really good, loving home.
— Sharyn Eckman, Montoursville, Pennsylvania