“Christmas Eve twenty-seven years ago…
That long-ago Christmas was memorable in many ways. For one, it was the first I’d spent with my then fiancé James. We had met in the May. After three days, we had decided to spend our lives together and by November were formally engaged. The wedding was set for the following April.
We were living in a third-floor apartment in Lavender Bay in Sydney, Australia. It’s a location I’ve used several times in my stories for Harlequin Romance. Being Christmas Down Under, it was hot.
As we prepared to leave for a party, James went to close the window and called me over. “There’s a white kitten in the garden of the apartments next door.”
Of course I rushed over to see. A little kitten was below on the grass. I felt a pang of envy for whoever owned it—my much-loved cat had died a few months before.
We got home from the party after midnight. My husband went to re-open the window. “The kitten is in exactly the same position.”
With flashlight in hand, we rushed straight down. The kitten raised her little head and mewed but was too weak to get up. She was just a tiny scrap of fur and bone, white with ginger patches.
I gently lifted her, to the accompaniment of a feeble rattle of purring, and we got her upstairs. In the light, we saw she was crawling with hundreds of fleas. Too frail to protest, she let us wash her in the kitchen sink. The ginger patches proved to be dirt from the fleas and, as it washed away, her fur showed pure white “Even the little pads of her paws are white, ” I marvelled.
The poor little pet couldn’t keep down food or water. We doubted she would live the night.
There were still too many fleas to have her in the bedroom. We left her in the kitchen, snug in a little box. I kept coming out to check she was still breathing. Eventually I fell asleep. When I woke early on Christmas morning I tiptoed out to the kitchen, dreading what I might find. But the kitten greeted me with squeaky little mews. It was the best Christmas gift I could imagine.
We drove her to the local veterinary hospital. The vet told me our kitty was anaemic and needed a blood transfusion. Those white pads I’d exclaimed over? They should have been pink. The fleas had drained her of much of her blood.
All through Christmas lunch with friends we worried about her. Finally in the late afternoon the vet phoned. Our rescue kitty had made it—courtesy of a “donor” cat who had given blood. “This has been a rewarding day for us,” the vet said. “She’s made it worth having to work Christmas Day.”
Next day, we picked up our kitten. We named her Eva as we had found her on Christmas Eve. She was as lively as a kitten should be and immediately pounced on the Christmas decorations. By the following April she enjoyed getting all tangled up in the tulle of my wedding dress petticoat.
Eva grew into a magnificent snow-white cat with green eyes. Later, a neighbour told me her owners had moved house and left her behind. What a beautiful Christmas present they gave us!
On our first meeting, I’d established James was an animal lover. The kindness he showed that Christmas proved he was definitely the right man for me. Eva was the first of many pets we’ve adopted together. And he proved to be a marvellous father for our daughter too.
NOTE: The kitten in the photo looks very like my Eva did. Her name is Melody. She is one of a litter of three white rescue kittens who are currently up for adoption in Sydney. I wish I could adopt her—but we already have four cats (all rescues).
Awwww, there’s nothing like a kitty story to warm the heart, thanks Kandy! For more of Kandy’s stories enter our 12 Days of Christmas competition and you could win a copy of Giftwrapped In Her Wedding Dress, plus a jam packed pampering kit featuring top name brands.
Kittie Kat Rescue is a small, Sydney-based cat rescue organisation. Show them some love this Chistmas.