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My mother was the original crazy cat lady! She always had at least one or two living with her, and her cats NEVER went outside.

Her neighbours brought a kitten home, only they hadn't brought it into the house: they had left it outside, picking through garbage and drinking out of puddles. Mom waited to see what would happen but nothing changed. Never a shy woman, she marched across the road to confront these people about the way they were treating "that poor kitten!" They laughed at her, so she went home and waited. After dark she snuck over, scooped up the tiny handful and skedaddled home!

Their children came by searching for the kitten, but she swore no knowledge of it. After she had her vet OK and spay the kitten, she found a Greek friend to foster her with who named the beautiful tortoiseshell "Athena". Mom called me to take her: it was "safe" because I lived elsewhere. Athena quickly fit to my little apartment, but I was never "hers" in the way that cats adopt one person as their personal property.

It was when my husband-to-be walked through my door that she found her "person": she took one look at him, leaped into his arms, and was never willingly out of them again!

She died 11 years later, still in his arms and still satisfied with her choice.

Athena and the love she engendered from total strangers reminds me of the love God has for even His smallest and most insignificant creatures. I know He prompted my mother to "steal" her away to safety. I know He prompted Athena to "leap" into my husband's arms, a man certain he didn't like cats and yet was instantly in love with her for the rest of her life.

Sharon Dunford

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