I'll always remember the day I went to the shelter in a borrowed van to collect the cats. They were in a room in a little house at the entrance to the shelter grounds, and there were cats everywhere... perched on shelves in the closets, sitting on windowsills, lounging on the furniture... As we loaded the last of the cats into the van, the officers who picked them up stopped by to say goodbye and wish them luck. They were big, burly men with tears in their eyes.
All but three of the senior cats went to foster homes. I figured Harry, Jasmine and Leo would be fine in our group home since they were used to living with a lot of cats. Besides, it was only a matter of time until a softhearted person came along and offered them a home where they could spend their golden years together.
That softhearted person turned out to be me. Leo, who was 14 when he moved in with me, was cute and fun. But living with Harry, who was 15, was like living with a crotchety old man with chronic digestive problems. And then there was Jasmine, also 15. She looked like a powder puff but beneath the long, silky fur was a tough Baltimore street cat. She was smart and shrewd and wise, and the most nurturing cat I have ever known. She was a once-in-a-lifetime cat, and it was an honor and joy to share my life with her for five years.