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Amazing Mabel Part 2

continued from part one

Mabel will seemingly materialize out of nowhere onto my lap when I watch TV. She does the same thing to Sam. She just appears, makes herself comfy and sits, purring her very subtle purr, with what looks like a smile on her face as she makes herself at home. Even if we adjust our position on the sofa she remains glued to us.

Mabel’s coloring is amazing. She’s almost split right down the back, brilliant orange tabby on the left and classic black tabby on the right. Her eyes are vivid green. Her toes are pink and black. Her paws are white with little freckles of color here and there. Every time I look at her I notice different colors and shapes. I find myself getting mesmerized as I pet her, the colors seem to ripple as my hand runs along her back.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Pretty patchwork.

Mabel has started to spoon with me at night and if she’s not doing that, she sleeps wedged between my pillow and Sam’s.

It’s not all perfect. Mabel some times causes issues and has peed here and there. I notice those things happening less and less as she secures her place in the cat-hierarchy of my home, but it may always be an issue. I ask myself if she would be happier in a home of her own, as I’ve done so many times over the past year.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Meowing as she carries her precious pom-pom for all to see.

A few weeks ago I got an application from a very nice lady I will call Grace. She’s retired and lives in a spotless home with her husband who is fine with cats but not a fan the way she is. Grace has been mourning the loss of her cat for 2 years and is finally ready to adopt again. I asked Grace for a co-adopter because I could not risk Mabel losing her home for any reason and she agreed. Everything checked out, but I also knew that Mabel did not show very well. She always hid when strangers arrived so I suggested we consider fostering-to-adopt Mabel where she could give Mabel a proper “test drive” with the option of returning her if it didn’t work out.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen (left) with Mabel (right).

During this process I told Grace I wasn’t sure I could part with Mabel. I was honest with her. I need to make room for more cats. Keeping her isn’t an option. Grace and her adult daughter came over. Their energy was very calm. As they walked into the room, they saw Mabel. She didn’t race off, but allowed them to pet her and say hello. The daughter and I backed away and watched from afar because Mabel got nervous while Grace spent a few minutes getting to know her.

We were all very surprised that Mabel was so welcoming to these new people. Normally that would seal the deal for me. I begged a delay starting the foster period by letting them know Mabel was due for a Vet visit before she went anywhere. Her Rabies vaccine was expired and I had a slight concern Mabel had a heart problem I wanted to get checked out so we waited another few days while I kept thinking about if I could really do this or not.

Mabel with Scone Robin AF Olson.jpg
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. To scone or not to scone?

The vet visit surprised me. They did an x-ray and EKG, then had everything reviewed by a radiologist. They reported back that Mabel’s heart and lungs looked good, but…they found what was described as a genetic deformity of some of her vertebrae. I’d noticed she didn’t jump very high and that was the reason. She might have some arthritis in her spine as she ages, but other than that she was cleared to go into foster care, then be adopted. I wondered if her spine damage was not from genetics but from sitting in a cage for two years with little space to move around.

I still wasn’t sure I could do the adoption, so once again I dragged my feet, coming up with all sorts of stupid reasons why I couldn’t get back to Grace. I thought about it and talked to Sam about it repeatedly…so much so that I could not think straight any longer. I thought, YES! I need to do this. It’s a good home. Mabel likes her, but will Mabel be lonely all by herself?

It’s not responsible for me to keep Mabel and in the next breath I’d tell myself that this is my one life. It’s all I get. I can spend it mourning over letting Mabel go or screw it. I love the cat. She is happy. We’re happy. What’s the BIG DEAL?

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting bored with her early days of confinement in the blue bathroom, Mabel lets me know she needs OUT of quarantine (which happened shortly thereafter).

Grace. Grace was the BIG DEAL. I didn’t want to hurt her and I was well on my way to doing that, but do I give up Mabel to not hurt Grace?

I spent a good part of that day crying. Grace had emailed me and called me. I needed to get back to her. I could not let this go any longer. I would have rather done pretty much anything else, like walk on hot coals or do my taxes over and over again, but I had to decide.

I decided to let Mabel go. I had to be responsible. I run a rescue. I found a great home. What’s the problem? I would call Grace and set up a time for me to bring Mabel to her.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweetly dreaming, Mabel's clearly found her home.

I started to imagine walking to the front door of Grace’s home. It’s only a few miles from where I live. I imagined Mabel softly crying in the carrier, scared, wondering what was going on. I knew she’d have some difficult first days but then she’d make new friends and be happy. It’s what she’d done over and over again during the past 4 years. It would be fine.

Except it wasn’t fine.

I couldn’t do it.

The thought of leaving her there made me cry. Something inside me was screaming; “Noooooooooooooo!”

Mabel w Our Cats Robin AF Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mabel, Nora, Blitzen (tail), Gracie, Fluffy Daddy and the DOOD enjoy the morning sun.

Come Hell or high water I had to call Grace and beg her forgiveness. I contacted a few rescue friends and I found a terrific cat for Grace to consider adopting. I offered to reimburse Grace for any out-of-pocket expenses she had. I repeatedly told her I’d let her have any cat she wanted in our program except for Mabel. She was so gracious and understanding. She told me not to get upset about it, that in truth she worried that Mabel would miss her kitty-friends and maybe it was for the best. She'd become attached to Mabel and really wanted to give her a home, but only Mabel, no other cat. She didn’t want my help or to know about other cats. I told her I’d go to the ends of the Earth for her, whatever she wanted. She thanked me and said again not to worry about it, but that right now she needed time to sort out her feelings. She’d let me know if she wanted to look at another cat. Between many tears I told her how very sorry I was and I apologized for taking so long to get back to her.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Making a place for herself in bed, right between me and Sam.

After I hung up the phone I cried again. I felt so badly about all of this. I wish Grace could have let me make it up to her. Maybe some day she will. I’m surprised she didn’t let me “have it” with a volley of nasty comments. I deserved it, but at least I’d been honest, telling her I wasn’t sure I could do the adoption when I first met her. In my heart I wanted to do the right thing, but I had no idea what that was because I had been over-thinking it for months.

Mabel Sleeping on Tree Robin AF Olson.jpg
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Zzzzzz.

I sat with Sam on the sofa and cried until I had no tears left, telling him what happened with the call to Grace. He nodded his head and gave me a hug. He’d told me to take Mabel off Petfinder earlier in the day and now he was smiling at me with that “I told you so” look on his face.

Mabel Sleeping Thru Adopt Robin AF Olson copy.jpg
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mabel sleeps in HER bed on my Mother's recliner.

A few feet away from us in HER bed that sits on my Mother’s old recliner was Mabel. She was fast asleep with her belly half-turned upwards and her front paws curled delicately by her cheeks. There was a sweet smile playing across her mouth. Mabel had no idea how important this afternoon had been and what it meant to her remaining days. From being dumped at a kill shelter in Georgia, to a rescue, to a hoarder, to another kill shelter in North Carolina, imprisoned for 2 years, and finally after 4 years Mabel landed where she should have been all along.

She was home, at last.

Welcome Home, Mabel. We love you.

Mabel Cute Portrait Robin AF Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the first photos of Mabel after she arrived. One look at her face and I knew I as a goner.


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Robin, I come back to your site again and again because of your honesty. This post is a prime example. I hope Grace eventually gets another cat and that, when she does, she comes to get one you've fostered. You are amazing. 


(Or quite possibly Mabel made it for you ;) )

This is how it should be. Welcome to the madness, Mabel -- we love you, covered in cat hair and all! :)

If something is that difficult to come to a decision on, you followed your heart and are the happier for it. That is how I feel about the 5 I have now, some with sad stories or reasons they stayed with me...but I am so comforted by all of them, that I know in the end, I've done the right thing...

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