Mrs. Harris is adorable. She is also ferocious. Mrs. Harris is a fuzzy butterball red-gold seven week old kitten. How did we come to acquire Mrs. Harris?
Several years ago we began searching for a red tom kitten similar to our Zar. He was a striking fox red tomcat with a white splash on his muzzle. Zar wore white boots. In his prime he weighed twenty-two pounds and ruled the neighborhood. Zar perched on the roof of our car to survey his territory like a Cheetah on a mound, a unique presence.
After several years, Zar acquired a calico mate named Zara and later a dark brown and gray tabby companion called Chessie. She was named for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's mascot. On the C & O rail cars, a kitten named Chessie peeks out from under a blanket. After seeing a Chessie car at a railroad crossing, I went home to find our kitten sleeping under a blanket in the same position. Chessie grew to be a striking sleek hunter like her ancestor, the African Wildcat.
How would we find the right red kitten? A sign in our Vet's office looked promising, but the kittens were already taken. We told the office to let us know of future litters. Then we left on vacation
Returning home, there was a message for kittens. When I called the number, "How did you know we had kittens? We don't go to that vet, and the kittens are only three weeks old, not advertised yet."
"What color are they?"
"There are four, one red and white and three red kittens." Eagerly we went to see the kittens. They were fuzzy balls of fur just learning how to tumble over each other. It was like rewinding time fifteen years to recall Zar and Zara's three golden kittens, so much like these. We weren't sure, maybe three boys and one girl? We didn't select a kitten that day but went home to plan. We let Chessie pick up kitten scent from our hands. She rubbed us.
We began to think about a red boy kitten. One night I had a strange dream. I was resting in my comfortable chair, and a red gold kitten lounged in my lap, purring. Other people were there with me, and I introduced the kitten. "This is Mrs. Harris." Mrs. Harris was the kitten's name? I do not know a Mrs. Harris! Why would I name a kitten Mrs. Harris? Why would I get a girl kitten? The dream painted itself with lively colors.
After I awoke, instead of fading into the mist, the dream stayed with me. I wrote down "Mrs. Harris" on a slip of paper so I could recall the details. Later I told my husband, "The name of the kitten is Mrs. Harris."
We visited the kittens again. Now it looked like three girls and one boy. Two of the girls were like twins, a pair bond. There was one independent red girl who fought tenaciously with the red and white boy kitten when he disturbed her grooming. We played with the kittens and let one choose us.
Independent Mrs. Harris chewed my shoelace and climbed into my lap. Her face showed a white halo around her eyes and chin. "That's the one!" I remembered how our collie puppy, Sky, sat on my husband's shoe. Chessie hopped after our daughter like a rabbit, choosing us.
"I still don't know how you found us. It must be fate. No one knew we had kittens that were only three weeks old at the time."
Two weeks later, we went to pick up Mrs. Harris. We watched the kittens romping outside, testing the grass, leaping up and down off the porch, peeking out from under the patio furniture. One by one the other kittens fell asleep. Mrs. Harris was still going strong.
We picked Mrs. Harris up and carried her inside. Ginger, her long haired calico mother, came away from the others to say good-bye to her baby. "She knows." Ginger waved her plumy tail and walked with elegant grace over to my outstretched hand and rubbed approval. Mrs. Harris snuggled up to her mother one last time and fell asleep.
Time to go. We hugged good-bye and put Mrs. Harris in the van with a blanket for comfort.
WELCOME HOME: Mrs. Harris snuggled next to me while I scribbled out this story. This is how Mrs. Harris found us. Chessie was last seen eating Mrs. Harris' food. Mrs. Harris was last seen shinnying up the back of the sofa. "We caught a live one!" Mrs. Harris' nickname is "Velcro kitty."
I believe our special pet friends actively seek us out as we mutually search for them, teaching us much about faith, patience, and love.
Welcoming Mrs. Harris: Pet Spirituality Contributed Story, Pet Pages Archived Stories, July 2002, reprinted with permission by Shirley MacLaine's web site and team. Shirley MacLaine is an actress, author, dancer, and spiritual teacher.
Related Blog Post:
Stars and Snow, Spirit of Phoebe (a spirit cat)
Photos: Just Can't Stay Awake by Paul and Mrs. Harris Studies Acorns published with permission