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Essay: Shy Cat

The gray striped cat had been at the humane society for six months when we got there.

“Nobody wants her,” the technician said, “because she’s so shy.” True enough, she hid under the table during our entire visit no matter how many toys and treats we offered.

I was looking for a lap cat and she wasn’t it. “I think we should take a chance on her,” my husband said. We had just lost three cats in nine months and I wasn’t sure I could take a chance.

“Okay,” I said and the technician reached under the table and hauled her out.

We named her Rosie and she hid in the basement at first. Then she came upstairs and hid under the dining room table. We were taking a chance and so was she. “Maybe she’s not shy,” my husband said, having been called shy himself. “Maybe she’s just reserved.”

Reserved not only meant shy but also spoken for, available only for a special person. Rosie was reserved for us and that was eight years ago. Now she follows us around announcing mealtime, treat time, play time.

She’ll never be a lap cat but if I lean down real close, I can hear her purring.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.