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Peg Cushman: Happy ending for a cat who had a rough start

Her bright green eyes flashed in anger as she hissed, snarled and attempted to attack me. Eva the cat has terrorized me for the past five summers in my backyard. I believe it was her coping mechanism from the physical abuse she endured.

Eva and her sister, Penelope, were abandoned by their human family in the winter of 2015, sadly treated as though they were expendable. The family didn’t even try to secure homes for them.

Penelope was quickly adopted by a great family, but much to my distress, Eva remained homeless. No one would adopt her because of her frightening behavior; she just couldn’t be tamed.

Eva spent the coldest nights in my garage, where I had prepared a warm bed and food was always available. But my heart was still heavy at the thought of her suffering in the harsh winter conditions.

Sadly, for many days, the black and white cat sat on her old front porch waiting in vain for her family to return.

Every time I went to sit with her, she growled and would try to bite. Once she even scratched my face, but I could never get mad at her. She was protecting herself.

Four months into her abandonment, she became pregnant and delivered two beautiful kittens in a cold, damp window well. Another warmhearted neighbor moved the cats to her garage and rigged up a heating source to keep them all warm. Several times a day we checked on them and fed Eva extra food.

Then, slowly, a miracle started to happen. A bond began to bloom between Eva, my neighbor and I. Eva realized we were helping her and began to trust us completely and became lovingly affectionate.

We watched the babies open their blue eyes and saw their bellies become round. We named the calico kitten Tinkerbell and the black and white one Milton. We vowed that these babies would never suffer the life their mama had, they would know only love and kindness.

Sadly, on the 12th day, my neighbor discovered Tinkerbell had died. The next morning, I found our sweet Milton had also died. I was crushed. My husband and I buried the kittens cuddled up together, exactly as they had spent their short time here.

I noticed Eva was walking in circles, looking for her kittens. She looked up at me and seemed to be pleading with me to help her find them. I lost it. But I knew I couldn’t give up on her. Maybe she could be adopted after all.

I bought flea and deworming meds and was told I could bring her inside after 12 hours. I carried Eva to my son’s old bedroom, where she flopped on the floor, purring and rolling around. Then she began checking everything out – the food, the toys and her bed. She also began grooming herself, and her lifeless, dull fur was soon shining.

She was clearly happy and sat next to me. I was speechless, for once, and totally flabbergasted. It seems all she needed was to feel safe. My youngest son, Wills, came over and Eva went to him immediately. When Wills offered to adopt her, I had happiness overload. I was thrilled for Eva and so proud of Wills for giving her a chance and a wonderful home.

They truly are a match made in heaven. Eva has everything she could possibly want now – love, kindness and security. She arose like a phoenix and can finally leave her sadness behind.