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A New Addition To My Family

steph and family

It has been a long two years since our little Gabby cat went over the rainbow to kitty heaven. Over the last 41 years, my husband and I have always had cats. As one would get older, another one would show up at our home. I used to say I was going to write a book called “The Cats That Have Found Me”. While we both love dogs, living next door to first my in-laws, and now my daughter, we always could get our puppy fix.

When Gabby passed two years ago at 17 years old, we did not have another one ready to take her place. While our other cats’ deaths have always been so very hard on everyone, losing Gabby was extremely hard on my husband this time. She was his girl. Like a puppy, she followed him everywhere and sat on his lap at all times. Gabby was his cat. He was done. No more, he told me. At the time, I agreed with him. It was just too hard.

A few months ago, I started showing him the cute kittens I would see on FaceBook, and then we heard my grandson REALLY wanted a cat. My husband was crumbling. He was not saying no anymore. I suggested maybe in the Spring? He said perhaps now would be better! A few weeks ago, I started looking around for a kitten. But what color should I look for? I never had a choice before. They just showed up, and we loved them. Being October, I started seeing more and more black cats and thought, with Halloween around the corner, why not? I checked with the local veterinarians, but they all pointed me in the pet rescue places’ direction.

The first place I called about a cute little black one, I was turned down when I mentioned the cat would be indoor/outdoor. (please, yes, I understand about outdoor cats, but that is the way we roll). It did not matter; our cats have lived to ripe old ages of 22 years, 18 years, and 17 years. So my search continued, and I found the cutest little black and white kitten at a rescue place. I signed up, and they called to tell me she was very sick and on medicine. The more I searched, the worse it became, and I was convinced I really wanted a kitten from a farm like I am sure all of our others came from.

On Monday of this week, I mentioned on Facebook to my friends that I never knew how hard finding a kitten would be. Within an hour, a good friend that lives on a farm near me contacted me. Come on over; we have kittens. And there she was! A sweet little black kitten about 3 months old. Today while I am writing this, both my grandchildren are playing with her. She has adapted to our family with ease. She will go to the veterinarian on Thursday for all her shots. Then be scheduled for her operation, so no pregnancies. Yesterday, my grandchildren decided on her name, Bella.


Bella has figured out that she does not have to share her food anymore with the farm cats. She now has a pretty pink collar with a bell, a new bed, a new fancy expensive cat litterbox, a unique feeding station, and of course, special kitten food. I have never ever been to PetCo but stopped in on Tuesday. My daughter mentioned that I never spent that sort of money on our other cats, but oh well, such is life. Bella loves her new home. So far, her purrer has been going strong. It truly is impressive how much happiness a tiny kitten can bring to someone, but she has our hearts in two days. The simple pleasure of just petting her shinny smooth fur makes me feel everything in the world is going to be okay.

~ Stephanie Fleming; Beyond Behnkes

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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