Nervous Mom

Nessie 800Near the end of last year, my son’s neighbor heard her dogs barking, and when she tried to bring them in, she caught them chasing an orange kitten about three to four months old. She managed to get the traumatized kitten onto her screened porch and kept it there about six weeks with little human contact. At least she fed the kitten and kept the dogs away.

My son and his wife heard the story, so they adopted the kitten. When they brought her home, she scrambled for a hiding place under the spare room bed and stayed there another two weeks. They named her Nessie, after the Loch Ness monster that stays hidden.

When Nessie finally started venturing out, my son’s other cat pounced on her, traumatizing her further. It wasn’t a good situation for the kitten, so they talked about the best solution. I thought about taking her, but I had doubts.

I’ve had pets most of my life, but after my divorce a few years ago and my move to CA, I hadn’t thought seriously about getting another one. I didn’t even have a plant – I was too busy trying to adjust to a new life in a new state, and it was all I could do to take care of me.

But I kept thinking about this little kitten. My previous dog and cat had been rescue animals, and both had enriched my life.

Would I have the energy to devote to a traumatized kitten? Did I even want to? After all, I now had freedoms I hadn’t had in years. I could come and go as I pleased, no matter the time, and I didn’t have to answer to anyone. Did I really want to curb this freedom by taking care of a pet?

I gave it serious thought and realized yes, I came and went as I pleased, but seldom stayed long. Instead, I’ve devoted most of my energies into building my writing career. And, I finally admitted I was lonely.

So, I took the kitten. My son brought her over with enough supplies to last for months. As soon as he let Nessie out of the carrier, she dashed for the back of my sofa – and stayed three days. She didn’t eat, visit the litter box, nothing. My son visited and finally coaxed her out for short times with treats. It took several days for Nessie to emerge long enough to realize she was the only pet in the house, and she stayed out for longer periods of time. Soon she freely roamed the house, but would hide if anyone entered my home. Even my son, who had tried to nurture her.

I poured all my energies and love into this kitten. I think I identified with her – we were both lost souls. Soon, she and I became inseparable, and now she follows me from room to room. But she’d still hide if anyone else entered my home.

I tried to get her into the carrier for a vet’s visit, and she freaked out, digging in her claws to escape my arms. And worse, again she hid from me. I had to cancel the appointment.

Then, the inevitable occurred: she went into heat. Several times. I wanted to get her to the vet, but I knew the only way was to manhandle her into the carrier, and if that wasn’t traumatic enough – for her and for me – the stay at the vet would be torture for her. Would she ever trust me again?

Going into heat was difficult for her and for me, so I made another appointment. And worried.

A friend gave me a couple of cat-calming wipes to use on the carrier, so on the day of reckoning, I took the carrier into the bathroom, wiped it down, and shut her in until my son arrived. He had volunteered – as they do in the Army – because he had better luck handling her when she’s stressed. He got her into the carrier with ease. He’s naturally very good at handling cats, just seems to understand them. I thought I was too, had done so in the past. But with Nessie? I was a nervous mom. Perhaps because she was already traumatized, perhaps because I was older.

We got Nessie to the vet’s, and I hated leaving her. I could imagine her feeling abandoned again, betrayed by the one person she’d begun to feel she could trust. I nearly lost my breakfast. But surgery went well, and we picked her up. She was groggy and slept most of that day, which was fine with me. My son, having gone through this surgery twice in the past year with his own cats, went to his own home, assuring me Nessie would be fine, and I could call if needed. The rest of that day and the next, I kept watching Nessie and checking her incision. I barely slept.

This morning marks the 48 hour recovery time, and Nessie’s nearly back to her old self. She even jumped up onto her high perch on her cat condo.

And yes, she lets me pet her, and she’s not hiding. Hooray! The patient is doing well, better than I expected, so for the first time in over a week, I can relax. I’m so glad I didn’t back out and cancel the appointment.

Now, thanks to my son and a good vet, the nervous mom is now a happy mom. And Nessie? Take a look:


I'm a novelist, short story writer, and I currently serve as CEO for L. Cooper Press, a service for writers. Thomson-Gale bought one of my novels, With Full Malice, for their 5 Star Mystery line, then Harlequin WorldWide Mysteries bought the mass market paperback rights. I lead a novel critique group in Redlands, CA, so if you're in the area and writing a novel, join us: When I can't attend, Amy Fletcher leads the group. You can always contact me through my websites:

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4 comments on “Nervous Mom
  1. Libby Grandy says:

    Loved hearing your story. There is nothing like the love of a rescued animal. We got our dog, Missy, from the Upland Rescue Center two years ago, and she has been a true joy. She’s ten years old. We’re growing old together.

    • Brenda Hill says:

      I so agree, Libby. I’m glad you found Missy, and I’m sure she’s had and will have a wonderful life with you. Pets are wonderful additions to our families, and now I can’t imagine my life without Nessie.

  2. Elizabeth Persons says:

    Brenda, you are hooked. That precious kitty has you just where she wants you. I know that you have heard that humans never own cats,they only think they do. Cats don’t have to think about it at all, they know who runs things. I’m so glad you have her, she will be so good for you. It is more difficult to gain the love and trust of a rescued cat I believe. You have to earn that trust, the love will come soon enough. We have a rescue, from our oak tree out front, a beautiful cat named Simon. He was days from death when we literally pulled him from the tree. He bonded with John first, but ran from me. Finally he discovered that I would rock him & he loved to be rocked, like a baby with his little head on my shoulder. Often in the middle of the night he would come creeping up, climb on my chest, put one paw around my neck, tuck his head under my chin and go back to sleep. A bit later, I guess when he got tired of lying that way he would start scooting his backend backward, like he wanted. What he wanted was to lie on his back beside me, with me on my side cuddling him. He would always put thar one little paw on my neck. It always felt like he was trying to cuddle me too. He usually stayed like that until about 5 a.m. the time he felt it was time to eat. That was John’s job, so he climbed over him to wake him for the morning meal. This beautiful relationship went on until we (or rather I) got a beautiful rescue pup. At first all went well, then one morning Simon was sitting on John’s knee. JoJo, the pup, raised up on the knee to check things out, but instead received a slap from Simon. From that point on, no more cuddling at night with Simon. JoJo’s little growls can sound quite ferocious. I miss those cuddles, but little JoJo is so precious and didn’t have a lot of love in her first 18 months of life. She will lie beside me and just stare with those beautiful brown eyes. Though I miss Simon & his sweet loving ways, he has John. JoJo is my little sweetheart and my little shadow as she follows me from room to room. I just wish these two knew how to share. Keep the stories of Nessie coming. You can write a book by Nessie, “How Brenda Became my Human.”

    P.S. Sorry it’s so long. Love your Nessie story, and am hoping for a long happy relationship!

    • Brenda Hill says:

      I remember Simon, especially those beautiful eyes. And I’ve seen your photos of JoJo. He’s so cute. You’re so right about them having us right where they want us. It’s amazing how I try to make sure Nessie has what she needs and wants. She’s such a joy that I’m happy to be her human.

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