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I’d like to thank everyone we encountered at Northeast Animal Shelter for helping us select the new addition to our family!  You guys knew her as Trudy, but in a gesture toward self-determination, we kinda thought she might respond better to ‘Tapioca’… not that we’ve been feeding her any! 😉

Cannot adequately express how much happiness she has brought to our lives in the four months since we fell in love with her, all skittish and shy in her kennel, but with some gentle coaxing, ready to receive an affectionate tickle behind the ears.

At first she hid herself deep in the depths of a closet in her litter room, rarely to venture out by the light of day, but gradually she mustered the courage to cautiously poke out her head and scan her new whereabouts.  Eating only a few morsels of the dry food (and only sniffing at the wet stuff from a can) she barely drank at all during the first couple of days.  Bit by bit she acclimated to the new abode, though, and by the fourth day we were leaving open the door to her room, allowing her to explore the rest of the apartment at her discretion.  Then she vanished.  The animal was was simply gone – leaping out one of the second story windows to the front porch roof?  or maybe slipping out the screen door to the back porch when we were’t paying attention?  There was no sign of her anywhere! We began to beat ourselves up over her panic-stricken flight.  How could we have been so irresponsible? How many flyers should we tape to all the signposts and trees in our neighborhood?

Two days passed.  We checked every crevice of closet, every nook of cabinet and corner, even inside the box spring of our bed. Had she used the litter box? No. Were there nibbles at food bowl? Apparently not. A sense of dread impinging, we were trying really hard not to freak out completely.  In a bleary, distracted haze I lolled onto the couch in our living room to ponder the possibilities for the thousandth time. If she managed to access the walled-off chimney through an unobtrusive crevice or she’s stuck in the defunct dumbwaiter descending off the hall closet, or somehow fell down either shaft into the basement, how would we hear her?  If she went from porch roof to tree bough, and tried to cross the busy road out front (which carries heavy traffic until after midnight most days), it would surely be curtains for her.  Then, faintly, in the whirling of my anxious brain, I heard a short, yet very distinct little sound, impossible to confuse with any creaking door, rattling window casing, or hiss of plumbing pipe. It was a soft little sneeze, and it came from the vacant armchair next to me.  My heart leapt into my throat as I instantly knew that our fine furry friend had not met her horrible end in some basement brickwork, nor vanished into oblivion after all!

From beneath the chair, she had climbed up and nestled into the undercarriage of the old wing-back, neatly camouflaged from view and able to monitor our comings and goings – by seeing our feet if little else – from her perfect little secret pillbox!

Tappy has come a long way since those anguished first days in her new surroundings; she follows us around from room to room when we’re home in the evenings, meowing and mewlng when the mood strikes, ever curious to investigate and interact; lying down across our laptop keyboards and batting at our hands to keep caressing and petting her if her cuddling quotient has yet to be met. Her metabolism has regulated nicely and unless a stranger is introduced to her midst, that initial shyness has entirely evaporated. Displaying some powerful nocturnal predation, she transforms like clockwork into a werewolf-cat each evening, tearing around the apartment chasing phantom mice, ambushing her play-toys after rhythmically rocking and revving-up her hind-quarters like a little drag-racer at the starting lights.

We are so grateful to have found her and feel tremendously blessed that she might have gone prematurely to the farm upstate if not for NEAS.  Thank you so much for everything you do, and know that your efforts and expertise have absolutely transformed Tapioca – and also her “parents –  as our humble apartment is a now a happy home with lots of crazy-cat love.