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Nova was an older rescue, found on the side of the road amid debris a few days after a Florida hurricane strike. The good Samaritan who found her thought he had hit her as he drove through the damage, but quickly realized she was simply scared and desperate for help and food. Even in those dire straits, she was gentle and friendly.
He asked around in the neighborhood, but nobody claimed her. Many of the homes were empty due to the recent storm, so she may have been left behind in the panic of evacuation.
While she was unclaimed, she must have belonged to somebody at some point, because though she had no collar and had clearly been a mother multiple times, she had already been spayed when she arrived at the shelter. She was also comfortable around people. The vet at the shelter guessed her age was between five- and eight-years-old.
She clearly had been living rough for a while when she was found, hungry and scared. She spent almost six months in the shelter cage, overlooked by prospective adopters, as she had so many strikes against her. She was older, large (about 14 lean pounds when I got her), had been a mother, and was almost solid black.
Yet despite having apparently been an outdoor or perhaps indoor/outdoor cat, she adapted quickly to a strictly indoor life. She was happy to spend days watching the birds, squirrels and neighbor’s dogs from the safety of the screen room, and snuggle, purring in my lap in the evenings. I was well accustomed to bigger cats – my most recent rescues before her had been brothers who had reached well muscled 19 and 21 pounds respectively – so her size was actually a plus. More lap coverage!
Nova earned her name due to a single tiny patch of white on her chest. I had been going through a rough time emotionally, and she became my little light in the darkness! Together we made a fresh start, healing from our respective traumas, and building a life as devoted companions.
She wasn’t particularly demonstrative, or playful, but one thing she absolutely loved was Fishy! I sew, so I made a red felt oversized Swedish Fish stuffed with the best catnip. I could always tell when it was time to refresh the catnip, as she would drag it out from wherever she had hidden it and leave it in the middle of the floor! I would unpick the stitching on the mouth, empty the stale herb and refill, re-stitch. She would chew it, wrestle it, and use it as her pillow!
Over the years I had occasion to see her gentle nature and easy going outlook at work. When another hurricane was due, I was invited to spend the duration with a friend who had an elderly dog. The pair of them genteelly ignored each other with nary a bark nor hiss – it was so cute!
Years later, we spent extended times visiting another friend with four cats of her own. The first time, there was occasional hissing of the “keep your distance” sort with the only other female, but still no overt antagonism. The males all tolerated her, and she them, and she appeared to enjoy these visits as much as I did.
Eventually her health began to decline when she was about 14. First warning was litter box issues, then lack of appetite and the resultant weight loss. Kidney failure was the endgame, so with the vet’s assistance I kept her as comfortable as possible, since nothing could be done, and she passed peacefully in my lap earlier this year. Lovely and sweet-natured to the end, she will be sorely missed.