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Friends of Felines Rescue Center, Defiance, OH 43512

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Badu -- Always Loved


It makes us love them that much more:  their uniqueness, their independence.  No two cats are alike.  They might even be from the same litter, but still be so very different (Penn and Teller or the Paddy boys, for example).

And only they know why they do the things they do and only they know why they feel the things they feel.  They cannot tell us what has happened in their past that have made certain traits about them be that way.  We can give them love, give them an unconditional feeling of safety and security, but still they are shaped by their past and while it is easy to learn, it is so very difficult to unlearn.

And so they are who they are, and we love them just the same.  But we are the ones who must rise above emotions and love them enough to know that some things cannot be changed about them and the best we can do is to do what is best for them.

She is simply one of the most beautiful cats you will ever see with silver, black and a bit of a calico on her face. 

She arrived on August, 10, 2011.  The word Badu means “the tenth born child.”  And so on the 10th of August this beautiful cat arrived at FFRC and was named Badu.  She was born 8/1/2007.  When she was a kitten she belonged to a young woman and lived with her by herself.  But when she had to more out of state she gave her to her parents.  Her parents were not too happy with having a cat.  They kept her in the house for a while but then put her in a barn stall to live.  That became her home.

We will never know what life was like for her living in that stall, without human contact, without human love.  We will never know what she must have felt like spending dark, lonely nights in a stall.  We will never know what her life was like.  What we do know is that the people finally called FFRC and said they no longer wanted her.  And so Jacci took her.

FFRC is not a shelter.  It is a Rescue.  To rescue one goes well beyond the physical act. Often times the rescue is of the heart. This beautiful cat needed to be rescued from indifference.  And so she was.  And as with every cat rescued, it was always with the hope that one day she would be adopted to a home that would meet her needs.  As with every cat to be adopted, Jacci makes sure the cat and the potential adopter are a match.  That isn’t always easy.  But Jacci gets to know each cat very well before knowing the best environment for the cat.

It was clear from the beginning that Badu came with her scars.  No, not physical ones, but certainly emotional ones.  She is very expressive.  She does things on her terms.  When she wants to be petted, she allows it.  But when she has had enough, she makes it clear:  STOP.

At first, the challenge for Jacci and all the volunteers was learning her language.  To know how she spoke words like stop, not now or leave me alone.  At first she spoke these words often, but over time she became more relaxed, more comfortable with her new surroundings.

She preferred to stay up on the cat walks during those first few months.  It was her safety place.  But when a warm pile of blankets would come out of the dryer, she would jump down and climb up the mountain of warmth.  This growlie cat would become a pussycat while enjoying her mountain of blankets.

Over time, vols learned just how to pet her.  She doesn’t seem to like motions that go over her head.  She has certain parts of her body she does not want touched.  But if she is in the mood, she just loves to be petted, but when she has had enough, she sends a warning, it just needs to be paid attention to.

While this learning process was taking place, a red collar was put on her just to call out to all that this was a very special cat who needed her own space and would prefer to make the decision when and who would touch her.

As the months passed, she found certain places she preferred more than others.  Like sitting on the refrigerator, with her legs hanging down.  Every now and then she would pull up some of the paper on the fridge held by magnets.  She likes paper very much.  She likes to chew it to pieces!

Sitting with Jacci in the office quickly became one of her favorite things.  She would sit on the shelf, legs hanging just pulling up paper and “helping” Jacci, especially with anything needed shredding, even if Jacci didn’t really want it shreaded.

While she prefers to stay up high, when she would walk at floor level, it was normally preceded by distinctive growls.  Us cammers always knew when Badu was walking through. 

Despite her crankiness, Badu is not a mean cat.  In fact, at times, other cats have somewhat bullied her, causing her stress level to increase.  Yet another reason why she likes to hang out high on things.  Her picturesque pose is with her laying up high on something with her front paws dangling over the side.  It is the Badu pose. 

It didn’t take long for Badu to fall in love with Jacci and she with her.  Badu would see Jacci climbing the red steps and enter the door and wonder what was on the other side.  Soon, she would sit on the shelf nearest the door and just “talk” over and over, insisting she be let in.  One day she snuck in.  Then several more days she would sneak in.  Soon she was spending more and more time in the house and was getting along with the other cats and the routine of being a house cat.

But after a while she started becoming more and more territorial and for reasons known only to Badu started bullying several of Jacci’s cats, especially the Z’s.

Here is the reality; Badu is a one person, one cat household cat.  That is perfectly clear.  Here is another reality: FFRC is full of many cats.  Jacci’s house is full of many cats.  It is not what is best for Badu.  We all can wish it, all can hope it to be, but it is not to be.  For all the times she is a sweet loving cat there are times when she is not.  There is nothing wrong with her, it is simply who she is.  And it is not fair to her or to any of the other cats to try and wish that away.

Love, Compassion and Respect.  Three simple words that must go together.  Without respecting who Badu is and what is right for her would not be the compassionate thing to do.  And there can be no greater show of love for one than when the difficult decision is made to let go.  And so Badu will soon be going to a new home, with a woman who lives alone and is well aware of Badu’s needs.  She is willing to be Badu’s person, on Badu’s terms and is able to provide Badu with an environment she needs and so desperately wants.

And so we will say goodbye to this very special cat.  We may cry, we may feel sadness in our hearts, but we will know that Badu will be able to live her life on her terms.  There can be no greater show of love, no stronger ounce of compassion and no greater regard for respect than to allow her to be the cat she is, and live the life she deserves.

She will leave our view, but never will she leave our hearts, not mine, not yours, not the many volunteers who have helped to rescue her and certainly not Jacci’s.

UPDATE:  Badu has now moved to her new home.  After only a few weeks, she has settled in nicely, has found the kitchen table to be a favorite place and seems to be very happy being the only cat in the house.  We will always remember her, always love her and always hold a special place in our hearts for our dear, sweet Badu.