Today, we were on our way to the discount store because I wanted to buy some mints, and we ended up getting a cat.

We noticed a sign with pictures of cats on it. Just for today, they were giving them away. We hesitated, but gradually inched our way inside, where all four walls were lined with cages containing all colors, sizes and ages of cats. I couldn’t bear to look at the kittens, but one particular cat caught my eye, a beautiful flecked female, probably part Abyssinian.

We hesitated some more, but it felt like the decision had been made for us. We filled out some paperwork, then the woman showed us how much we would have to pay to cover vaccinations, spaying and flea treatment. It came to over $200. We were both a bit shocked, and the woman noticed.

She explained that the cats had all been rescued and looked after by volunteers. The doctoring had also been done by volunteers, so they were only charging costs. I remembered how much all of that cost for Plato and Dana; that was 18 years ago and still three times what the volunteers were asking. I think they might have been willing to let us have her for free, but the woman also explained that if we paid those costs, they could afford to rescue another animal. That’s when I started to cry.

Kitty (we haven’t named her yet) is from Futaba-machi in Fukushima, an area recently taken off the no-go list but still uninhabitable because of nuclear contamination. She’s probably about 11 months old, so born after the disaster. She was breathing hard, clearly frightened, but the woman said she’s very playful and likes people. And when I touched her, she was, like most cats, softer than silk; she has smooth healthy fur, clear eyes, a slim tail that darkens toward the tip.

I hit my two month anniversary of not smoking two days ago and wanted to feel good about that. I didn’t really, but I feel good about Kitty in about a thousand different ways.


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