Like the typical Jerusalem street cat, she was black with a dirty white bib, shabby, shy and skittish.
“She’s ugly!” Our neighbor remarked.
But I thought there was something special to her, even though she had a broken tail, which hung limp and jangled as she walked.
From a distance I saw her lovingly nursing four kittens which she guarded like a tiger.
I began to feed her. The hunted look told me she wasn’t sure I was to be trusted. She’d empty the plate the moment I left. “Batsy” I called her, also because her face resembled that of a bat.
Slowly, gradually, Batsy began to trust me, even that I stroked her. In time, she even came when I called her name.
Bill gave in and she came to live with us.
She was a perfect match - a ‘handicapped’ cat, in a family with three special needs children. The dogs ignored her, and she behaved as if she’d always belonged to us.
However, being an outside cat, Batsy refused to use the litter-box. During the day she patiently waited near the front door to be let out. At night, usually around 3 a.m., she’d meow softly in front of our bedroom door. Sleep-drunk I’d stumble downstairs, let her out and fall back into bed.
But the affection she gave me was worth every broken night.
One morning, the newspaper man had an extraordinary story.
“You know she saved my life?” Batsy sat on his lap inside the car. “Before you took her, I always fed her during my rounds.” Affectionately he lifted Batsy’s head. “One morning, I spent more time than usual with her. Because of this special cat, I arrived at the junction áfter the suicide bomber blew up a bus.” He shivered. “I would have been in the thick of it.”
In the course of time Batsy was diagnosed with terminal kidney failure. Brokenhearted, I consented to have her put to sleep.
“She was such a sweetie,” the vet’s assistant sniffed.
Tears streaming down my face, I stroked Batsy’s head, thanked her for the blessing she had been to us, and others she had touched by her sweetness. She died March 31st, 2007.
I missed her terribly, but life went on and summer arrived.
During an evening walk, a kitten suddenly jumped out of the bushes, meowing loudly.
“Hello little one!”
I forced myself to walk on and mused about the Tabby tiger-striped-and-white kitten with the beautiful black-ringed ‘Cleopatra’ eyes. ‘Yaffa’ – beautiful, would be a fitting name, I thought.
“You won’t believe what’s sitting outside our door,” the downstairs neighbor called two days later.
When I appeared at the top of the stairs, the kitten looked up at me. I sat down and threw some kibble. Curious, he peeked around the corner and began to eat.
“Hello little beauty,” I softly coaxed.
Hesitantly he came nearer.
I held my breath when he jumped on my lap and began to purr. He looked up, then softly ticked against my nose with his little paw. I thought I was dreaming.
God did a miracle, and Bill consented to have another cat come and live with us.
“Let’s call him Yoffee,” he suggested - a combination of the Hebrew “Yaffa”, beautiful, and slang for “wonderful”.
“How do you manage to find such special cats?” the vet’s assistant stroked the unafraid, loud purring kitten.
“We don’t.” I was amazed myself. “I believe they are sent to us - by God.”
Besides the fact that he was teeming with fleas, Yoffee was declared a healthy kitten, about 4 months old.
He fit like a glove in our family.
Although at first the old dogs weren’t too enthusiastic about the naughty, playful intruder, in time, they learned to ignore him too.
Everyone loved him, including Bill. He never much was a cat person, also due to his tendency for allergies. However, the affection between Yoffee and him was mutual, which made it a double blessing for me.
A few months after Yoffee came to bless our lives, a surprising thought hit me - Yoffee was born end March, beginning of April 2007.
We will never know, but I wouldn’t be surprised that he was born on the day we had to say goodbye to our beloved Batsy.
Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need, but sometimes have to wait awhile to receive it.
For me it was Yoffee - a beautiful, wonderful blessing.
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