Tuesday, December 01, 2020

New Resident - Miss Zoë Moonshadow - Russian blue mix

My wife Christine began studying the Heritage Humane Society's website a short time back, feeling possibly ready to adopt a cat again. 

Oliver Littlechap passed away a year ago. Some of the pain of loss remains, and his absence has been apparent during quarantine. The empty spot, where he sat at our back door looking out, has been a regular and the most-obvious reminder. 

Zoë in her new bed

But we've reached a point of mostly thinking back fondly, warmed by his memory and the joy he brought. He was a gentle, good natured soul even though he was a fierce hunter when we lived at the edge of a wooded area in Texas.

We've always been happy too for the time he got to be the center of attention after cats older than he and higher in the pecking order of cat society crossed the rainbow bridge. 

As she perused cats, seeking the temperament that might match our own--and be right for our furniture--Christine realized it was proving a bit difficult and that Oliver and Ashley, the last two arrivals in our household found us. 

Oliver ambled about with other neighborhood cats until he discovered our back patio might be a spot for an occasional treat and Ashley was blown into our yard in Texas by the outer bands of Hurricane Rita. He was hungry and plagued by earmites, blind in one eye, and easily a good fit in our household once he decided he'd make us his own.

Christine weighs decisions with extraordinary care anyway, so candidates in search of a forever home required deep contemplation.


In a field of much need, with many deserving, something about a small Russian blue mix kept drawing her attention. Wide-eyed and a bit nervous in photos, reports indicated the 5-year-old dubbed Keesu was sweet natured but reeling from her experiences and life in a kennel.

She'd belonged to one service member who'd re-homed her when a deployment notice demanded it. Keesu wound up with the humane society because her new owner was deployed as well without the time for finding yet another home.

Keesu had done well with other pets though she had been terrified by larger dogs. 

Zoë on the bedChristine and I donned our masks and went for a visit. The kitty was in a cat bed inside her cage, draped with a comforting curtain. The staff had been doing all they could to keep her calm and comfortable.

She emerged slowly but greeted us pleasantly and rubbed her head against her bed much the way our tom Monty greeted us on a pound visit in Central Louisiana. 

She won our hearts in an instant, but we had learned on the way in someone previously had expressed an interest. Protocol dictated 24 hours for a decision. I hesitated to get too attached to her on our visit, given our relationship might be brief.

We went back home, and I felt more anxiety than I had expected. A few minutes with her had been all it took to confirm Christine's instincts in reading about her and studying her website pictures. 

Happily the call came early the next morning, a Sunday, and we made arrangements to pick her up that afternoon.

She spent time under our bed once we brought her home, a little longer not venturing from the bedroom, taking her meals in the master bathroom. 

But gradually she began to spend more time with us and travel a little further and a little further outward until she made a trip downstairs to visit Christine at her makeshift, quarantine-time office on our dining room table.


In a little more time, her name emerged. We suspected Keesu might have come from a figure in Elder Scrolls, a visual match for her grey features. But she wasn't responding to it. Not always an indication in cat life, but a fresh start seemed warranted and the humane society staff had thought a new name should be fine.

Something elegant and maybe Jazz Age, Christine suggested, but Zelda Fitzgerald's tragic end dissuaded that first notion. Zoë--"life" in Greek--slowly processed as a possibility. 

Life seemed a good and appropriately ironic fit for a cat of ash color in the midst of a pandemic, a burst of new energy in our world, a more permanent home for the new feline friend. 

And Cat Stevens tunes hit the soundtrack of our lives, triggered by a cover version of "The Wind" on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. 

Moonshadow followed and became an earworm, and obviously the surname of a grey "leapin' and hoppin'" new resident, a new wind for the soul. 

Zoë sitting - Russian blue cat

Miss Zoë Moonshadow.


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