One evening, a cocktail waitress saw the scruffy, white cat scamper to the dumpster. Stealthily, she followed her back her kittens. Enthralled, she gave them snacks on her breaks. Lobster, steak, ham, and caviar were standard. The family benefitted greatly from Vegas’ “free buffet” policy. The manager would ordinarily have a litter ousted by the local animal control. But he was sweet on the kind-hearted waitress. She convinced him to leave them alone. In the meantime, she phoned her feline-savvy friend and prepared to find homes for the entire bunch.
The mama had never known people. She was a true feral and wary. The friend knew if she didn’t catch her the first time, there would be no second try. The girl, waitress, and manager set up one trap after stopping the flow of food for a day. They hoped a delectable sardine and lobster bisque would entice this wild thing from the dumpster into their well-concealed cage.
Since Las Vegas is a 24 hour town, the waitress set up a series of sentries to keep an eye on the cage. Coyotes were rampant in Vegas, especially around the casinos. She didn’t want Ivory (as she named Mama) to meet a bad end.
It worked. That morning, mama was throwing herself against the wire cage, hissing and spitting like a snake. They quickly gathered up the kittens, who were barely two weeks old, and hustled the family off to the feral-friendly vet who had the scars to prove it.
The trapping group found a ranch to take the family. Mama had the run of the barn. She hid each of her kits in a fine nest and never ran out of milk. In a month, the three kittens were scampering all over. Two were female and one was male. The waitress decided to take the male. Although slower than the others, she whispered to the manager, “He has a cream color coat that’s to die for.”
Sunny, as she named him, was different than most cats. He never stopped purring. When she'd hold him, he purred louder. At times, he walked in circles and then flop down where he stopped. The vet felt he had some nerve problems, but didn't think it was serious. He pronounced Sunny happy and healthy. She was relieved.
One day, the waitress never woke up. Sunny lay on her legs looking up at her ashen face. He meowed and decided to sleep by her hair. She was so still. He moved to her chest. When the paramedics came in, they pulled him gently off the girl. It was an overdose. Not understanding what 'overdose' meant, Sunny tried to keep these strangers away from his friend. He bit one hand hard. The attendant threw him on the floor and kept working on the girl. She didn't move.
Something in Sunny clicked. She left. She went somewhere else. He could barely smell her anymore. She was gone. He decided to look for her and crept out the half-opened door unnoticed. In the desert heat, he began his quest. He looked for her everywhere in the strange city. He'd never seen so many people and buildings. He kept searching.
One day, a little girl pointed at him. “Daddy, daddy, kitty, kitty”. The daddy could see that this cat had seen better days. Sunny had been walking the Las Vegas Strip for weeks - eating out of dumpsters and drinking from fountains. The man was a good-hearted man. He picked him up and noticed his blue collar. He'd call the number and reunite the cat with his owner.
The family put Sunny in the back of the SUV with litter, food and water. He was beside himself. He knew he had to find the waitress - his only real friend. There was no time for this family. He escaped at the first gas station that they stopped at. The little girl opened the door and he was gone. They searched for him for hours and finally gave up.
Now Sunny was in the real desert. The family was staying at a hotel outside of the city. It was barren and hot. He ran under the gas station then set out to return to the glittering city east of him. It was blistering the next day. There was no water anywhere. Dehydration was catching up to him. He decided to stop for a moment and slept. It was no ordinary sleep. It was the sleep of death.
Then he saw her. His friend! She waved gently and told him to turn back - it wasn’t his time. She explained that when he laid on her, he saved her. She was alive; but, barely. She would be going far away where he couldn’t go, to help her get better. He was a healer. She had always known he was special. Then she disappeared.
The family discovered him half dead on the highway. They also learned the fate of the young waitress. She knew she was in for the fight of her life as she got clean. She was ready to face what she had to.
The family adopted the quiet Sunny and flew him home to BeauFleur. That was fine with Sunny. In BeauFleur, Sunny joined the Abbottsford Cats and was dubbed, Delikayny, for his gentle ways. He became the clowder's Healer.
"Delikatny" The Healer @ PhotoArt by Kim Yvonne Cady"Sunny Sees" Photograph by Kim Cady @2011