Thursday, June 7, 2018

In the Beginning: Cammie

Cammie came to me in June, 2013, from an unpleasant situation. We were told by a woman that a cat was being physically abused by a boy in a household. She had the father of the family agree to her taking the cat for safekeeping, but she could not keep her. The PAW Society was contacted and, because it was an emergency situation, and no other spot was available, the cat, now named Cammie, came to live with me.

Cammie was distrustful. She hissed and growled when I ventured into the room into which she was placed. Two people were required to take her to a veterinary examination; we dropped a blanket over her and stuffed her into the carrier that way. She was kept in a room in my house until she grew accustomed to her new environment. Eventually, she met the other cats. She did not like them. She still doesn’t.

The newcomer seemed to be somewhat fascinated with Tungsten, though. Cammie followed the orange one about, much to the latter’s consternation. The two girls may have become friends, if given time. A decade or two.

Gradually, Cammie began to trust me. I well remember hearing her purr for the first time, while she condescended to let me pet her. Then, she jumped up onto my lap. There are few things to compare with the first time you realise that an animal may actually think you aren’t the worst thing in the world. We still had far to go; as Churchill said after the Battle of El Alamein, “It is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. But it may be, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

The princess received a shock in May, 2014. She was adopted. I was ambivalent about it. I was glad that she was going to a home, but worried that she would not be treated as she needed to be. All cats require time to adjust; some require more than others. Cammie required the most of all. There was something about the adopter (who, for convenience, I will call X) that made me uneasy; maybe it was how she didn’t seem listen when I explained what Cammie was like. She may have wanted Cammie just because she was Siamese. But this was my foster-cat’s chance, and I realised that she likely would not be given many.

Off Cammie went to Regina. My unease increased over the next few weeks. I write the monthly newsletter for the PAW Society, and it always includes a story about each adoption as they occur. This entails an interview with the human involved. I had a very difficult time reaching X. When I spoke to her, she described actions that didn’t seem like Cammie’s; they were too friendly, too fast.

One of the PAW Executive Board, B, visits Regina on personal business every couple of months. She had loaned an extra-large carrier to X, for the long journey into Saskatchewan. When next in Regina, she stopped by X’s house to pick it up. No one was home. But X’s son drove up by chance while B was there. B asked how Cammie was. The son was loud and rude in describing how Cammie was mentally defective. B, shocked, asked if he and his mother would like PAW to take Cammie back. The son was glad to give the cat back, and went inside the house to get her. (The ease with which he secured Cammie made me wonder later if he had grabbed the right cat. He had; Cammie’s later behaviour provided a clue to this mystery.)

I received a message from B while watching a movie (Green Fire, starring Stewart Granger). I was on my holidays, I believe. When I read the text message (“I have Cammie”), I did a mental double-take. Wasn’t Cammie adopted? Soon, I was told the story. Again, I was ambivalent; knowing what had happened, of course the princess must come home. But she was not an easy cat, grumpy and contrary. I had visions of forever fearing a slashed throat every time she had to go to the doctor, or simply have her claws cut. But when she arrived back at my house, I was glad she had been rescued, again.

Cammie’s development did not receive the set-back I had dreaded. After a couple of days, she picked up where she had left off. Slowly, we became friends. I adopted her in April, 2015.

Now, in the cosy apartment, she has become an ‘ordinary cat’. I can pick her up. She doesn’t like it, but she lets me. I can cut her claws. One at a time. I can force-feed her. She hates me for it. But every time we have words, she will, a minute later, climb onto my chest and purr, if I give her the opportunity. She has taken to lying on my neck while I am in bed. She purrs and purrs. I breathe cat-hair. Is this an improvement on her criss-crossing my body – again, purring – while I am trying to sleep? But when she walks up to me on the bed and bumps my chin with her head, I will let her do pretty much anything.

She still screams bloody murder at times, just as she did when she first came to live with me. She has never intentionally harmed me. Perhaps she never would have. Perhaps she was always a great load of bluff. Maybe that’s why X’s son was able to seize her so simply in Regina – that and the fact that he probably didn’t care about being gentle. I certainly never intend to provoke Cammie into proving me wrong, but there may be more fear than ferocity in her, still.

It was nearly miraculous how she was rescued a second time. If B hadn’t had to go to Regina, if X’s son hadn’t shown up during the few minutes B was at his house, Cammie would still be there. Well, probably not. She has had terrible episodes of what can only be allergic reactions to food – pretty much everything but what she is eating right now. What would her chances have been suffering such a bout in such a household?

Well, we don’t worry about such things now. I worry about Cammie eating something she shouldn’t; about her getting out through the screen door; about her choking on something; about her developing cancer. You know, the usual things. But the princess is my friend, and we worry about our friends.


  1. Awww sweet Cammie I think I understand you a little more. Miss Pops is similar, she is not a cat that likes a lot of handling. She will grumble and moan if I pick her up - she is a cat who likes her paw on the floor, but will come and sit on my lap occasionally. I take it where I can get it.

    Julie and Poppy Q

  2. I remember Cammie's story, especially the failed first adoption. It definitely was the hand of Fate or the Universe or whatever you choose to call it, that she was rescued that second time. Now she has had a very successful second adoption--with the right human this time. :-)

  3. I'm so glad you kept Cammie. She certainly had a rough start in life, but I believe everything works out for the best. From what you wrote, Cammie certainly deserves the best, and since you adopted her, I think the best is what she got!

  4. That she was rescued yet again is a great relief to me but what she went through breaks my heart in two I am always worried in the background, when a cat is adopted. You don't know what they go in to. You have to trust and hope that the cat will fare well. They are completely defenseless and innocent. Many people are not. But cats must have homes and all we can do is try to vet their adopters as best as we can. I say we as though I did this. I don't. I included myself because I care so deeply what happens. Not the same thing, I know. I am grateful for the work of all rescuers and volunteers. They are angels on earth.

  5. Poor Cammie. I remember that psycho woman and the whole adoption disaster, but I didn't know (or had forgotten) that she came from an abusive environment.

    My Kate is a lot like Cammie. Before I took her in, she had been traumatized as a kitten, and has never fully gotten over it. When she's relaxed and feeling unthreatened, she's the sweetest, purriest little ball of fluff you've ever seen. But if you pick her up when she doesn't want to be picked up, or make a move she doesn't like, she instantly gets hissy and scratchy. It's a defense mechanism. And unfortunately, she can't stand the sight of the other cats. I know she'd be happier as an only cat, but that can't be helped.

    I wish more people understood that "bad" or "unfriendly" cats are generally just scared cats.

  6. it was a long road, but we are so glad for a happy ending

  7. Cammie has the purrfect advocate in you! The whole adoption thing is nerve-wracking; one's intuition plays a role if it's allowed to. Cammie is very pretty, but like our Angel, is not too happy around other kitties.

  8. I do remember Cammie's unfortunate second attempt at adoption, I am so glad that fate allowed her to be returned to you, and that you understand her needs. She is loved and she knows it now.

  9. I remember when Cammie was adopted and how glad I was to hear she was back in your home. She deserves to be happy and it's pretty clear, despite the occasional episode of hollering (by her) that she is.

    I suppose you never heard another word from X?


    1. We never did hear from X. We returned her adoption fee, though I don't recall that she asked for it.

  10. Cammie has had a bad start too. I think I just started reading your blog when you were fostering her. When she was brought back to you after that horrible adoption, I cried. That poor girl! She may not always be happy but she's safe and well loved with you. I have a cat who also acts like a princess. She tolerates the other cats but I know she would be happy if they left. (Which will never happen).

  11. I hate to think of what poor Cammie's life would have been like it he PAW society representative had not shown up when they did at The adoptive home. I am so thankful they did! And that Cammie is back with you. Thank you for adopting her.

  12. It was upsetting, all over again, to read about Cammie’s life before she came to you. Somehow I either didn’t know about or blocked out her history of abuse. Her behaviour now seem so much less princess in origin and more obviously the behavior she shares with victims of childhood abuse. . Her G.I issues are so much more understandable. Thank goodness for the caring , brave woman who rescued her from the horrible family situation. You probably are the first stable loving home this older girl has ever had. How horribly sad is that? It must be heaven for Cammie to rest next to you knowing is finally safe and loved. She and her home with you are in my prayers.

  13. I remember how uneasy you were when Cammie was adopted. Gut instinct is very powerful. It is a blessing she was rescued from that home and returned to you where she receives the best of care.

  14. cammie; we are truly sorry you had such a bad start in life; and it indeed was fate that A B and C all rather fell into place of sorts, so that in the end you ended up with I have trust issues to this day; and will if I live another 15; no one's sure why and I'm not telling. we are happy though to call you friend and glad you finally arrived "home " ~~~~~~ ♥♥♥