"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Miss Amber Lou

By on July 29, 2019 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Connie Bean and Miss Amber Lou, who is a little unsure about having her photo taken.

 By Constance Nelson Bean

Shortly after I lost my husband, I realized how very quiet my home was each day. I found I was talking to myself, leaving the TV and music on far longer than I truly enjoyed. 

I began to think a pet might be a nice addition to my quiet home. 

Because I live in a condo community, I knew I was limited on the kind and type of pet that would work best in my community. I decided a cat was the answer. 

I shared this thought with my adult children, and all were supportive. Adopting a mature cat seemed most logical at my age. 

Youngest daughter, Jill, began sending me pictures of mature cats listed on the web site for the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. 

One brave morning, I drove myself down to check out one cat Jill thought I would like. It was a lovely cat, but the only problem was it would have nothing to do with me. It even pulled away when I held it. The body language was very clear. I was not to be its new “hooman.” 

I eventually gave up on any ideas of what I might want as it became very clear none of the mature cats I checked out wanted anything to do with me. 

Then one morning the idea of adopting a kitty came to mind. 

Once again, I shared with the family my new plan. All but one of the children are cat people and had a beloved cat, including my grandchildren. They all promised me my kitty would always have a home with one of them. 

So, this encouraged me to go back to the Humane Society and look at kitties. Wow, kitties are adorable and all love to be played with and loved. 

I began to think about what color and kind of kitty I would like. A calico cat was one cat I had always thought was so beautiful. 

One day a calico kitty came up on the web site so down I went to check her out. She was a disaster. She was in her litter of white fluffy brothers and sisters with gray spots and china blue eyes. Each one more adorable than its sibling. 

In the middle of this active white ball of fluff was a little skinny, rat looking calico with very large ears. She looked completely miserable. 

She then looked up at me with her big amber eyes as if to say. “Please ‘Hooman,’ rescue me.” 

I asked to pick her up. The assistant asked if the rat-like cat was really the one, I wanted to pick up as the others in her litter were so adorable. I said, “Yes.” 

This little kitty hugged my neck, purred and did not want to leave me. Oh my, I found my cat, or better yet, the little kitty found me. It was love at first touch. 

I had to leave her to have her fixed and a chip put in. So off I went to purchase what one needs for a brand-new kitty. Many dollars later, and all set up in my bathroom, I was ready to pick up my very own kitty, Amber Lou. 

My biggest concern was whether this little 4-month-old kitty knew about litter boxes? It was the only question I asked of humane society staff. 

“Of course,” I was told. Kitties have a “built-in nature” to do this. 

All the way home I prayed this rat of a cat was not passed by when the “built-in nature” was given out. 

On the way home I do not know who was more stressed, Amber Lou or myself. Those first few days were a blur. We both were very hesitant with one another and hiding behind a door in a far corner of the bathroom was her favorite hangout. 

But blessings for sure, she knew her litter box. 

Eventually we still had two hurdles to get over as she approached a year. 

One was when it was time to change from kitty food to adult food. I tried sprinkling a bit of adult food into her bowl mixed with kitty food. NO DEAL. She would not eat either. 

After a day or so, I dumped all kitty food and gave her all adult food. Bingo, that was the ticket. She ate it all and that day became my adult cat. 

The last big hurdle was the switch from a regular litter box to a fancy loo for Amber Lou that had crystals in it. It only needed to be changed once a month. 

My adult children gave this to me for Mother’s Day and I was thrilled. Amber Lou was not. I could not get her to go into it. She would not use it for several days. 

I was worried I would find little surprises about the house. My children shared that cats can go for several days without using the loo and often do not go at all when traveling. So, I prayed her “inbuilt nature” was still with her. On about the third day all was well. I am sure she felt much better and was one happy cat.

As the two of us were becoming a family, she learned to “sit” on command for treats. None of my family believed me but when Amber Lou showed off for them, they figured I had picked out one smart cat. She loves her treats.

Amber Lou does not like me to be gone. She gives me a hard time when I return. She comes towards me and then turns, puts her tail and rear in the air and runs off. 

This lasts for several hours until I sit down, and she wants up for a love on my lap. She has a favorite position and I know all is well once again with the two of us. 

She does have a sweet temperament and has grown into a gorgeous black calico cat. She loves to roll on her back and show off her beautiful multicolored tummy when guests come. 

Amber Lou manages our home efficiently. She guards our home when I leave. 

We have become a family, Amber Lou and me. Our home is filled with activity and love once again. Life is good. 

Constance Nelson Bean is a retired educator living in the Wenatchee Valley.

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