My sister, Kelly, made a decision a few months ago that profoundly impacted the life of someone battling terminal cancer. Kelly called me up one afternoon, and announced that she was headed to local SPCA to “take a look at the cats.” I’m not sure exactly what compelled her to go that day, maybe her intuition, maybe divine intervention, but regardless, we both knew in our hearts that she would not emerge empty-handed!

She had been wanting a cat for a long time, and it was clear that it wouldn’t take much to convince her boyfriend to come along for the ride. My sister, six years younger than I am, has always been a lover of animals and a kind soul, all the way down to her core, to the point where when I helped her create her first email address as a child, we settled on the embarrassing “kellylovesanimals” handle. She still cringes when I bring it up; however, I think it illustrates my point pretty well!

So, there she was at the SPCA, running her hand along the metal cages, flanked by her supportive, best friend, Elaine, when she saw him and he saw her. Immediately, she knew he was the one, green eyes winking affectionately at her, purring, smooth black fur glinting under the fluorescent lights.

She called me again that day and told me she had made a decision to adopt Benjamin, a seventeen-year-old black cat. I have to admit, my first reaction was immediate concern. Undoubtedly, this cat would require pricey veterinary checkups and interventions, and worse, he would likely die soon. That would break Kelly’s heart wide open. What had possessed Kelly to choose him?

It wasn’t solely his beauty and affectionate nature that affected her decision to adopt Benjamin, but his story and circumstances played a part as well. His owner, an elderly woman residing in a local retirement home, had been diagnosed with metastasized terminal cancer and had only been given a few weeks to live. Her entire life revolved around that cat.  The woman had provided him a beautiful life, filled with love and affection. She was shattered to abandon him. Kelly learned that the woman often called the SPCA, asking whether anyone had shown interest in him and always wondered how he was adjusting. It was truly devastating. Kelly knew then that Benjamin would become her cat.

Throughout the next week, as my sister tended to Benjamin the cat and helped him to adjust to his new life, she felt a profound sense of contentment, understanding that she had alleviated the elderly woman’s worries, allowing her to pass in peace, knowing that her beloved cat was in caring, loving hands.


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