Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

You may try to control your future, but fate has her own ideas.
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas from Pexels.

When we took off from Fort Pierce Florida for our long-delayed road trip up the US East Coast, we left a little piece of our hearts behind in the form of a blue-eyed furball named Shiva. We were smitten by a kitten who’s alternataty cuddly and an insatiably crazed play fiend whose sprints, slides, leaps, sommersaults, and spectacular falls made me laugh so hard I wet myself.

If we’ve managed to tire Shiva out, we’ve done our job.
Illustration credit: Emma Chavez on

“I believe I’ve found Shiva a good home,” Julene texted. Amazingly, we got her message while tent camping, 1,000 or so miles away in the Matthew Arm campground of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. “Do you want me to keep her here instead for you when you come back?”

Wayne and I talked about it, again. 

I loved watching Shiva climb up onto Wayne’s chest when he hung out on the couch, head bonk him, then tuck her head under his armpit, and go to sleep. Heck, I adore Wayne but take special pains to keep my over-sensitive schnoz far away from his pits!

But how could we drive to the Alaskan Alcan next year if we adopted Shiva? Or return to New Zealand, where cats require an expensive and lengthy quarantine (which we consider inhumane)? Besides, come December 31st, we have nothing in place for where we’ll live once the RV we’re borrowing in Sunnier Palms shifts back to its owner, who plans to re-inhabit it then. That uncertainty didn’t seem like much of a life for Shiva; we don’t know many cats who thrive in an unstable environment.

Illustration credit:
Tina Chan on

That night I didn’t sleep  because I cried over never being able to see Shiva again. Wayne, sleeping soundly in the sleeping bag next to me never knew; I’m far too good at hiding my emotions when I feel I need to.

After that, when I slept and remembered my dreams, they were about Shiva. In my dreams, she flew in to check in on me. I wished her hovering kitty spirit well and sent her my love. And cried more hidden tears.

Image from Pexels-Pixabay.

When we returned to Sunnier, Shiva was gone. We took heart that she found a better home than we could offer her. But it was bittersweet, both of us missed her terribly.

I missed when I got up to feed her first thing, wishing her a good morning and hearing her sweet little good morning trills back to me as she raced through the open door. I missed her welcoming us home by climbing Julene’s lanai screen to give us a head-level hello greeting when we returned from our outdoor adventuresI even missed her annoying habit of trailing me throughout the house, even into the bathroom, where she loved playing with the sink water and sometimes mischeviously unrolling the toilet paper. 

Then I heard a rumor something went awry with Shiva’s new owner. I told Wayne. We were both heartbroken. With Wayne’s blessing, I started calling the shelters. 

“Oh, she got adopted two days ago,” the woman at the shelter told us when we called the second on the list of local shelters. She told us how excited her new owners were to adopt her. They’d adopted an older ragdoll some years prior who died a year ago. Her adoptees showed the shelter folks pictures of their beloved kitty. I asked the lady at the shelter if she could let Shiva’s new owners know we’d love to cat-sit if they ever needed a cat-sitter. Or to call us if things didn’t work out. I gave her my name and number. She was pleasant but non-committal.

Once again, Wayne and I tried to console ourselves that this was best thing for Shiva. But we both cried. When the time is right for us to get a cat, I told Wayne, I want to get a ragdoll, like Shiva. She was the right cat, but at the wrong time, we both agreed. We’ve both been owned by cats before; Shiva was more affectionate and friendly than any other cat I’ve met.

“Why didn’t you tell me how much you wanted Shiva?” Wayne asked. I told him because I knew it didn’t make sense. Because I knew taking her in flew in the face of our plans.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman from the shelter called back.

Shiva in her super-kitty sleeping pose,
She’s spayed now and bears the scar from the surgery.

“The folks who adopted Shiva have ad older cat who her didn’t like Shiva’s energetic play. Shiva’s here. Do you want her?”

Thirty minutes later, we were filling out the paperwork at the shelter to take Shiva home, or at least where we are until January first. The shelter kept and gave us most of Shiva’s goodies from Julene, though we needed to get bowls, dry food, a litter box, and cat litter.We got them our way home.

Shiva sporting her now luxiouriously fluffy tail in her new home,
but still snuggling happily in the 
awesome kitty bed Julene bought for her.

I put my order in with the great cosmic waitress of the sky, as my friend Lynne Smith long ago suggested, and the waitress delivered. It didn’t make any sense to take Shiva in, but we figure because of how we found her, it must be fate; we belong together, our little family of three. 

We’re not sure exactly how we’ll do right by Shiva, but we’ll give it our best shot, because we love her, and we trust that will be enough.

Shiva as she briefly came up for air after I fed her upon our return
from our first long day trip without her. Don’t believe she was happy with us.
Gotta get some better pictures that show what a cute, loveable goofball she is.

Location Location

Dawn view of Sunnier Palms, just outside the borrowed RV we’re camping in.

Sunnier Palms, Fort Pierce Florida, though there will be some more catch-up posts coming from our fall foliage tour north, all the way to upstate New York and back.