Wednesday, November 5, 2008


~ Welcome to Petwarmers ~

It took a blind cat to open everyone's eyes.
Purr was a little cat, but she had a heart of a lion. You'll enjoy today's story from Susan.


by Susan Dart

Years ago before the first Gulf war we moved to the desert Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on military assignment.
We had two small children, a dog, and a cat. As we stepped from the airport into the stifling desert heat, we made a bedraggled little party, exhausted from our long trip. We had no idea what lay in store for us, or how much our lives would change over the next two years.
Just two days later, as we were settling into our apartment at the military headquarters, we were visited by a kind woman from the housing office who noticed that we had pets. She immediately told us about a litter of kittens that desperately needed homes.
Abandoned by their feral mother, they were barely surviving on dog food they scrounged from local residents. Perhaps it was the jet lag or some other malady, but we agreed to see the kittens and that very day Purr came into our lives.
Little more than a piece of Calico fur, the starving kitten stole our hearts. She was tiny and weak and her eyes were infected, but we loved her from the start. As we nursed her back to health, she quickly became a member of our family.
We named her Priscilla after a friend, but our son was too little to pronounce it, so she became Purr for the rest of her life.
As her health improved she grew and thrived but living with her quickly became a challenge. She seemed unusually accident prone and leapt from one disaster to another, frequently falling as she tried to jump to higher spots. The shatter of breakable items became a common sound as she knocked over things in her path.
Purr grew a luxurious long-haired Calico coat. Our children adored her and she almost never let them out of her sight. She tolerated being pushed in a doll stroller, slept with them at night, and woke them in the morning for school. She also seemed to be less clumsy than before and rarely missed when she jumped from the floor to a high perch to look out the window.
We were able to move to a lovely house in the suburbs and life settled into a peaceful routine as we began our second year in Saudi Arabia, never suspecting it would all soon change.
Later that summer, Iraq invaded Kuwait and we were plunged into months of fear and uncertainty as the first Gulf war evolved around us. Late one January night we awoke to the sound of missiles exploding in the sky over the city. The war had started and the next few months would be some of the most challenging we had ever faced.
We spent many nights sitting in the hall wearing gas masks as sirens wailed and missiles roared over our home. We all slept in one room in the most protected part of the house wondering when the next attack would be.
And through it all, our little desert cat was there.
She comforted the children and entertained them with her antics. She never left their sides and they were less afraid.
The following summer we moved back to Texas and brought Purr with us. We took her to our new vet and told him her story. He examined her and then told us that she was almost completely blind. The blood vessels in the back of her eyes had never developed, most likely from the poor diet she had eaten as a newborn kitten. She had somehow learned to cope and managed well.
She had gone from a clumsy kitten to a graceful adult cat and a dear member of our family.
I often think of those days when we lived under the cloud of war and how the experience forever changed our lives. We would never take our peace and freedom or safety for granted again.
And I remember the little blind kitten that watched over us and helped us through -- a little desert cat with the heart of a lion named Purr.

-- Susan Dart

Susan says, "I live in San Antonio, TX. We settled here after my husband spent 15 years in the Air Force. I have two grown-up children and a sewing business. I have had pets my entire life. I currently have 5 house cats and a parakeet."


Mary A. Shafer said...

What a beautiful story of such a beautiful being. I'm so glad Purr found you all, and that you found the heart to take her in.

It's a wonder, how these incredible critters affect us so greatly, isn't it? I have a cat who was born without eyes, and wrote about how she inspired my family in my new book, "Almost Perfect: Disabled Pets and the People Who Love Them." Check it out at

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