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One Photo; One Story: Fiona, The Cat.

We thought we heard a hoarse tiny “meow”. If we were talking any louder we could have easily missed it. We were hiking in the woods around Acagisca Campground along the Egg Harbor River in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in late summer 2001.

“Meow”, we heard it again and stopped.

Shh! “Listen”, someone whispered.

She may have been watching us from the thicket. She was alone and only a few days old. Who knows what happened to her litter-mates or mother. She was frightened.

“Meow”, she called again. My son Devin, seven years old, whispered, “I know where it’s coming from”. He jumped into the river with his sneakers on.

“Hey, you’re in the river with your sneakers on”! I yelled. “Shush Dad, It’s over here” He said as he sloshed through the shallows with his sneakers on.

Kelly, my wife, approached from the other side of the brush, again a hoarse “Mew”, Kelly looked into the thicket and she could see a tiny kitten hiding in the thicket.

“I’ll get it Dad”, Devin said as he approached from the water. Kelly reached in and lifted the tiny kitten into the palm of her hand. She was so small. She was only a few days old, lonely and afraid. It was as if called out to us for help.

Our hike was over.

Kelly tucked the tiny kitten into her jacket and we walked to the car. I kept giving Devin a hard time over going into the river with his sneakers on. He responded, “Dad we just saved a kitten”. He was right. We had.

Fiona has been with us 18 years now. There are signs that she is getting old. She walks with a little pain, eats more, and sometimes has a hard time getting into her favorite chair.

She is still the Queen of our house. She’s destroyed many a mouse, slapped a few puppies around, and once went to war with a squirrel that managed to infiltrate our homestead. The squirrel ended up face down in the upstairs toilet - dead, typical New Jersey feline. She woke us up one morning to warn us of a bat living in the garage.

Fiona is always watching, listening and every turn you make there she is keeping an eye on you.

Fiona loves her family. She tolerates the dogs. She knows Kelly takes good care of her with food, medicine and love. I

think she remembers Kelly originally asked if we could keep her and let her live in the garage, could you imagine the nerve!

She is still plotting her revenge on Devin and his cousin Brendan over a sock war they had fifteen years ago.

As for me, every so often she rests on my lap and puts her paw on top of my hand knowing that I let her live in the house.

Happy Birthday Fiona, It was a great day when we found you.

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