For the love of Alma… er, Elmo? 

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Phoebe is her name and I am proud to say she is my daughter.

If there is one way to describe her, it is that she is the ultimate animal lover.

She and her husband Steve built a beautiful cabin in Fairplay and most weekends you will find them there and any family members who want to be there, also.

One day, as she was riding her horse, she came upon an abandoned old barn. Curious, she went inside carefully and sat down on an old hay bale. Because she has a sense about these things, she felt she was not alone.

Sure enough, high up on another stale bale, appeared a large black cat with electric yellow eyes. This cat was  obviously feral (wild), trusting no one.

Phoebe felt an instant connection to this wild creature who lived by her wits and quick hunting skills. She went back to their cabin to get dry and canned food and brought it all the way back to the old barn. The black cat was still on her perch and another younger cat was there hiding.

Now, because of who she was, my daughter began bringing them food and water every weekend. And she did not just feed them, she spent hours just sitting there and talking soothingly to them.

Do you know what happened over the course of that spring and summer? The more she spent time with them in that barn, the big black cat slowly began to trust Phoebe.

One weekend when she went there, the younger cat was not there. He sadly never returned.

You see, in those dense woods there are coyotes, bobcats and foxes and, sadly, that is probably the fate of the young boy kitty.

Somehow, however, the big black lady cat managed to stay alive and trusted Phoebe (but no one else) more and more.  When Phoebe went to spend time with her, she would get closer and closer and began purring in happiness just to be with her one and only human friend.

Then Phoebe and Steve had to face the coming on of winter and icy cold times. They knew they would not be able to go to the cabin on those coming weekends. What would happen to the precious black cat that Phoebe had learned to love and trust (and vice versa)?

Finally, they decided to give her a name and take her home to Conifer. Her amazing trust made it possible to crate her and, as for her name, the little town where they found her was Alma, so Alma became her name.

When they got the feral cat home, they put her in one of their large bathrooms to get her used to another way of life that was safe and filled with love.

The first thing they knew they had to do was to get her “fixed.” After all, she was a beauty and any male cat would surely find her desirable!

So, last Monday morning, they took Alma to the veterinarian’s office, gave them a deposit and left her to have the surgery so she could not have babies.

Now, hold on to your hat.

This true, sweet story has a twist of an ending.

About two hours later, the vet called and said they could come to get her.

Phoebe asked if it weren’t a bit soon after surgery.

“Well,” said the vet, “We never had to put your cat ‘under’ so its free to go home. And, by the way, Alma is really Elmo. You see, she is a he and he won’t be getting pregnant, I promise you that.”

The view from the mountains is wondrous.