By Nikki Tramontana
At the beginning of November 2019 my mother and I were invited to attend the wedding of a close family friend in Georgia, a state we had never visited before. On the day of the rehearsal dinner, we flew down from New Jersey, got a rental car, and quickly settled in to our cute little rental house before attending the dinner.
After a wonderful get-together with lots of laughs and catching up, we headed back to our temporary home. As we pulled up to the house, our headlights illuminated the figure of a tiny cat sitting under another parked car in the driveway.
Of course, I knew I had to try and make friends with the little guy. It only took a “hi kitty” or two before the cat was coming right up to say hello. He was so sweet, and I quickly fell in love. Without asking, he followed my mother and me right into the house and cozied up by our side. He was young, around eight months old, and a little too skinny — but he was a purring machine.
We hung out with him for the rest of the evening and put him back outside right before bed, since weren’t sure if he already had a home. The next day when we opened the door to get breakfast, he was sitting on the stairs waiting for us. I decided to stay with my new friend while my mother went our to grab breakfast (for us and the cat, too — lots of cans!).
He inhaled the food and begged for more. Soon we were spending most of our time with Pryor (which is the name we gave him, after the street we found him on). He would fall asleep on my chest and lick my face with his sandpaper tongue. He was just the best and I knew he was special.
As our trip came to an end I was torn about what to do. I wanted to make sure Pryor was going to be okay, and I wondered if he had a family. (He was also unaltered, which did not help anyone with him being outside.)
On our second-to-last day in Georgia, I saw a woman outside and asked about the cat. She said she knew of him, and that he belonged to the neighbor in the unit attached to our rental. Right away I had mixed feelings, partly relieved that he had a guardian but also sad because I knew he was truly one of a kind and craved more love than he was likely receiving.
On our last day I decided to leave a note for the neighbor. I knew in my heart that if I didn’t, I would regret it. In the note I expressed how wonderful it was to meet this cat, and how he reminded me of my cat who had passed away a few years ago. I mentioned to the neighbor that if he ever needed help with food or medical care, or for some reason wanted to rehome Pryor, I would love to help. I left my name and phone number and a few extra cans of cat food.
When my mother and I arrived back at home, I showed my friends and family all the photos and videos I took of Pryor. We laughed about how of course a cat would find me and know I would take care of him.
Five days later, I received a text message from an unknown number. It was a photo of the note I had left and a message that read: I have this note from you, you really would like to have this cat? 🐱
I was shocked, and answered right away. Through texts, I learned that Pryor’s guardian was a single dad of three who was overwhelmed with the young cat’s energy, food and litter costs, and veterinary care. He said he knew his family did not have the time required for their pet, but they wanted him to have a loving home. I expressed to him that totally understood and would happily rehome him.
We made plans for me to travel back down to Georgia.
In the meantime, I started gathering everything I would need for my new fur baby. Yummy food? Check. Cat tree? Check. Toys galore? Check! I scheduled a vet appointment in Georgia so he could receive a check-up and vaccines, as well as a health certificate to travel. Then, I scheduled another appointment for when we got back to New Jersey, so that he could get microchipped and neutered.
Soon, my mom and I were heading south again for our rescue adventure. We were so excited to see Pryor. When we arrived, we met with his previous guardian, and he handed Pryor over to me. I was filled with such happiness and love. I had known since the moment I met him on the street that this cat was truly special, and I was happy knowing he would be safe and loved as part of my family.
I think Pryor knew he was on his way to his forever home because, on the journey back, he was an angel! He sat calmly in his carrier during the ride to airport, through security, and under my seat as we flew home. He only meowed once.
Back in New Jersey, Pryor made himself right at home. I gently introduced him to his fur brother Moose (a corgi and Jack Russell mix), giving them both time to adjust and get to know each other. Pryor also became fast friends with his new fur dad Kyle, who enjoys carrying him around like a baby.
He has been with us for a few months now, and I’m happy to report that he is spoiled rotten with multiple beds, a basket full of toys, and a plush cat tree. He’s now an indoor-only cat, and has not once tried to sneak outside. I think he is perfectly content watching the birds from the windowsill, or keeping me company in my home office. He is a part of our family, fitting in seamlessly as if he has always been here.
I am so grateful for the wedding in Georgia that allowed me to meet and rescue my little guy (who is getting pretty big now). I am also honored that his previous guardian trusted me with Pryor; I know it can be hard to admit when an animal needs more attention and resources than you are able to provide.
The stars truly aligned on the night I saw Pryor sitting under that parked car — and I am so glad they did!