tortoiseshell kitten

March 31 is an important day for Allegra, Ruby and me. On March 31, 2010, I met Allegra for the first time. The same day a year later, I met Ruby for the first time. I’m not even sure what to call this day. Meeting Day? First Look Day? At any rate, it was a day that changed three lives.

I found Allegra on the Facebook page of a lcoal animal hospital. I contacted the adoption coordinator, who told me that Allegra had just arrived at the clinic after living in a foster home, and that they didn’t really know much about her yet. I made arrangements to meet her. That March 31, I spent about an hour in an exam room with her. The photo above was taken that day. She was your typical ADHD kitten – discovering and exploring everything, whether it was a stethoscope hanging from a hook on the wall or a syringe cap on the floor.

She didn’t pay all that much attention to me, but I started to fall in love with her anyway. I didn’t want to make a hasty decision. I had only just begun to even think about bringing another cat into Amber’s and my life after losing Buckley. So I went home, slept on it, and thought about it. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I went back to see her again the next morning. And that’s when I just knew. Less than a week later, she came home with me.


A year later, also on March 31, I met Ruby. She was fostered through the SPCA of Northern Virginia, and lived with a lovely young couple and two big male cats. The photo above was one of the photos posted on the foster parents’ website. How could I not have fallen for this sweet little girl! She was found in someone’s backyard literally “asking” to be rescued. The home owner heard a kitten crying. When she opened her patio door, Ruby ran right up to her without any hesitation.

When I met Ruby that day, her foster parents had just gotten home from work, so she was all wound up and eager to play. I spent about half an hour with her, and even though she was mostly focused on playing, she still occasionally jumped up on my lap. I knew right then and there that she was “the one.” She came home with me two weeks later.

I can’t imagine my life without Allegra and Ruby. After losing Buckley Thanksgiving weekend of 2008, and then Amber in May of 2010, I never thought I would love another cat as much as I loved them. Now I find myself completely, besottedly in love with my two girls.

52 Comments on The Day that Changed Three Lives

  1. Even though cats are fairly quiet animals (compared to my dogs), my house felt so empty with each death even if I still had other cats. I guess they take a little bit of you with them and you notice when “their specific sound”, something you don’t even notice you notice, is no longer there.

    • Well, not really – that would be the day they came home, wouldn’t it, which wasn’t until a week or two later. But thank you for the congrats!

  2. Beautiful story . . . and a wonderful day, Ingrid. Made me tear up a bit, remembering last May 4th when Anya walked into our yard (lost, abandoned, and dirty) and into our hearts. Hugs to the three of you!

  3. That made me so teary eyed..shame on you 🙂 I so enjoy your site and seeing pictures of your cats. They are wonderful little buddies.

    Congrats on your site award.

  4. What a happy day for you, Ingrid!!!!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories! Yes, cats can indeed change our lives and open our hearts again when we think it will never happen again… What blessings they are!
    Love to you three lovely ladies!

  5. We just recently read an article from the Washington Post about how losing an animal can be every bit as painful as losing a human. Those of us who have 4 legged children can totally relate.

    Amber and Buckley were special, irreplaceable treasures of your heart – and will always occupy a place there. Losing Ryker caused the same reaction in me – I never thought I’d love another cat the way I loved him. And in a way I don’t, as each love is unique.

    I cherish my boys, Faraday & Maxwell. They now occupy a different but vitally important place in my heart. I love that you used the word besotted, it so perfectly describes how I feel too!

  6. Love opens room for new experiences, and each cat that has been in my life -and I have lived with cats since I remember- has been a different and rich experience. Memories to treassure, joy to grow within, unavoidable pain, but that the way life works, me thinks.

  7. I loved reading about how Allegra and Ruby came into your life. I still think cats adopt us. We don’t adopt them. Princess and Queenie adopted my husband and myself also. Allegra and Ruby sound like the best blessings in your life. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Ingrid, that is a beautiful moving story, and the 31 March your lucky number and for them too. I remember when I got Benji there were so many kitties all the same Egyptian Maus from different mums and he came over – it was winter and I had my big duvet coat on and he jumped into my pocket – that was that I paid for hil that day and got him one month later. No regrets!!!

  9. Ingrid, what a sweet story-how you could not fall in love with that photo of Ruby-how fortunate for all of you that you have each other-pop on over to see what we are up to. This morning-the munchkin decided she wanted eggs for breakfast. Yes she special orders. They are sleeping next to me as I type.

  10. Happy anniversary to you, Allegra and Ruby!

    May you all celebrate many, many, many more March Tortifirsts together!

  11. I love a good love story!

    Ingrid, the heart that knows how to love will always love again, even against its own will. I discovered that after each of my own losses, honestly surprised to feel that growing warmth replacing the emptiness.

    I’ve called “the day” something different with each of my rescues, and in your case I think March Torti-first is the best!

    • You’re right, Bernadette – it does come as a wonderful surprise when we find that we haven’t lost the capacity to love again after loss.

      Another vote for March Tortifirst!

  12. Today is March Tortifirst! I wish nothing but the best for you and the girls! May you continue to enrich each others lives!

  13. How wonderful that you found each other! I will never forget the days I first met my three little loves- each adopted from a shelter or rescue group. We celebrate Welcome Georgie Day in August, Welcome Billy Day in July and Welcome Sammy Day in June. Our cats have changed the way my husband and I view the world and have given me a second career as an artist.

    Hope you and your two special girls have a delightful day!

  14. I have tears in my eyes. March 31st should be called your “Blessings Day” because you were not only blessed ONCE, but TWICE.

    Looking at the photo of Ruby laying in a sea of beautiful pink, it is no surprise. You are a pink, lavender and blue lady (from what I can assess) and subconsciously I bet that pink also caught your eye!

    I wish the three of you many happy years together and yes those girls definitely DO have big plans for you!!!

    Much love to all of you!

    • Blessings Day, I love that, Caren!

      The funny thing about that photo of Ruby on the pink couch is that the actual couch was more of a reddish rust color. For some reason, it just looked pink in this photo. But you’re absolutely right, the pink did catch my eye!

  15. What a heartwarming story! After I lost 3 of my 4 cats in a year and a half (14, 19 & 20 yrs old) I was totally heartbroken. If someone would have told me that within 2 yrs 4 kittens would have been in my life, I would have told them they were crazy. The new ones will never replace what I lost, but, in retrospect I think they found me because they knew I needed them more then they needed me.

  16. Great story and there is always room in the heart to love another one. They all have different personalities so we form all kinds of different love for each one. March 31st. Have a great day.

  17. I can totally relate. While there will never be a replacement for those companions that have gone on, I am glad there is still room in my heart for other companions to love and be loved by.

  18. That’s so sweet! I love hearing people’s stories about how they got their kitties. That’s one of the things I enjoy about running; once people hear about it, they can’t help but tell me all about their cats! Allegra’s markings remind me of those on my own little Vixen, except that Vixen has even more yellow on her chest and an orange stripe down her nose. And she has the lynx tips, too! I love those. When I used to see Vixen around the apartments where I lived, 20+ years ago, she reminded me of an owl. Who could have imagined that she’d still be with me today! Not for much longer, but she has been the best cat ever.

    • Enjoy every moment you have with Vixen, Lynn! Allegra still has the lynx tips, but as she grew into her ears, they became less pronounced.

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