When Jane Pearson and her husband first went to look at a house they were considering buying, they noticed a shy cat hiding from them on the screened porch. Of course, they didn’t think anything of it at first, assuming the current homeowners would take their pet with them. But they were in for a surprise.
The Pearsons returned to the house again for an inspection after making an offer on it, and they again found the cat on the porch. It was then that the homeowner opened up about the cat being a permanent fixture there.
Some eight years ago, it seems, a little kitten had shown up at the elderly couple’s house and immediately bonded with the wife. She named the cat Hidey and kept her well fed, loved, and cared for until she developed Alzheimer’s disease and could no longer handle the responsibility.
When the wife had to go to a nursing home, the husband dutifully brought Hidey to see her every day. Sadly, however, the elderly woman passed away. Roughly eight weeks later was when the 89-year-old husband sold the home to the Pearsons so he could move into a retirement home.
“As we talked, it became apparent that she was really just the wife’s cat, and the man missed his wife so much,” said Jane.
The elderly gentleman wouldn’t be able to take the cat with him when he moved to a retirement facility, and it had always been his wife’s cat anyway, not his. His family had searched for a new home for Hidey, but none could be found. His plan, therefore, was to take the cat to the local county shelter when he moved out of the home.
But Jane couldn’t stand for that. The homeowner jokingly said he could include Hidey in the house purchase, but Jane insisted on taking him seriously. She asked her husband if they could keep the cat, and he agreed.
“She had already lost her person; she shouldn’t have to lose her home of eight years on top of that,” said Jane.
Hidey, true to her name, was not a very friendly roommate at first. She hid in the ceiling of the screened porch on move-in day and for several days afterward.
“Eventually I climbed up and lifted her out of her pocket in the rafters, because I was concerned she wasn’t eating enough. She growled a bit, but never actually bit me. We took it slow, and tried to give her space as she slowly adjusted to the onslaught of new everything in her home,” Jane said.
Things turned around for the grumpy kitty before too long though. “(A few weeks ago,) Hidey played with us for the first time,” recalled Jane. “I took that as a sign that she’s finally feeling more comfortable and really coming out of her shell.”
After Hidey got used to Jane and her husband, she had a new hurdle to overcome—meeting their young daughter.
“We talked to her a lot about Hidey’s fears, and how much change the cat went through. We taught our daughter to always let Hidey sniff before petting her, and they are slowly becoming friends,” Jane said.
Now Hidey sleeps on the end of the youngest family member’s bed and enjoys taking naps with her frequently.
On top of getting used to her new human roommates, Hidey also had difficulty dealing with having a new cat and dog in the house. Luckily, 15-year-old kitty Aretha doesn’t mind Hidey’s presence.
“Fortunately, the house is very long, and they settled on a sort of half-and-half split of the space during the daytime. And, oddly enough, Aretha (who likes to hide under furniture) is spending more time out and about in the home—almost like having a cat sibling has brought her out of her shell again.”
And Amber the dog has been working hard to become Hidey’s new best friend. “They are slowly adjusting, and the other night they shared a sofa together—albeit on opposite ends. But it was a true breakthrough that Hidey didn’t fly out of the room when Amber cautiously climbed up.”
Through all the trials, Jane is glad they bought this house and adopted Hidey. “I often think of how relieved I am that we found Hidey’s home,” she said. “(Now,) when I’m working at my desk, Hidey will come over to me and give a little mew, asking to be let into my lap.”
Hidey will live out the rest of her days surrounded by the love of her new family. And who could ask for a better happy ending than that?
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?