In early September 1998 I asked my youngest son Chris what he would like for his tenth birthday. Without hesitation he replied that he would like a pet but most of all a young, female calico cat.

painted by Debbie Boote

I contacted an acquaintance who worked at a local cat re-homing centre to see if they had a suitable cat who needed a home.

A few days later I had a phone call to say that a stray four-month-old female calico cat had been handed in at a centre on the other side of town. She had not been claimed and would be ready to be adopted in a few days.

The day of my son's birthday came and went, and he did not show any disappointment in not getting a cat. The weekend after his birthday I told my son I was going shopping into town and went to the re-homing centre to collect his cat.

I instantly fell in love with this sweet little cat named Pollyanna the moment she was put into my arms. She never stopped purring even when having her vaccinations and a microchip implanted in her neck.

When I arrived home I put the unopened box on the floor and called Chris. Even before he opened the box, the noise gave away its content. Chris and Polly bonded instantly and soon became inseparable best friends.

Nearly two years later, just before his twelfth birthday, Chris became seriously ill. He contracted flu followed quickly by glandular fever and shingles. The result of all this battering left Chris with a weakened immune system. Soon afterwards he was diagnosed with M. E., or chronic fatigue syndrome.

For many months Chris was too weak to get out of bed and Polly became a permanent fixture, curled as close as possible to him. He frequently suffered with cold, aching limbs. One day Chris told me that Polly seemed to know where he was hurting most, because she would try to get as close as possible to that spot.

During this time Chris would often feel very low and become rather weepy. Polly always seemed to sense his mood. She would gently touch his face or hand and purr loudly to try to cheer him up.

Early one morning I was in my bedroom getting dressed when Polly head-butted open the door. She started meowing very persistently and rubbing against my legs. Thinking she was just hungry I got up to follow her to the kitchen to feed her. Instead of heading downstairs she led me straight to Chris's room.

As a further complication Chris had also developed mild asthma. A recent cold had turned into a chest infection, which had seriously worsened overnight. Now, Chris was having great difficulty in breathing. Polly was obviously concerned enough about his condition to fetch me to help him.

Chris is now nineteen and has made a ninety percent recovery from the M. E. He still gets tired very easily and is prone to infection. He is now full-time at college studying art and making new friends. Polly is still his best friend. Although she spends less time in his room these days, she still watches over him.

I am certain that someone heard my son's request for a little calico cat and sent Pollyanna as an angel cat to watch over Chris in his time of greatest need.



Debbie Boote is a fifty-year-old mom. She works for the British Geological Survey dealing with public enquiries. Debbie is also a portrait and animal artist. She is married to Sam and has two sons, Matthew, 25, and Christopher, 19, and their little angel cat Pollyanna.

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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