“What a pretty cat!” It was our daughter Jen, looking out our front window and calling to us. She was right: this wasn’t the typical “road cat” that wanders by. This cat had a beautiful black angular face, light blue eyes, black legs and tail, and a rich fawn coloured body; it was a purebred of some kind.

sekhmetThe cat edged closer, and we could see that she was starving. All of our animals are rescues, and I had watched this particular dance play out before. Two feelings, hunger and fear, are battling until one wins out. The bowl of smelly wet cat food that we had nudged out to the end of the porch sealed the deal, and the cat dug in. She growled, hissed and glared at us as she ate, and then slunk away.

This continued for several days until we finally decided to bring her inside for a closer look. She growled to warn us away as we moved in to pick her up, and then all hell broke loose: biting, scratching, writhing, ears back and eyes like fire. Wow! I guess this is how a feral cat acts.

She was skin and bones and scared to death. She was lactating, which may have explained why she decided the food was worth risking contact with humans. She needed to eat in order to nurse her kittens. Each time she ate, she walked off in the same direction, but wouldn’t allow us to follow. What was her story? Who could have done this? And why?

I have never dealt with such a vicious cat. We were all scratched up and bitten; my wife Penny badly enough to require a trip to the ER. We felt bad for this beautiful girl, but how could we keep her? We already had four other cats, and they were as afraid of her as we were. We’d just have to find her a home.

We posted flyers featuring her lovely face, with a vaguely worded warning about her lack of “manners”. Nothing; no takers. The kids were in full persuasion mode now, so against my better judgement (and outvoted) our home now became hers.

In the mean time, our son Taylor hit the internet and christened her “Sekhmet”. It turns out that Sekhmet is the lioness-headed goddess of war and destruction from Egyptian Mythology, also known as the Mistress of Dread and the Lady of Slaughter. It fit perfectly.

But Sekhmet was never bad – all the signs indicate that she was brutally abused and then abandoned. She has finally learned to relax, but any sudden movement still sends her running. And with her clear preference for women, she is telling us that it was a man that hurt her. Taylor tried valiantly to win Sekhmet’s affection, but she chose instead to adopt our daughter and appropriate her room.

Sekhmet has been with us for three years now, and the wonder of it is how far she’s come. She’s mellowed but retains her essential spirit: uncompromising, dignified, and intelligent. A strong but fair leader; a regal queen among serfs. She can be very loving and affectionate when it suits her, and bites very gently now, and only to play.

Like all animals, she gives unconditionally and in her own unique way. She reminds us every day that she doesn’t need our charity, we are not “her boss”, and there are no bad animals, only the bad people who hurt them. We can’t imagine our life without her.



Lee Robie and his family share their Loveland, Ohio home with cats O'Malley, Tiger, Tabby, and Sekhmet

This story originally appeared in Angel Animals (www.angelanimals.com)  

Click here to read another wonderful story Lee has also written, about Chelsea, lioness of the suburban jungle


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