As it turns out we were mistaken to assume that.
Our sweet darling Zinnia had only one little flaw -- a bad liver.
Completely out of the blue, we discovered her not feeling well and got her to the vet as quickly as possible. It didn't take long to get to the bottom of the problem, a failing liver, though frustratingly with no explanations as to why. We searched the house high and low to see if there was an error on our part -- something that she could have eaten to cause such a thing. But there were no answers to be found. Within two days she was gone, slipping away from us in her girl's arms, being loved to the very last moment.
This brought much devastation to our usually happy home, and we all grieved. Nobody more than my Noelle, who had lost her sidekick in life. They were always together, day and night, and this was a very unexpected turn of events. There were a lot of tears, a lot of hugs and I may have slept in her room for the better part of a week.
As it always does, time healed a bit. Our eyes stayed dryer longer, we laughed together at our favorite Zinnia stories, and eventually we decided to return to our favorite shelter for some kitty therapy. Nobody thought we'd find another family member -- we just wanted to hold some babies and play with some cats.
And then this happened.
It was actually me who thought she was the cutest kitten in the kitten room at first. I held her and took some pictures, but she was nobodies favorite. There were a few other babies and some teenagers catching everyones eye, but again -- we weren't looking to adopt. We thought...
On another visit, Noelle and this little girl suddenly caught each other's attention. I inquired within and found out she was the only kitten NOT in the process of adoption. She was also the sole survivor of a litter of kittens. And she was almost ready to go home! I was shocked when we walked out that day with an application for adoption in our hands. That was a Saturday. By Tuesday the application was in, and on Thursday she was on her way to her new home with us. WOW!
We pondered names, wishing we could find another flower or tree to follow our theme of Zinnia and Iris, but in the end, we found something we invented and loved.
Meet Junibelle! aka Junie, Junebug, Junie Bunie, etc.
She might actually be the coolest kitten ever. Not only does she adjust beautifully to change, but she already adores Noelle and has become her shadow. She's a mute little thing, with no meow to speak of, but she purrs like a motor boat and has the most active tail that whips about in a frenzy during every adventurous moment. Her markings are unique, with calico on top, stripes on her leg and leopard spots on her belly. It's an interesting mixture of various breeds that has turned into one perfect kitten.
I think the part that makes me the happiest in all of this is that it all feels very meant to be. We would do anything to have our Zinnia healthy, but her loss led us to Junie, who wasn't wanted by anyone until we walked in the door. It's as though she was waiting for us and we were the family that needed to find her. I don't know that I believe in fate, but this smacks of something like it.
Regardless...welcome home, little girl.