Bengal Cats Find A Home in Santa Barbara

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photo of Bella by Kerin Friden

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photo of Malaya by Kerin Friden

Kerin loved cats but hadn’t had one for a pet since she was a little girl and developed allergies. Recently, around Bella, the cat of an elderly friend, Kerin noticed she no longer had a reaction.

She says, “I quickly became besotted!”

Her friend moved into an assisted living facility which didn’t allow pets. Kerin, of Santa Barbara, CA, offered to adopt Bella. Her friend was delighted. So was Kerin. “What a joy it was to share my home with this precious bundle of fur.  It felt like my home had once again found its soul.”

Five months later, Bella was diagnosed with sarcoma. When her condition worsened, Kerin took her to the vet and held her while she was euthanized. Kerin had suffered a painful loss several years before when her husband, a hotelier, was removed from life support after a sporting accident. “With Bella’s last breath, my heart was broken again.”

After a few months, missing her feline companion, Kerin visited a local animal shelter.  Within minutes, she left in tears. “I was overwhelmed by all the dear animals that needed a home and by my fear of another loss.” Back home, she picked up a photo of Bella and held it to her chest.  “I asked her to help open my heart to another sweet kitty that needed a home.”

Within hours, Kerin received an email. A friend of a friend had rescued 45 purebred Bengal cats from a kitty mill. They were among 70 cats living in a small, run-down house. One was an 8-year-old female who’d been stuck in an outside cage with 8 neutered males. She had stopped eating.

The breeder advised the rescuer: “put her down.” The rescuer couldn’t bear to do so.

Three months later, all the young cats had been adopted. A vet had nursed the older female back to health. She was ready for a new home. Kerin consented to see her, adding she wasn’t sure she was ready for another pet. She promised to bring a friend who knew a lot of cat lovers. They’d do their best to find this orphan a home.

Kerin says, “The minute I met this special little girl, my heart again turned to mush. I realized she had found her fur-ever home.” As Kerin drove off with her new pet, a beautiful rainbow arced over the road ahead. “I like to think it was a sign from Bella. She guided me to my new kitty and then let me know she would be waiting for me at the ‘rainbow bridge.'” (Rainbow Bridge is a popular online support community for grieving pet owners.)

“Most people prefer kittens,” Kerin says. “I have a soft spot for adult females. I relate to them, being a middle-aged female myself.”

When naming her new roommate, Kerin researched Bengals. She found they’re a hybrid of a wild Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic tabby. She came up with “Malaya,” an area in southeast Asia. In the local language, the word means “emancipated or free,” which Kerin deemed perfect.

“The first night Malaya spent in her new home, she cuddled next to me in bed. When I awoke in the morning, she was still curled by my side. Her beautiful green eyes seemed to gaze into my soul. When I whispered, ‘Good morning,’ she reached out and gently placed her paw on my face. I knew then that no matter how vulnerable our hearts may be, the joy of having them touched is worth it.”

(Have the purr-fect Godsign story?  Thanks for sharing it with me.)

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6 thoughts on “Bengal Cats Find A Home in Santa Barbara

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  2. Janice Sommers

    What a beautiful story and how animals can touch us. God guided her to adopt this last cat and I love the rainbow that appeared after the adoption giving her a sign from her last cat. I myself have never been a cat lover until recently. I’m going through a divorce and a woman who I met only once, offered me her condo, fully furnished for a low price IF I would take care of her cat. I’ve now become a cat lover and love that my cat(male) follows me and lays by my side. He also seems to be able to look into my soul and has been such great comfort. God has continued to show me so many signs and I pray that others see his signs no matter how small they may seem to be!

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Jan. So glad you have a new cat friend. Happy he is providing you comfort during these challenging days. xo

  3. Burt

    Nice story, it brought a tear to my eye. Let’s get a dog for our house. Then you can tell our story. 🙂

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