It was the fall/winter of 2007-2008 in Wautoma, Wisconsin. I was living with my two cats, Wyatt and Jessie in an old summer cottage that was not really meant to be lived in during cold Wisconsin winters.
I had been seeing a black cat or kitten briefly in the yard, but it was so scared that it would run very fast and into the woods each time I stepped outside. I started leaving some cat food or scraps out which would be quickly gone. In January 2008 and into February 2008, the snow was extremely deep and the temperature was plummeting into the negative numbers. Wind chills were minus 30. This little black cat was hanging around the house looking for food. She would actually hop through the deep snow like a rabbit and ended up on my porch one night. She was watching my other cats eating dinner and enjoying a warm home. I felt so bad for that sweet thing. But she was so terribly scared. The minute I opened the sliding door she would take off, but she would come back quickly when she smelled the canned food. I knew she must be freezing, so I got a cardboard box and threw in a old leather jacket, hoping she would nestle into it at night.
One particularly cold morning she showed up with frozen whiskers and frost and snow over her entire face. I immediately went outside and put out a large dog bed and a heating pad that I plugged in outside and covered with a towel and blanket. The heating pad was on high since the temps were minus 20. That must have been exactly what she wanted. From that day on she bedded down in that warm bed and would sleep there all night. I would find her still in her bed on the porch at 5AM when I got up for work. Sometimes she would be in the bed when I got home from work in the evening, because it was the only way she could stay warm. Still I could not touch her. But gradually she ran less and less until the day I opened the door to feed her and she allowed me to pat her head. I could not believe my ears. She was purring. I knew that I had to get her into the house, but how? I tried talking her in, putting her food inside the door, and anything I could think of. After several weeks of this, and worried sick every time she was late coming around for dinner (there was a highway near by and wild animals that could have hurt or killed her), I decided to get her inside no matter what. I put out her food, she came over for a pet, and I grabbed her by the nap of her neck and pulled her into the house. She was so scared that she peed all over the floor, but it didn’t matter! She was in the safety and warmth of my home. I named her Ellie even before the vet confirmed that she was about 8 months old and indeed a little girl. I promised her that day that she would never be cold, wet, scared or hungry ever again. That she would know love and happiness for the rest of her life. She turned out to be the happiest little cat I have ever seen. She enjoys her indoor life and our new home with a large enclosed porch made especially for the cats. She shares her home with my other cats, Wyatt, Jessie and Molly and I love that little girl with all my heart.