Before we arrived at the vet I named her Shiva, why I don't exactly know because Shiva is the male Hindi god of death (but also of renewal), but that is the name that came to me. My husband, who was driving, knew about then that we probably had another cat. She tested healthy, albeit laden with fleas, so had her shots and came home with us.
I am in love with Shiva! I lost my favorite cat, Bleecker, age 16, in December 2006 but hadn't lost the sorrow, and Shiva has some special quality that provided the healing I needed.
The girls visited often to see "Vullaby" and said she now looked like a "princess cat." One Friday night a few weeks ago a fire truck and ambulance pulled up in front of our two houses, and we saw the two girls wrapped in blankets, sobbing on the front porch. I walked across the yard to see what had happened to find EMT workers performing valiantly inside to save their mother's life. She was whisked away, breathing but unconscious. One of the EMTs stopped to tell the girls that their mom would be ok. We learned the next day that the mother had indeed made a nearly-successful attempt at suicide with a load of pills.
The youngest girl (10 years old, let's call her Ali) took my offer to stay the night with us, while her sister and the other siblings went to be with their grandmother. I made dinner for her and then Mike bundled her up in front of the fire while I made up the couch in the living room. Along came Shiva to snuggle up with our sad little guest and she followed Ali under the covers on the couch, where she didn't leave her side all night. Ali called her Shiva Lullaby, a variation on the name her sisters gave the kitten. It seemed just right to describe this cuddly, soft, gray consoler. The next day Ali and I ordered a new tag for the kitten with the name Shiva Lullaby.
Last week the family moved to another house not far away. I spoke with the girls on the phone but we haven't seen them since they moved. Reports are that the mother received special counseling in the hospital's suicide unit and the kids were assigned a case worker before authorities approved the family remaining together.