I can't believe this sweet angel has been in our life an entire year. She celebrated her first birthday on February 14th, which means she was only about 10 weeks old when we brought her home. My sweet Ellie Grace...or "Little Ellie" as she's affectionally called. She's fully grown now but still so teeny tiny - only 5.5 pounds!

She has done so much for us this past year. While nothing and no one will ever replace Pippy, Ellie has filled such a huge and dark hole in our hearts and our family. I was so scared when we decided to go rescue another cat for us to call our own. I didn't think anyone would love me or "get" me the way Pippy did. But from the second I saw Ellie, it was meant to be. And I think Ellie thought so too - because she started meowing as soon as she saw us! Interestingly enough, the day we brought her home had been her first (and only!) day at the Cat Welfare Association, and she'd only been there for about an hour before we decided she was ours.

We didn't think we'd bring home a kitten. We intended to bring home an older cat, not only because we'd had experience caring for them with Pippy, but because we know how hard it is for older cats to be adopted. We'd been there for about an hour, looking around at some 300+ cats they had...and I just couldn't connect to any of them. Every time I thought I found a friend, it wound up not working. Finally, when I felt like giving in the towel, I heard someone else ask if they had any kittens to see. The volunteer said yes, they had three in another room. So we followed the other adopters who asked, "just to see" as I told my husband. ;P By the time we got to the room, the other people were looking into a room that had two orange tabby boys, so I didn't want to look in there. Then I noticed a sweet little black and white beebee girl on her own. I opened the door, she saw me and mewed her sweet little meow, and that was it. When I held her, and she bundled up in my arms, it was over. I knew I couldn't leave without her. Hubby still wasn't sure, but the second I handed her over to him, and he got to hold her, that was that. We'd found our baby.

We were vastly unprepared to bring a kitten home! We had our carrier and the foster parent who raised her (she had been found on the streets, abandoned as a newborn), gave us her baby blanket to take home. But we had to stop at the pet store to get baby sized food and a litter box. She did so well on the ride home, and when we got home, she started exploring immediately. She was a little nervous, so for the first few weeks, we'd let her out for a  few hours at a time and then put her back up in our bathroom with her the cardboard box house I made for her. I have some of the sweetest memories of her from those first few weeks - especially involving her having to wear a bell on her collar because she was so tiny that we'd lose her if we couldn't hear her! She doesn't wear a collar now because she's microchipped (but she also is an indoor-only cat).

For months I was so scared of loving her. So I'd say that I really really liked her. I was scared that if I said I loved her, that I'd be betraying Pippy...or that it would seem like Ellie meant more to me than Pippy did. I was having such a hard time letting go of the loss of Pippy and navigating through those feelings, and that darkness was so hard. But Ellie's love is so unconditional - just like Pippy - that one day I woke up and realized that if I ever lost Ellie, it would hurt just as a bad as it had when I lost Pippy. Husband even made a big deal the first time I told Ellie I loved her - he said, "You did it!" And I knew that Pippy would never have wanted me to close my heart off to loving another kitty, especially when I know that she is the reason that Ellie wound up choosing us. ;P

I know I speak for my family when I say that Ellie has truly done more for us in the past year than we could have ever imaged. She is such a bright light in our lives. She's not perfect - she still is VERY skittish and has to run and hide, and she still gets very freaked out about strangers...including my mom who lives with us! - but she's perfect for us. I have been so lucky to say that I've had not one, but two cats who have simply "gotten" me. As if they were made to be mine.

Here's to you, Little Ellie! I can't wait to have as many years with you as we did with Pippy (18)...if not more! <3