I often say that if Nola was a woman I would get married to her. “Why, is Nola not a woman’s name?” you may say. Well, it is, but Nola is indeed my female cat.
My 20-year-old daughter Alice and I were in Nola, a town about 40 miles from Naples, Italy. On a summer night we were walking back to our hotel rooms when we heard the sound of a cat that was desperately meowing. Not just a regular meowing but a really desperate one. It seemed for this cat it was a matter of life or death. We looked around and after many efforts we finally saw a little apparently gray kitten coming out of a garbage bunch. It was no beautiful kitten and to us it appeared like a weeping baby.
Alice insisted that we do something for her. I wanted to, but everything seemed so hard. We were about 400 miles from home, had reached there by plane, and taking a cat home seemed a complicated task. However, my conscience was stronger than any other problem. We had to do something for this weeping kitten. So we took it to the hotel, being very careful that the hotel owner (an ill-tempered woman) did not realize what we had with us.
I was no cat expert and could not say anything definite, but my impression was that it was so young that I was not sure what it could eat, so I sent Alice to buy some milk, mingled it with water, and gave it to the little cat.
The kitten was indeed rather ugly and I told Alice that it reminded me of Gollum the character in The Lord of Rings saga as featured in the movies.
We had to decide a name. Alice proposed a male name, humorously the same name of an ex boyfriend of hers, but the more I watched the cat, the more I got the impression it was a girl cat, not a boy. So I rather suggested to call her like the place where we found her. Nola. It sounded right and Alice agreed.
Nola seemed to appreciate the milk and stopped meowing, but she never quit to suck my finger. I thought about Konrad Lorenz and his imprinting theory: Evidently, Nola thought I was her mother.
On the next day we bought a cat carrier to take her in the plane and Alice took Nola to the veterinary to perform vaccination procedures. The veterinary said the kitten was about two months old.
Nola was taken to our home by plane and since that time she has always been with me. Unlike that day, she never complains or meows and is always very loving. After a good bath we found out she was not gray but white, with an extremely beautiful hair and once she grew older she lost in a few months her Gollum-like look and became one of the most beautiful cats I ever saw.
Now Nola is a happy cat who found a family to love and care about her. The only one who complains is my wife when Nola claws her beloved sofa.