A woman who loves cats is shocked when she finds a little boy looking for scraps among the strays she feeds and his story breaks her heart.
Camilla Gorman was a harsh and bitter woman, and it was whispered around town that she had suffered disappointment in love. She never smiled, never had a kind word to say to anyone, and her only soft spot was her love for animals.
Camilla was particularly fond of cats, and not only did she have eight cats of her own, but she also fed the neighborhood strays in her backyard. To the town kids, she was the Bad Cat Lady, and no one ever imagined that anything without fur could touch Camilla’s heart. They were wrong.
Sam kept hoping that somewhere, somehow he’d find his true home | Source: Shutterstock.com
The person who would touch her heart and bring her back into her community didn’t live very far from her, and he wasn’t very big. His name was Sam Varten and he was just 7 years old.
Just nine months before, Sam had lost his entire family — mom, dad, and big sister — in a car crash. Sam had been spared because he’d had Little League practice and he caught a ride with his best friend who lived next door.
From one moment to the next, Sam’s life had turned upside down. There was no one to take him in, and his only living uncle had refused to become his guardian, explaining that he traveled constantly and wasn’t willing to shoulder the responsibility.
His best friend’s mom, a struggling single mother, had desperately wanted to help Sam. but she just didn’t have the financial capacity to raise two children. So finally, Sam was placed in an orphanage.
Sam’s family died in a car accident | Source: Pexels
As we all know, institutions can never replace a family, even though the people who worked there did their best. Most of the kids there had never had a loving family like Sam’s.
Most had been in and out of foster care their entire lives, and those that had families had been taken away because their homes were dysfunctional. Among those children, sadly hardened to life at such a young age, Sam was a misfit.
He missed his family desperately, and many nights he cried himself to sleep, clutching a wet pillow. The once outgoing and sociable Sam was now shy and withdrawn, and worse of all, he started to develop a stammer.
Of course, that didn’t help at all. Children can be cruel, and the other children in the home were no exception. “Oh, stuttering S-s-s-a-mmmmy!” they’d hoot. “Want some chee-chee-cheese?”
Sam was placed in an orphanage where he was very unhappy | Source: Unsplash
Sam would go very red in the face and try not to cry, and usually, an adult would come along and put an end to the teasing, but every day he felt more unhappy. His one refuge was his schoolwork, and he loved reading.
One day he started reading a book by a famous children’s author about a boy who ran away to the circus and found a real family… “I can do that!” Sam said to himself. “I can run away to the circus, and maybe a lion tamer would adopt me!”
So that day, when all the other children went in for lunch, Sam packed his backpack and sneaked away. He started walking and walking, and by the time the sun started going down, he was very hungry and very tired.
He sat down by the side of the road. “I don’t think this is going to be easy,” he said to himself. “It’s very cold and I’m getting VERY hungry…” Just then an absolutely enormous cat (almost as big as a lion) gave him quite a fright.
One day Sam decided to run away | Source: Pexels
The cat started rubbing its huge head against his legs and purring so loud he sounded like a lawnmower. The cat seemed to be inviting Sam to follow him, so Sam did.
The cat led Sam to a pretty backyard planted with all kinds of flowers, and right by the door was a series of plates with food, and at least six cats were busy eating. Sam knew it was cat food, but it smelled delicious!
His little tummy was rumbling, and he came close to the big cat’s plate. He stretched out his hand to steal a little food when the back door suddenly opened. “What do you think you’re doing?” asked a loud angry voice.
Sam was so scared he sat flat on his bottom and started to cry like a baby, even though he was a big boy of 7. The voice belonged to an angry-looking woman who said, “You boys are always teasing my cats, well I won’t have it! I’m reporting you to your parents right now!”
A huge cat made friends with Sam | Source: Pixabay
That just made Sam cry even harder. He wished the angry woman could take him to his parents! “They’re de-de-dead…” Sam cried. “And I’m cold and tired and hungry and nobody wants me!”
Camilla (because that is who the angry woman was) was shocked. She was used to boys being rude and sassy to her, and someone who cried and told the truth was something completely new.
The most extraordinary things happen if you open up your heart.
She said in a softer voice. “You’re hungry?” she asked. “Is that what you were doing? Trying to eat some of the cats’ food?”
Sam was so hungry he wanted to steal some of the cats’ food | Source: Unsplash
Sam was so ashamed that he just nodded and cried even harder. “Yes…please, I’m so hungry, I’ll eat anything…”
By then Camilla’s hard icy heart was melting. “Well,” she said, “come in where it’s warm and have some nice hot soup.” And she put her arms around Sam and carried him inside. She wrapped him in a blanket and gave him hot soup and buttered toast.
Slowly Camilla got Sam to tell her the whole story, about his parents dying, and feeling terrible in the orphanage, and wanting to run away and be adopted by a lion tamer. She threw Sam a keen look.
“A lion tamer, you say? You’re a clever boy. You know, I always wanted to be a lion tamer, but I ended up being an accountant instead.” Camilla said. “But…” She reached under the table and picked up the huge cat that had befriended Sam. “This is Leo!”
“What do you think you’re doing?” asked a loud angry voice | Source: Pexels
In no time the lonely woman and the little lost boy became great friends, but unfortunately, Sam had to go back to the orphanage. Camilla took his hands in hers and looked him in the eye. “Sam,” she said. “I’m not a woman who makes promises she can’t keep, and I promise you’ll have a home.”
Camilla took Sam back to the orphanage and spoke to the director. She enrolled herself in a program to become a foster mom, and a year later, Sam went to live with her.
Camilla was still the Cat Lady, and Sam was the Cat Lady’s Boy, but life was transformed. She was now a mom and had to go to school meetings and soccer practices and talk to other moms. Soon Camilla discovered that most people were quite nice, and they like her too.
As for Sam, he adored Camilla, and the day they signed the adoption papers that made them a family was the happiest day of his life.
Camilla became Sam’s new mother | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
- The most extraordinary things happen if you open up your heart. Camilla had cut herself off from people, but when she gave Sam a chance, she found happiness again.
- Love and companionship are what make a family. Camilla and Sam found the family they’d lost in each other.
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