One of our favorite discoveries at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Corolla, NC was learning about Sysco, the stray cat. Shortly after our arrival at the hotel, we walked towards the beach and noticed a black cat near the wooden bridge leading towards the ocean. “Mommy! Look! A kitty!” My youngest son’s delighted squeal drew the attention of my other two children as they started to walk towards the feline, now turning away to hide beneath the planks of the bridge. “Be careful,” I warned in my best Mommy voice, “You don’t want to get too close because this cat may not like people. It can scratch!” This warning was heeded wisely by my brood of three as they stopped in their tracks and watched from a safe distance.
Allow me to interject some very important information here: I am not a cat person.
Yes, I’ve loved animals throughout my lifetime and I’ve cared for several pets in my four decades of life. Dogs. Fish. Even a hamster. All loved and appreciated for the times their lives overlapped mine. However, if someone asked me if I liked cats, my immediate response would be a very long pause of silence.
I am not a cat person.
Several of you are scratching your heads in disbelief, because you know we have a beautiful long-haired white cat named Pinky at home who delights in snuggling and cuddling like a small child. She is an exception to the rule. She is declawed. Friendly. And she really thinks she’s a dog… when she’s not acting like a cat. That makes all the difference in the world. But I’m still not a cat person.
Knowing that, you can hopefully understand my initial reaction to the stray cat by the hotel. Stay away! Don’t go near! Watch from a safe distance! Better to be safe than sorry was my mindset.
We continued our journey to the beach and watched the crashing waves in awe. As the storm clouds rolled across the sky and the wind whipped at our shirts, we headed back to the safety of our hotel. Walking inside the hallway, we saw this display:
Wait… what?? I literally did a double take as I took in the framed photographs and typed story detailing the life of this “resident ambassador of hospitality.” Yes, you read correctly. Apparently the very same black cat I had cautioned my children about approaching is a rather loved and adored hotel stray, adopted into the hearts of many. Pictures drawn with waxed Crayola strokes, pencil sketches pinned to a bulletin board. Stories written on hotel notepads with happy kitty smiles galore. This was a very special cat indeed.
This little kitty had a name, too: Sysco.
The next morning, as we finished our delicious continental breakfast which included bacon, eggs, and an oatmeal mixture that could rival Starbucks, we opened the back door leading to the pool area. Lo and behold, Sysco was there, eating her breakfast, too.
Unlike the day before, all I could do was smile. We watched and waited for her to finish her meal, then as she sauntered in our direction, she rolled over, eyes beckoning for attention. (She even purred for us!) My kids turned to me, waiting for my reaction. Of course, you know what I said…
Sometimes, you have to allow kids to be kids and appreciate the kindness of others. This cat was obviously loved. Cared for. Adored. It was only fair to allow my kids to add to the generosity of affection.
And you know what? This self-proclaimed non-cat lover got her own time with Sysco later that night. We even took a selfie. 🙂
Thanks, Hampton Inn, for reminding us to be kind to animals, even while on vacation. Your random act of kindness in caring for this kitty made this one of many reasons why we will stay at your hotel again. (My children would also like to thank you for providing them warm cookies each night, too!)