The stray cat has officially been adopted by my family. We named him Pumpkin, in honor of the season and his orange coat. The abscess on his back has healed nicely, and he learned to use the litter box and is comfortable sleeping on the stairs.
There is a lesson in everything – even in a stray cat appearing. I had asked for a cat to appear the week before Pumpkin showed up at our doorstep, but when he appeared I wasn’t sure what to do with him. I feared cat urine on my carpets (which has not happened) and I feared my husband’s response at adding a third animal to our household. But mostly, I was disappointed that I let fear take away from what was really a beautiful occasion… a stray cat received a home, his wound was healed, my kids enjoyed showering him with love and attention, and I had a wish granted.