It’s Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month and if you’ve visited an animal shelter lately, you’ll realize that the shelters are overflowing with adult cats. Why are they all there? There must be something wrong with all of those cats…right?
Cats are in the shelter for many reasons the most important of which is that they just need a home. Some are there due to a death of their person, others come from families who lost their home and others are dumped for variety of good or stupid reasons too long to mention. Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month is a great time to take the opportunity to prove how wrong that is.
The last time we were searching for a cat to add to the family. I was surprised at the number of people (some who had cats) that would say – you must get a kitten. You know, there is something obviously wrong with all those adult cats in the shelter. That’s why they are there…that is why they were abandoned by their family.
I kept pointing out how wrong they were. After all, I was an old pro when it came time to adopt-a-shelter cat.
Our cat search took about six weeks. We were replacing a cat that will be forever known as “The Late Great Rhett the Wonder Cat.” He is the cat that turned my husband into a cat person…so our new cat had big paws to fill.
Then one day, we stumbled into Heartland Animal Shelter and found our cat. We were all set to adopt a cat.
And you know what? We found out very quickly that those people were right…something was obviously wrong with him. I kid you not.
First of all, he introduced himself by whapping my husband across the back of the head with his paw to get his attention. Since he was in a cage recovering from coccidia, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t missed while in solitary confinement. He purred and purred as he swatted for our attention from the cage.
Then, we found out that he was a littermate to the petrified calico in the next cage. It didn’t seem right to take one cat and leave the second one behind. We went in to adopt one cat and came home with two.
They stayed in the guest room as we started the gradual introduction with our senior kitty Scarlett. That is when we found out that there was really something wrong with this cat.
When we let him loose, he climbed the cat condo like he was part monkey. Sometimes when we carried him around, being held wasn't good enough, he would climb on our shoulders for a better ride or view. (He still does this.)
What else is wrong with him? He carries toys around in his mouth and plays fetch. He loves to play his own personalized game of soccer. Some days he hosts his own private party and doesn't really care if the rest of us are included.
And then there was the tennis ball…the old pink tennis ball. No one in our house plays tennis. We are the original owners in our home. Didn’t even know we had a tennis ball. But Max found it and carried it around for weeks…there is something obviously wrong here.
Max is very friendly. He greets guests at our house and he’s become leash trained. He’s occasionally a lap cat, but only when he’s not too busy investigating every nook and cranny in the house he’s lived for the past six years. This is what happens when you adopt-a-shelter cat.
And, the other thing that is desperately wrong with this cat is that he loves to ride in the car - the 80's channel on Satellite radio is his favorite. He loves Thriller.
He also loves going to the vet, he rolls over for belly rubs and he also purrs so loudly that the vet techs have a hard time hearing his heartbeat. He loves dogs of all sizes, kids of all ages and everything but the noisy old elevator at the nursing home. Life is just one big field trip for him.
So, I decided that since there was something wrong with the cat, I should take him to therapy. Better yet, I wanted to get him certified as a therapy cat. I had searched high and low to see if there may be a therapy pet group that would want Max to participate. We finally connected with Love on a Leash in Lake Bluff.
For the past two years, our CTC (Certified Therapy Cat) visits the nursing home and purrs for the Alzheimer’s patients and the children’s reading program at the Lake Bluff Library. Our next session with the kids starts on Monday night. He also makes an occasional appearance as my sidekick when I go out to talk about adult cat adoption.
So, if you’d like to adopt a shelter cat this month or any month, I’d recommend steering clear of the adult cat room. Get sucked in by the cuddly cuteness of the furry little kittens. Because, after all, there is something obviously wrong with those cats...especially the one that picked us at the shelter.
Or, live on the wild side and skip the cuteness and check out the many personalities that are overflowing in the rest of the shelter. There's probably not another cat out there like our Max...but there are so many other cool personalities just looking for a home like yours. Yep, there's something obviously wrong with that.
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