June is Adopt-a-Cat Month. I've reached out to fellow rescuers and ChicagoNow bloggers to do guest posts on how they have been inspired by their cat (or cats). My second guest submission is from fellow Blogger Holly who writes "Running with a Book Cart" for ChicagoNow. Like our household, she has taken Ernest Hemingway's advice - One cat just leads to another.
“One cat just leads to another.” Ernest Hemingway had it absolutely right. The furry love that guides you through stress, the comforting purrs through depression, and their playfulness distract from difficult days. Cats are downright therapeutic. No wonder it feels necessary to have more than one cat.
My first cat was Pumpkin. I had a habit of looking at the shelter’s animal listings while procrastinating on homework. Perhaps I was a masochist. How else can you explain constantly tempting myself with cute cat profiles when my landlady didn’t allow pets?
But then I saw THIS little face. 6 months old, surrendered because owners were moving and said they could only take one animal with them, so they took the dog. How convenient it was that the shelter was right next to work! I nipped over there during my lunch break to see Pumpkin. She thought if she rubbed her head against the glass enough, I would magically be able to rub her behind her ears. She chose me.
Could they hold her for me until my fiance could meet her? Sure, but that involves a partial adoption fee up front, no refund. I looked at her eyes, and paid, and returned to work.
I sent Jeff an email and told him to come ASAP. And I called my landlady. “Can I pleeeeease adopt this kitty? She isn’t a kitten she’s front-declawed so she won’t scratch anything, can I please have her? you have to call this number to let them know.” She reluctantly approved.
I went back to the shelter after work to find Jeff was already holding her in the meet-and-greet room. We adopted her and went to the pet store to buy cat stuff. We had absolutely nothing and walked out with everything.
Pumpkin curled up on my pillow that first night, and every night. She cuddled with me when I woke up from nightmares from PTSD.
Mistletoe was my cabin fever cat. The city was hit by three blizzards in one month. I developed severe cabin fever while Pumpkin and I stayed at Jeff’s family’s house (they had food and were good company.) After the third blizzard, when the roads were finally clear, my brain broke, and I told his mom, “I’ll be right back.”
I drove to the shelter, halfway across town. I had read that boy cats were better with girl cats, so I asked to see this 6 year old tortoise-y maine coon. The shelter said that the age difference might be a problem, might I see Serena, a 1 year old girl cat instead?
Serena was skinny. She was 2 lbs when they found her on the streets, and was back up to 4 lbs, although she needed to continue to gain weight. She was cranky, and tried hiding in my winter coat. She wasn’t what I was looking for. I told them, “I’ll take her.” Jeff and his family thought I went crazy. I WAS crazy.
I renamed her Mistletoe, and she was cranky as hell. She did not want to be held. She hated Pumpkin, as we’d hear loud yeowling and fighting. She hated the pug. She wanted to be left alone. I almost took her back because I didn’t think it was fair to her or Punky, but Jeff talked me into giving them more time. Then--two whole worms came out of Mistletoe’s bum. After a course of deworming and a quarantine period, she became an extremely sweet momma cat and a daddy’s girl. She helped Jeff through grad school and depression.
I thought two cats was enough.
After we moved to Chicago, we fostered kittens while un/under employed. Pumpkin was the big sister who taught them how to respect boundaries. Missy cleaned them, taught them how to clean their butts, and how to properly clean up after themselves in the litter box. We had litter after litter of kittens to care for.
Then...one kitten crawled into my heart by crawling onto my shoulder. Winchell came with his sister, Donette. She was independent, loved to explore, while Winchell “failed to thrive” at his last foster place and wasn’t gaining weight. We gave him KMR to encourage him to eat, and Missy became his surrogate momma, letting him suckle on her for comfort. He’d sleep on my shoulder right next to my face. He thrived. After we took him back, I missed his insistent meows.
Jeff called the shelter, and they said they’d hold him for us through the next day. The next day was also when the in-laws flew into town, so after getting them from the airport, they all proceeded directly to the shelter to pick up the newest “grandkitty,” now dubbed Joe.
Unlike the girls, he doesn’t like nip, because his favorite drug is love.
Our kitty family was completed.