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Rusty and April
I'm not sure at what point in my life I became a lover of cats. I suspect that it happened when I was very young. Growing up it always seemed that we had a cat in the house. Generic cats, alley cats and sometimes, pedigree cats. All were special, all were loved and as most children will do, I thought that this was just a normal and natural part of growing up.
After I married and had a home of my own, I continued the cat tradition. My beloved Kiddle was still in the prime of her life when I moved away from home and, of course, she came with me. When she went to Rainbow Bridge, I got 3 cats which was a first for me. Multiple cats brought multiple delights.
Then disaster struck. Behold...major life change. At the age of 31 I was thrown into a whole new life, most of it good, but the major down side was I had to move and the cats could not follow. So for the next 8 years my kids and I were a household with no pets. It's a sad house that has no animals in it and when my son brought home the first of our illegal cats, I felt a light go on that had too long been dimmed.
That's brings us to today. Now back in our own home with 5 cats, I had been thinking of all the wonderful orange tiger cats I'd had as a child. 5...6...who would even notice the difference. So about 2 weeks ago I decided to visit the local shelter run by the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
Driving to the shelter that day with the cat carrier in the back of the car, I felt that I would simply go in, pick out my orange tiger, fill out the necessary paper work and bring home a new cat. Now looking back I wonder how I could have been so ignorant.
When I got there the first thing I noticed was how well kept the shelter was. No odors, pleasant staff and everything absolutely sparkled. I explained why I was there and one of the girls took me back to the cat adoption area. My heart sank. At least 15 cats, most of them adults, looked up at me when I entered the room. Rubbing up against their cages and talking to me, all seemed to be saying please pick me, I'll love you. I went from cage to cage, talking and touching each cats as I did. The MSPCA cannot keep the animals forever and must put to sleep ones that are sick, stressed out from cage life or who have been there for a long time when space is needed.
Finally one of the staff came back to see if I need any help. I said, "I don't know what I was thinking when I came here. I have to go home and think about this. I just can't choose!"
As I drove home I thought about 2 of the cats in particular. One of them was the orange tiger that I had gone to see in the first place. Beautiful and smart and quite a talker. But there was one more cat there that pulled at my heart even more then the others. Small and frightened, a female Siamese/Himalayan mix lay at the very back of her cage shivering. The staff had told me that this was her first day out in the adoption room. They said that her owners had decided that they had too many cats and disposed of her and her two 7 month old kittens at the shelter. And of course the words "too stressed out from being in a cage" kept coming into my mind as I neared my house.
I suggested that my husband come back with me to help me make a choice, all the time hoping he would see how loving both of these animals were. I think his visit had the same effect as mine did. Rusty and my husband hit it right off and although he really couldn't see what the attraction was with the Siamese cat he finally agreed that we could take both....providing we called the Siamese "That's IT!"
I guess something magical happened while I wasn't looking though. As my husband went from cage to cage looking and talking to all the animals, a black persian mix came forward to talk to him. So as I went out to make arrangements to take the cats, he said to tell the staff if they had to put the black persian to sleep, they were to call us first. He'd find a home for him.
I never thought this would happen of course. This cat was so beautiful but when there are so many adult cats in need, not to mention kittens, anything can happen.
Rusty and April were neutered and spayed the next day and arrived home to meet the other cats. The process of determining who's in charge has been sometimes irritating but mostly hilarious. Then last Monday we got a phone call...
The shelter called to tell us that when they got in they found the black Persian was sick, coughing with runny eyes. We had to make a choice. He would be put to sleep if we didn't take him because they could not take the chance of infecting the general cat population with a sick animal. Was there ever a choice? With orders from us to send him to the vet and get him neutered, we were told that we could have him in one week's time when they were sure the cold symptoms were gone. And that's how I came from wanting one orange tiger to getting 3 new cats.
Please Read This!
First of all, you probably wouldn't have read this far if you weren't an animal lover.
So with that in mind I beg you, go to your local shelter and see the animals and if you can find it in your heart to adopt one, please do it. If you can't then ask them what they need. Volunteer some time. Stay and just pet the animals. Help them with the paper work. Walk a dog. Tell your friends and neighbors. Get the word out so that there are more animals adopted then are put to sleep. Say a prayer.
I felt such frustration at not being able to do more that I have been taking pictures of the animals and putting up posters in local stores. Every time one gets adopted, I rejoice.
YOU can make a difference!