I am the proud owner of two cats – a big, orange, fiercely independent, male tabby named Micah and a sweet, gentle, loving, Siamese/tabby mix, female named Kobi. Micah is 14 years old, Kobi is 11 years old.
Micah was adopted from the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, where he had been taken by someone who found him and a sibling huddled behind her garage. The female kitten was quickly adopted but Micah was one kitten too many for the adopter, she left him behind. One day, I decided to go to the Animal Shelter “just to see what was there.” I really wasn’t planning on getting another cat at the time. The Animal Shelter was quiet when I got there. One of the employees pointed me in the direction of the cats and turned back to the phone. I went through a door and there they were – rows of cages, many of them containing one or more cats or kittens. Another man was there, also “just looking.” We struck up a conversation as we moved from cage to cage, looking at the cats, reading their “bios,” and sharing our own cat stories. Several weeks earlier, he had adopted a cat from the same Animal Shelter. Today, he was returning to adopt a second one.
Micah was huddled in a ball at the back of his cage, crying. I coaxed him to the front of the cage, opened the door and picked him up. He crawled up my shirt, curled up near my neck and started purring loudly. As I held him, the man and I read the bio attached to the front of the cage. He noticed the date the kitten had been admitted and said that it was the last day he’d be at the Animal Shelter, they’d be “putting him down” by the end of the day if he wasn’t adopted. Well, that was all I needed to hear – no one was going to put this little guy down if I had anything to say about it. Suddenly I was ready for another kitten. I put him back in the cage and went up front to arrange for his adoption.
Micah’s rough start in life didn’t end once I got him home. I gave him a bath to rid him of fleas and, as soon as the warm water washed over him, he fell asleep in my hand. Panicked, I called a friend and told her my new kitten was dead. She quickly assured me he wasn’t dead, he had fallen asleep. She was right, he was fine.
He spent the first night curled up against my neck, afraid my other two big female cats were going to attack him in his sleep. He spent the second night locked in a bedroom closet. Less than two months after I brought him home, I raised the toilet lid and flushed just as he jumped up – only quick action on my part prevented him from being flushed down the toilet. At five months of age, he jumped up onto the kitchen stove, gracing the knob as he did so, causing the burner to go on. I smelled something burning, turned and saw his little nose within an inch of the flame. I quickly pushed him away, ran my hand down his back and his tail, and discovered that he had singed his tail in the flame. To this day, I have no knobs on my stovetop, nor do any of my friends who also have cats. It’s not worth the risk..
Kobi was rescued from an elderly woman, a friend’s neighbor, who had threatened to take her and her 4 brothers to the Animal Shelter if someone didn’t take them off her hands. The woman wanted to keep the mother, she just didn’t have the resources to keep the kittens, and saw the Animal Shelter as her only alternative. Once again, I wasn’t about to let anything happen to this little kitten, so I took her home.
The first night, she slept under the blankets, curled up next to me, safe, secure and warm. The next morning, she slowly and quietly crept out from underneath the covers to check on the whereabouts of the other two cats. They were sound asleep at the foot of the bed; she curled up next to my neck and went back to sleep. So far, so good.
Kobi’s first year was an exploratory one. She loved going out into the back yard. She’d run and jump onto the trunk of a dying avocado tree we had, climbing all the way to the top, then just sit there, watching the birds overhead. There was no chance of her getting to them, nor did she want to, she just loved sitting high up in the tree watching them. They knew she was there, but they didn’t seem to mind sharing their tree with her.
Kobi adores Micah. When he comes into a room, she’s the first one to run up to greet him. She flirts with him, she rubs up against him, she lets him eat her food when his isn’t enough for him. She gives Micah her favorite spot to sleep, her favorite toy, my attention.
Kobi seemed to keep track of her own growth her first year as well. She’d frequently take a flying leap at something that was higher than she was tall. Over and over again, she’d jump at light switches, door knobs, the blinds, each time reaching higher and higher with her paws. Eventually, she tired of the practice but it was comical seeing her “measure” herself as she grew.
Micah loves going outside where he plays and explores and catches up with the neighbors and their pets. He is the “king” of the neighborhood. Kobi prefers staying inside, curled up on the bed (or hiding behind it when something scares her). They are committed to each other, and to me, as I am to them. We are a family.
These two cats have brought so much joy into my life. I cannot imagine what my life would be without them. On those rare occasions when I’m away from them for the night, or they are at the veterinarian’s for the day, I miss them so much, I can’t wait to get home to see them, to make sure they are all right, to give them a hug or kiss or pet them. They sleep on the bed every night, I say goodbye to them every time I leave the house, and tell them I love them.
Pets are one of life’s greatest joys. There is nothing quite like the bond between a pet and his or her owner. Their love is unconditional. They accept us for who we are. They don’t care if we are rich or poor, fat or thin. They sense our joy and are eager to share it with us. They sense our pain and offer their sympathy to ease the same. They are there to welcome us when we return home, and say goodbye to us when we leave. They enrich our lives in ways you cannot imagine.
I grew up with both cats and dogs, and I cannot envision my life without them. I have lost several cats over the years, and they are still, and always will be, in my heart. My pets have enriched my life in ways I could not have imagined. I cherish them and accept them as an important part of my life.
If you don’t have a pet in your life but have considered getting one, you can experience the joys of pet ownership by becoming a foster parent to an animal in need. Fostering helps save lives; when you foster a cat or a dog, you pave the way for the Animal Shelter or rescue group to accept another one that they wouldn’t be able to take in otherwise.
If you then decide to become a pet owner, there are many pets available for adoption from which to choose. A visit to your local Animal Shelter or pet store holding pet adoptions, or getting in touch with pet rescue groups in your area, is a good place to start. They can provide you with information on a particular pet, educate and advise you on pet ownership and responsibility, and handle the adoption of your first pet.
There are so many dogs and cats looking for a Forever Home. Yours could be one of them. By providing them with their new Forever Home, you will be enriching your life and saving theirs.