“When you’re ready, just go ahead and get another cat,” my husband said a week or so after the wood was piled in the basement.
“Really? You want to get another cat?” Our last cat had died just a month earlier.
“Sure,” he said. “We need a cat to catch any mice that came in with the wood.”
Whatever his reason, it worked for me. Off I went to the computer and found an Internet full of photos of healthy adult cats languishing in cages in shelters.
I was looking at rescues based in Dartmouth and Truro and Moncton when I read a column by Terri McCormick in the Amherst News about the huge number of cats needing homes right here in Cumberland County.
I shifted gears and headed to the Lillian Allbon Animal Shelter to meet the cats featured on its website.
What my husband didn’t know was that I was committed not only to adopting an adult cat but also a bonded pair. Adult cats have a harder time being adopted than cute kittens and a pair who must remain together? Even harder. We have more than enough room for two cats so I was on a mission.
On my first visit to the shelter, I sat in the cat patio with eight or so female cats who wandered around or lay there staring at me. No one strutted up to me and said, “I’m yours.”
And I needed that. As the Abominable Snowman of cat lovers – “I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him” – my cats need to be snuggly, talkative and friendly.
On my second visit, shelter manager Tara Gould said, “There’s a pair of brothers in the quarantine room who are a year old. Why don’t you meet them?”
Two more visits to the shelter and the large cage in the quarantine room, including an introduction to my husband who accepted that he was being bamboozled, and I was signing adoption papers and leaving with “Remy” and “Leonard” in a large cat crate.
Adopting a cat, or two, means bringing another living creature into your household. Even if you know what you want in a feline companion, it’s difficult to really suss out the personality of a cat from a few visits to the shelter. So many of them act aloof in the knowledge that yet again, this visitor will leave and not take anyone with her.
Within 24 hours of bringing the boys into our house, they were exploring it top to bottom, ignoring the neurotic dog – “How am I supposed to keep track of two of them?” she whined – and scarfing leftover chicken for breakfast.
It’s been just over a month since we brought them home and it’s like they’ve been here for years. Imagine that: I found the perfect cats at a shelter. And there are so many cats I left behind who are longing to have humans to call their own.
Just like Leonard.
If he’s somewhere in the house and can’t see or hear his brother or his people, he’ll start to call out.
“Hello, Leonard!” I answer him.
And he comes running.