On Wednesdays, I write about wonderful things in my life. Today I’m writing about cats—not just my cats, but homeless cats.
June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, and I’m taking the opportunity to encourage you, if you are thinking of getting a cat for a pet, to consider adopting from your local shelter.
I’ve written about my love of cats before. I have a page on this blog devoted to my cats. And I’ve written about my Waddles, who died last November, and how I came to have her.
In a nutshell, my mother adopted Waddles when she was 8 years old, after her original person died.
My mother was not familiar with cats and wasn’t able to cope with having one. She eventually turned Wa in to the local shelter.
I adopted Wa myself the next day from that shelter.
I remember how dreary the animal shelter was then. Wa was being kept in a small room with just two or three cages in it. I was so glad to get her out of there.
That shelter is in much better shape now, and there are many fine shelters around the country and in other countries that are doing good work.
But they can’t keep all the homeless cats and dogs that come to them.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, six to eight million pets come to shelters each year, and half of them will probably never be adopted.
In my own county, during fiscal year 2011, 148 cats were adopted and 1,039 cats were euthanized, and 492 dogs were adopted and 429 were euthanized.
Animals in shelters need homes. Many of them were given up by previous owners for various reasons. They’ve had homes before. Some have never had real homes, but have lived on the streets or on the kindness of people who fed them but never claimed them. They all need forever homes.
Again according to the Humane Society, adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group can cost less than purchasing one from a pet store or a breeder. And you can find purebred animals in shelters and with rescue groups.
Animals in general and cats in particular are very important to me. They teach me the joy of caring for other creatures. They teach me mindfulness and living in the moment. They remind me of unconditional love.
Spending time with my cats soothes my anxiety and helps to give me a clear perspective on what matters in my life.
Learning to care for Wa and then all of the cats Larry and I have had got me beyond a lot of my contamination obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms. I don’t enjoy it, but I can clean up kitty poop and throw-up without obsessing over it or getting compulsive.
Caring for cats also helped me with my harm obsessions. I had to learn that the cats needed to be fed regardless of how worried I was about giving them something that would hurt them. And I got a lot of practice doing it.
I got home late Tuesday night because it was layout day for the newspaper I work for. Chase greeted me with happy cries (OK, I interpreted them as happy) and let me hug on him. Sam followed me into the bedroom, and I made over her before giving treats to both cats. Later, Sam and I played with a ball with a little bell in it. That girl is adept at swinging her paw and hitting the ball.
My heart hurts for the homeless animals out there and for those who will never have a home. If you want a cat and you are able to take care of one, please consider adopting.
What place do animals have in your life? What special pets have you had?