Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kitty needs a home: June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month

Waddles
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?

23 comments:

  1. I would die without my pets!! We actually have 3 cats, Thunder 17yrs, Bear Cat 12yrs and Mickey 3yrs. And 2 dogs, a Beagle, Hank 7yrs and Moo 7yrs. I love them all so much! They are my saviours! I have had other special animals too that have gone on to pass and though I grieved heavily they were all worth every tear. They bring so much love and joy!

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    1. Shannon, We had a cat named Thunder Cat. He died 3 years ago when he was 15 years old. Wa was 21 when she died. Samantha (Sam) is 15 years old and Chase Bird is about 6 or 7 (we took him in as a stray). We have cried many tears over Thunder and Wa, but, like you say, having them was worth every tear and all the pain. We love dogs, too, but don't have any now.

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  2. Oh, what a great picture of Waddles! She looks so fluffy and cuddly. I too have found that my Anna has been great about helping me work through anxiety and contamination issues. So often I've been afraid to pick her up because I thought she was dirty, but then I usually give in pretty quickly because she's so cute, that I can't avoid hugging her. It is heartbreaking how many animals do not have fur-ever homes. I usually can't watch any of the humane society commercials on t.v. because they make me cry. I think I'll go hug my kitty now. : )

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    1. Sunny, I am exactly like that--I cry at the ASPCA commercials.

      Waddles allowed me to hug on her a lot--she was very affectionate herself.

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  3. This was such an important thing to write about. I love cats and it makes me so sad that so many of them are without homes

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    1. Keith, it breaks my heart to see the homeless cats at the shelter. I wish I could take them home with me!

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  4. Boots is my commander.

    The city I live in runs the pictures of shelter animals on the public access tv when they don't have city council meetings and I want another but the King might not like it.

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    1. Ha ha ha, Jen, I love that "Boots is my commander." So true, so true. he he

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    2. I think that's great that they run photos of the animals. Good exposure that way.

      Of course Boots is commander-he's a cat! :-)

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  5. I have never really been an animal person but lately I think I might want a pet. That is so sad about the amount of animals in shelters!

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  6. Waddles is Gooooorgeous.

    I wish I could take him!! I'd love him everyday. Xx

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    1. She was beautiful--and so affectionate and sweet.

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  7. My husband is allergic to cats. Bad allergic, his eyes swell shut and his throat gets raw. I got a cat when we first got married, not knowing, and even after I found her a new home, my husband was a mess till we moved. :(
    He is better with dogs, think he has a lesser allergy to them and allergy shots help. So we had Zoe Rose, a Lab, who we had to put to sleep at age 14 and we had Mozart, a white chihuahua. I would like a pet again someday but I don't want to feel I am replacing Zoe plus we travel alot and it is hard to do that with pets. At least the pets we have had so far, really grieved when we left and wouldn't eat or got sick..so I know it was tense for them and I don't want to put another dog through that. Once we get over the travel bug I want to adopt a dog from a shelter. I am glad you wrote about that subject and encourage people to adopt!

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    1. Thank you, Krystal. I'm sorry your husband is so allergic to cats. Larry and I are allergic to cats, but we don't have that bad of a reaction. It's hard on the kitties if we leave for very long, too.

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  8. Our whole family loves cats and had two while our son was suffering from severe OCD. The cats were the best therapy.......always there to love and cuddle whenever Dan might need them.

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    1. Oh, kitties are one of the best therapies!

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  9. Yes, this is excellent (and I'm so sorry about Waddles). We are currently fostering 4 kittens at our house for Barn Cat Buddies. They will be at Petco in Roanoke on Saturday for adoption if anyone local is interested - they're beautiful, sweet, and healthy. They deserve loving homes :-)

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    1. That is so great that you're fostering kittens! That is so important, because it really helps to socialize them, and they get a good home while waiting for a forever home.

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  10. Love this post! I love animals, too, and have two cats of my own. My Sadie died a year and a half ago and I see miss her terribly. I adopt all my pets from shelters; it can save a life!

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    1. Jean, Thank you! Yes, it does save a life to adopt from a shelter. And thank you for your comment on my "Waddles" post--I appreciate it very much! :-)

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  11. Lovely post Tina. I so wanted to bring a cat home, but the doctor said no because my son has asthma. How can you have a cat having asthma?

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    1. I have to be in an enclosed space--like the exam room in a vet's office--for the dander to cause me a lot of problems. Otherwise, I do pretty well, even though I'm allergic to cats.

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