Monday, August 4, 2014

Cats and the heart

Chase Bird, April 2013

How do you know when it’s the right time to add a new animal to your family?

When Larry and I got married going on 11 years ago, I had one cat, Waddles, and he had two, Thunder Cat and Sam. We melded our two families into one.
In 2007, we added Chase Bird, who showed up as a stray and took up under a bush by the house.

Having four cats in the house was a challenge, but a blessing. I remember lining up four bowls on the kitchen counter and opening cans of food, divvying up the food as evenly as possible, making sure the food in each bowl was nice and moist.
Thunder Cat died in 2009. Waddles died in 2011. And Sam died in 2013.
Now we have only one bowl to fill.

I didn’t think I would ever be able to think of getting another cat. Chase Bird, who had been kept separate behind a baby gate, had the full run of the house for the first time, and I believed he needed to be the center of our attention.
And my heart was broken. Larry’s heart was broken. They broke anew every time we lost one of our babies. How could we invite in more hurt?

A friend of mine told me that she understood my reluctance. But, she said, Larry and I could offer a good home to an animal in need.
And there are so many animals in need.

I want to help. I can’t bring home all the animals, but I can help by giving a home to at least one. And as a woman who works for a shelter in a neighboring county told me once, when someone adopts an animal, that action leaves an open space in the shelter for another homeless animal.

I follow our local animal shelter on Facebook. Lately, I’ve been looking at photos of the cats with a different perspective. Would this one like living with us? Would that one get along with Chase Bird?

Yes, bringing in another cat would take some attention away from Chase Bird. But I wonder sometimes if he gets lonely when Larry and I aren’t home.
Waddles and I were a team for over three years before Larry and I got married. It was a struggle to get her and the other cats acclimated to each other. But I remember thinking that Waddles seemed to have more energy, more interest in things, with Thunder Cat and Sam around.

And even though our hearts break when we lose our loved ones, we must admit that the love we’ve received from having our dear cats outweighs any pain we have. Our lives are better because of our beautiful companions.

Larry and I won’t make a quick decision. But we are talking.

When do you know the time is right to expand your pet family?


  1. i had always had a single dog, but when i adopted a second, i saw a change in my lab - she no longer minded being put out in the pen during the day when we had to go to work. she had her big companion and buddy. since then, i've adopted in pairs. best thing i've ever done. they adore each other.

  2. I would always adopt teenage siblings. Because we were able to see their personalities. And they get along so well. They have so much fun together. And so many furious fights! But it is all a game.

  3. We haven't brought another dog into the household since we lost Scooter in January. We have, however, made several trips to the animal shelter, loved on the animals there, and made donations in his memory. One day, the right dog will cross our path.

  4. i don't know the answer to that question, but i do know you will give it lots of thought and consideration!! and that you will make the right decision!!

    i have wanted a puppy for so long now but i am not sure if it is the right decision for me. so i continue to ponder the decision!! right now, i don't have any pets!!!

  5. As the saying goes, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

  6. I am missing the "cat gene"...but can totally relate when it comes to dogs. Without risk, there are few rewards. Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith (and a bit of risk) in opening up our hearts and our homes. Good luck with your decision..I know you'll make the right one for you :)

  7. I understand completely. I have been missing my feline companions so much, but it is just not the right time to bring another one in right now. Still, I am so looking forward to the day when we adopt a new darling. Chase Bird is such a beauty! It will be interesting to follow your progress on the cat front.

  8. I honestly think, when the time is right, you just "know"'s an intangible feeling. I think you and Larry have a lot of love to give :-)

  9. i think you will know. i have never replaced my childhood pet ... it was too rough for my heart. i wonder if i will ever replace that space in my heart. tough. ( :

  10. we've always had two dogs but this time, when we got ozzy, we just haven't expanded. he's inside and having two rottweilers would be overwhelming in our house! he's a bit spoiled too for being the only furbaby, although he thinks he's a regular human!

  11. When I lost my Sadie, I knew I would never get over it, and I never have. She will always be special in my heart. But adopting another cat from the shelter helped ease the ache of missing her. The only downside was, I had hoped our second cat, who had gotten along with Sadie beautifully, would bond with the new one, but it didn't happen. They don't hate one another, but it's clear they only tolerate one another. The mutual grooming, curling up together for naps, and good-natured wrestling bouts are a thing of the past. I guess our other cat never got over losing Sadie, either!


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