Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be a Christmas Angel to a Homeless Companion Animal

My Cammi cat, December 20, 2012. We are four days from our fifth anniversary together! 

This is my Cammi cat, a photo fresh from the camera. She wasn’t in the mood for flash photography.

I adopted this beautiful soul on December 24, 2007. I did not “need” another cat, and I chose to buy some cat food at Petco instead of my usual place because I did not want to run into any cat adoption fairs. I usually donated to a pair of rescues, nothing huge, offering to buy some cat litter or cat food. I was still missing my 16-3/4 year old cat Elliott, who’d passed away in March due to complications of chronic renal failure.

I was surprised that there was a cat adoption fair at the Petco, on Christmas Eve no less. They were operating abbreviated hours, from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m., instead of the usual 9-to-5. I looked away, hurried to the rear of the store for cat food, and while standing in line, looked over toward the people playing with and holding cats.

Cammi looked at me, and it was over. I pulled myself out of the line and asked about her. She was very tiny, so I figured she was maybe 8 weeks old. Nope, she was nearly 5 months old, just petite. She’d only recently made weight to be spayed, her belly was still shaved. She was the property of a rescue, and had never been in a pound, though her story was no less harrowing.

Cammi’s momcat, a longhaired black teenager kitty the rescue named Gina, had been trapped as a feral, and was being held in a Hav-a-Hart cage overnight waiting for her spay the next morning. Gina had other ideas and gave birth to 6 kittens, but two did not survive. Cammi was the only tuxie and only medium-haired one, and the runt to boot. Immediately the litter got sick, and their foster caretakers worked overtime to save the little family.

Two of her littermates had already been adopted, and only Cammi (who was Hera) and Flower remained, along with Gina. I stupidly asked if I could hold her. She immediately relaxed and purred. A voice inside my head said “Take this one home, she will make a difference in your life.” The voice just got louder as I tried harder to resist. Finally, I handed her back, told the teenager who was holding her to call Rosi, the owner of the rescue, to get me approved. I’d already adopted from her rescue and had been approved to adopt a kitten earlier in the year, but I did not get to him quickly enough. Meanwhile, I’d go home and get my soft side carrier for the little girl, and make her mine. I asked for assurances that I would not be breaking the heart of the 11-year old girl who had raised the little litter, nursing the kittens to health, playing with them and socializing the kittens and their mom Gina, who went on to be a substitute mother cat to several litters of kittens and finally finding her forever home. (Yes I did meet Gina, she’s a tiny girl herself, just like Cammi. I also met her foster family and thanked them for raising such a special loving soul.)

I have never regretted listening to that voice, nor have I regretted taking on what was then a sixth cat. We bonded immediately, and she quickly fit into my cat family, even winning over Ryan, who was five months older than she.

It’s recommended you not adopt a pet as a gift—unless of course that gift is for yourself and isn’t going anywhere but your home. Christmas time is stressful, and can be lonely. I am firmly convinced that the adoption of companion animals between Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s is a therapeutic thing, that the bond you form with your new pet is deep and lasting.

Consider treating yourself to a new love in the coming weeks—adopt a cat. You will transform yourself from mundane person to that kitten or cat’s guardian angel. Throughout the years, you will be reminded of the Christmas gift that gives back so much more than it has ever taken from you. 


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