This was meant to be a quick warm up, but it turned into a comic that I’ve wanted to draw for a while. This is something that is extremely important to me, and I appreciate it if you read it.
A while ago, I heard a story that broke my heart. A family went a cat shelter to adopt. The daughter fell in love with a 3-legged cat. The father straight up said “absolutely not”. Because he was missing a leg. That cat was that close to having a family that loved him, but the missing leg held him back. Why?!
Many people have the initial instinct of “nope” when they see an imperfect animal. I get it, but less-adoptable does NOT mean less loveable. 9 out of 10 people will choose a kitten over an adult cat. And those 10% that would get an adult cat often overlook “different” animals.
All I want people to do is be open to the idea of having a “different” pet in their lives. Choose the pet that you fall in love with, but at least give all of them a fair shot at winning your heart.
Don’t dismiss them, they deserve a loving home just as much as any other cat. They still purr, they still love a warm lap, they still play, they still love you. Trust me, next time you are in the market for a new kitty, just go over to that one cat that’s missing an eye and see what he’s all about!
Let me tell to you a thing.
This is Lenore. I first saw her in a little cage at the Petco I frequent (I used to take my parents’ dog in for puppy play time), and she looked like the grouchiest, old, crotchety cat in the world, and I fell instantly in love. She was cranky, she was anti-social, hanging out at the back of her cage. Her fur was matted because she wouldn’t let the groomers near her.
She was perfect.
But I didn’t have a place for her. I wasn’t living in my own space yet, and where I was, I wasn’t allowed cats. So I pressed my face to the bars of her cage and I promised that if no one had adopted her by the time I’d bought a house, I would come back for her.
I visited her every week for over six months while I looked for a house. At one point, they had to just shave her entire rear-end because the mats or fur were so bad. They told me she clawed the heck outta the groomer that did it, screamed the entire time, and spent the next two days growling at anyone that came near the cage.
A couple of weeks later, I closed on my house. I went back and I got an employee, and I said: “That one. I need that cat.”
They got the paperwork and the lady who ran the rescue that was bringing the cats in told me that Lenore (at the time, Lila) was 8 years old, had been owned by an elderly lady who had died, and brought in to a different rescue, who’d had her for six months on top of the time I’d been seeing her at Petco.
This kitty had been living in a 3x3’ cube for over a YEAR because she was older and “less adoptable.”
I signed the paperwork, put her in a cat carrier, and drove her to my new home. I had pretty much nothing; a bed, an old couch, a couple of bookcases, and a tank of mice I called “Cat TV”. I let her out of the carrier and onto my bed, and I told her “I told you I would come back for you when I had a place. It’s not much, but it’s yours too now.”
Lenore spent the next three days straight purring non-stop. She followed me around the house purring. Sat next to me purring. Slept next to me purring. Leaning into every touch, purring, purring, always purring. She still purrs if you so much as think about petting her. She’s amazing, and I love her.
So, you know, if you’re thinking about adopting, and you see a beast that others consider “less adoptable,” think about Lenore.
This is Chester A. Cat
My mom and I went to the animal shelter to specifically look at young cats. Not so much tiny kitten…just young. I love older cats but at that point we wanted young.
We were looking at a black seven month old female. We played with her and bonded a bit.
But as we kept looking at her one cat kept sticking his paws out of the bar and meowing at us. We kept looking back at it. It was a cat the shelter said was eight years old. They had absolutely no history on this cat and that was made us wary. We have a dog and other cats and this was an unknown adult. We asked to see it and asked if it were friendly with dogs. They brought a cat friendly dog to the socializing room and Chester hissed and growled. But he was in a shelter environment being confronted by a very hyper dog. Looking back it’s understandable that he freaked, right?
Well mom and I were still unsure. We filled out the papers for the younger black cat and went home, knowing I would be back to pick her up the next day after she was spayed.
But we kept thinking about that older male who kept pawing at us.
The next day I went to the shelter to get the female. I went in and inquired about the older male. He’s still available. I called my mom, knowing that I really wanted this cat. I actually took two carriers because I had a hunch I would be bringing that old guy home. And I did. After I picked up the female from the shelter vet I filled out the paperwork for the old male. Since he was already fixed he was able to come right home.
As much as I love the female cat (Samantha) I will be the first to tell you that she matured to be a very antisocial skittish cat. She runs from you if you so much as look at her.
Chester on the other hand is a real doll. He’s not eight as the shelter claimed. My vet thinks he was closer to ten when we got him (now he’d be closer to 12). He has a horrible skin condition and required a shot every few weeks just to keep the condition under control. He also has wretched allergies which don’t help that skin condition.
On top of that, he has ‘floating knee caps’ and his hips are out of alignment. Because of all these problems Chester has a funny walk and will suddenly collapses in what we call a ‘scratch attack’ where he is overwhelmed by itches and looks like he’s having a seizure because of how crazy he’s scratching at his skin.
But I love Chester A. Cat and I would not trade him. When you sit down he’s on your lap. When you lay in your bed he jumps on your chest and cuddles in. When his skin and allergies are under control he has the softest bunny fur ever.
He’s old, looks like a hobo, and has various medical conditions. But he’s one of my beloved kitties and I am so glad we took the chance.
Take a chance on older and ‘less attractive’ shelter animals. You will be opening your heart and your home to an animal that will shower you in love