On August 27, 2018 I officially adopted Colby, a one-year old gray and black tabby cat from my local Humane Society. I really wanted to rescue a cat and adopt a cat who needed a good home. Colby stole my heart with his cute picture and his biography online which his story that tugged at my heart strings. One neat thing is that my local humane society’s webpage links to the PetHarbor website where you can search via cat/dog/other pet, the pet’s age, gender, color, and size; you can even view pics and pet biographies.
Colby has special needs- not only did his owner who was older pass away, but Colby also was turned over to the local Humane Society so he likely suffered from feeling abandoned. My kitty can be clingy and seems to have separation anxiety when I have to leave him alone (which has been getting better over time and with lots of love and TLC). I suspect this is due to the ordeal that he went through. I have pondered how Colby lost almost everything. He lost his owner, his home, the food he ate, the toys he had, any other pets that he lived with, and even what veterinarian he went to. Losing almost everything can take a toll. We may not think about that with our pets like we do with people, but we would be wise to be more thoughtful about our pets emotional needs and health.
Adopting Colby has brought a very special joy and love to my life. I have learned numerous lessons about love on a deeper level.
1. Love is unconditional.
Since I adopted Colby, he has scratched and clawed my couch over 50 times. I purchased a scratching post and assembled it for him which he has never used. Then I bought two more scratching pads because I read online that cats can be particular with their scratching pads. Colby continued to scratch my couch still, so I covered my couch with three blankets. Sometimes Colby will still go under the blankets in order to scratch the couch. It is highly frustrating, but it is a good lesson in patience and unconditional love.
2. Love is forgiving.
Love also is forgiving. Colby and I both have had to work on this. As a new “kittty mom,” I have not been perfect. I do my best to clean Colby’s litter box daily, give him love daily, and use positive praise and treats. However, sometimes I have gotten frustrated when he has yet again scratched my couch or when he scratched my face and drew blood when he was trying to play with my hoodie string. People and kitties are not perfect, but love is forgiving.
3. Love needs quality time.
Colby will definitely let me know when he does not get enough quality time. It does not matter how many treats I give him or how much praise I give him, if he feels that I am neglecting him, then I can see it in his actions- that is when he starts knocking things down off tables, acting really aggressively with his toys, and ignoring me when I call his name and tell him that I love him. So that makes me wonder about a pet insight. I wonder if pets, like people, have a primary love language? Author Gary Chapman wrote a fantastic book called The Five Love Languages. While it is focused on human relationships, I suspect it may also work for love languages with pets. My kitty’s primary language is DEFINITELY quality time. There is no substitute.
4. Love thinks deeply about the needs of another.
When I am out shopping, I often think of things that my kitty would like. My finances reflect this truth. Also, when I come home and am tired after a draining day at work, sometimes I do not feel like playing with my kitty. But he ADORES his game where the ball goes around the circle (see picture below). We play it together typically every day where he bats the ball to me and I bat the ball back to him. It is so much fun and the highlight of my day. I don’t want to be too tired to miss it. Love cares about needs and desires of another and other puts those needs first.
Colby, my adopted kitty, with his favorite toy (photo by Julie A. Smith)
If you are interested in adopting a cat or dog, I highly encourage you to check out the pets at your local humane society who need a good home, or check out Pet Harbor, a website that locates pets in many U.S. (and I believe also Canadian) cities at http://petharbor.com/.