Pet Newz

How We Adopted Our Cats

We talk a lot about pet adoption around here, but let’s be honest… not all pets come to us from a shelter or rescue. So, in that vein, allow me to formally introduce our cats: Meet Newt and Ripley!

OK, OK. If you’ve been here a while, you’ve met. 🙂 But, for those who are new, or for those who don’t know about our kitty contingent–it is OhMyDOG after all–I wanted to tell their stories and talk a little bit about some of the other ways pets enter our lives.

Newt found John while he lived in Houma, LA. He wasn’t looking for a cat, and our life was in chaos at that time–he was commuting between LA and IN while I underwent chemo. Had we walked into a shelter and tried to adopt a cat–two homes in two states, three dogs who had never met a cat before, jobs in flux, income unpredictable, etc.–we would’ve been denied for sure. Yet, here comes Newt, waltzing into our world.

Was it the ideal time to add a cat to the family? Nope.

Did we have any idea what we were doing with a cat? Double nope.

Were we going to figure out how to make it work? Heck yeah.

It was worth it for us, but I’m certainly not recommending anything similar for any other family. In fact, when other animals stumbled into our lives shortly after Newt–first Molly then Petey–we knew it was best to find them their own families outside of ours.

Thankfully, Newt is one tough cookie. She adapted well to moving from her first apartment with John to our Houma house to our Bloomington house to our Indy house, and meeting the dogs, and adopting Violet, and adding Ripley to the mix, and who knows what else I’m forgetting.

It’s her personality, an innate characteristic of hers to just be sure she’s the Queen Bee no matter what or where or who is around her. It comes out in less-than-kind ways sometimes (she’s been known to whoop a dog or two in her day and bite a person or two or almost all of them), but that trait helps her face life with nothing but confidence at all times.

We could all benefit from having a little Newt inspo, I think.

I missed writing her Gotcha Day letter this year, so please enjoy last year’s Dear Newt!

Ripley found us on Facebook. Well, I found her.

A friend posted that a mama cat appeared in her barn. No one around her recognized the cat. She and her husband decided to keep the mama safe until she had her kittens then find homes for the lot–including the mom–once they were eight weeks old. After the kittens were born, she posted a pic, and I said, “If we were looking for a kitten, it would be this one.” I pointed to the future Ripley.

Weeks went by, and she kept posting how glad she was that the mom had found a home and that most of the kittens had, too. Then, she shared a pic of Ripley and said something like, “This one is so sweet, but no one’s adopted her yet!”

I turned to John, “On a scale of one to 10, how much do you not want a cat?”

Later that week, we drove out to their farm and picked up Ripley.

Ripley couldn’t be more different from Newt than if they were two different species. While Newt is bold and couldn’t-care-less, Ripley is timid and cares a whole lot.

She’s frightened of new things. When something startles her, she hisses and darts away. She hides under the bed whenever something different happens or someone new is in the house. However… once she gets to know you… She purrs and rubs everyone once she’s comfy with you and wouldn’t dream of biting us or Cooper.

We weren’t looking for Ripley either, but she’s the perfect addition to the family. She and Violet are growing up side-by-side, and Ripley and Cooper share a love for cuddling. Ripley immediately loved Newt and identified her as the Big Cat in their relationship.

In many ways, being opposites is exactly what they both needed!

I also missed writing Ripley’s Gotcha Day letter this year, so please enjoy last year’s Dear Ripley! I just reread it, and whooooo boy. She hasn’t changed, not one bit.

So, my point in all this–other than closing a gap in their Gotcha Day letters, all of which I missed because of being down and out for two months, but now that I’m appendix-free I’m getting all caught up, and speaking of which here’s Cooper’s last year letter because I missed his, too!–so, my point in all this is to say: Pets come to us in all sorts of ways.

They come whether we’re looking or not. The right ones, well, we just know. And they know. I think that’s partly why we knew we had to find Molly and Petey their families… they weren’t meant for ours, and we all knew it. Our crew? Meant for us.

I was thinking about all this recently because a friend was denied an adoption application, despite already being a pet owner… and a dedicated one at that. Yet, she wasn’t deemed suitable for this particular rescue. I struggle with this and have written about it a bunch (some links are below) because the reality is, and what my cats demonstrate, animals come from all sorts of places. Someone who wants a pet is going to get one, even if an adoption application is denied.

I love my cats to pieces. They fit our family perfectly. No, that’s not quite right… They make our family. We weren’t looking for a cat in either case. We didn’t fill out an application or pay a fee or visit a shelter. Yet, we adopted them wholeheartedly and work every day to make sure this bunch is happy and healthy.

At the end of the day, that’s all we can do for our pets, isn’t it? No matter where they come from!

How did your pets join your family? Purchased from a breeder? Adoption from a shelter or rescue? Found on the street? I’d LOVE to hear your stories in the comments below!

Read more:

How Not to Adopt a Pet: Removing Barriers to Pet Adoption

Choosing a Pet: Is adoption right for my family?

Should pet adoptions be free?