This may sound strange, but I never grew up with pets. I had a goldfish once, but that doesn’t count (her name was Cathy). Because I never had an animal of my own, I had this preconceived notion that cats were just plain mean. I recall some very unpleasant interactions with cats in my childhood, and of course these experiences stuck with me throughout my life. I never had a desire to give cats a second chance until I met one particularly amazing cat, Jack. Jack is Leo’s mom’s cat, and he is the ultimate cuddler, purrer, drooler (oh yeah, you read that right). It was Jack who made me question everything. Maybe I just hadn’t met the right kitty? Maybe I had it all wrong?
I decided the best way to feel things out was to foster a cat short-term. Luckily, I was able to work with Feline Friends in Chicago to pet sit a beautiful, 1 year old Bombay kitty, Philomena (Philo for short). I had her for 12 days. She is the epitome of a scaredy cat, but she’s had a rough past and has lacked good humans in her life. It was heartbreaking to see her to anxious and uncomfortable the first few days she was with me. However, day by day, she slowly started to open up. She went from hiding in the bathroom to sitting next to me as I watched TV. She started following me from room to room. She’d circle my feet everywhere I went.
The last night I had her, she came and sat in my lap to take a nap. I was shocked not only with the progress she’d made, but also at how fulfilling it was to know that I had helped her open up. I made her feel safe.You can imagine how much harder it was to take her back to her long-term foster home after she’d come such a long way. I felt like I had betrayed her. It was something I’d never experienced before. I know that she’s in a good home now, but it’s not permanent one. I’m really hoping I can find someone for her – she’s definitely going to require some effort and commitment, but I promise she’ll come around…and when she does it will be so worth it! Look at me, talking like a crazy cat lady already.
As for me, jury is still out on whether or not I’m ready to get my own pet. Maybe one day…soon.
PS – If you are in the Chicago area and are looking to adopt, check out the cats available for adoption at Feline Friends (you can even have this cutie!).