A week ago we welcomed a new addition to our family and adopted a cat. I’m an animal lover, and feel like a house isn’t really a home without a pet, but the process wasn’t without various pitfalls along the way.
When I was growing up, I was surrounded by animals. From a cockatiel to a hamster and various fish. What about the controversial cat vs dog camp? Well, sadly, I’m allergic to dogs so by default that makes me a crazy cat lady! I had four cats throughout my childhood and various others who visited. You can imagine my disappointment when I moved out and the contract of my flat stated “no pets allowed”!
I recently reported on a story where a rescue centre had been inundated with kittens due to people not spaying their pets. There was a plea for people to come and help adopt the youngsters and free up space. I didn’t need much persuading anyway and, now I’ve moved to Cumbria, the time seemed right.
Convincing my fiancé, who favours dogs, was the first hurdle. Then onto the adoption process. I’d owned adult cats before and wanted an adult to re-home again because when there are many kittens in the rescue centres, it’s the adults that often get overlooked. I’d also been inclined to adopt a black cat because, due to superstition, you will find many of these in rescue centres. That’s why there’s even a national “Black Cat” day to raise awareness of the issue.
There was a mix up with the first we tried to adopt, after various appointments and trying to reserve the cat, I was informed she’d actually been re-homed with someone else instead due to an admin error. This was disheartening but at least the cat had a home. What surprised me was when I spoke to other people about their experiences of animal adoption that situation is a lot more common than I first thought.
Staff at another centre never got back to our enquiry to adopt a cat. However, the saddest part of the process came unexpectedly. A cat we’d arranged to meet had an existing health condition and had to be put to sleep. This was heartbreaking but handled very well at the rescue centre. They asked, seeing as we had an appointment booked, would we still like to visit the cattery?
I took them up on the offer but, after so many set backs, tried not to get my hopes up. As soon as we went in a black and white cat called Pushkin – presumably named after the Russian poet – came to greet us. They say cats choose their owners, rather than the other way around, and I think that’s definitely what happened here! I’ve never known a cat called that before but, because she answers to it, the name has stuck.
Within a week we had taken her home. She has had to be introduced to each room at a time but has settled in incredibly well. Pushkin is a loving and affectionate cat – she’s actually been sitting on my knee as I write this! She’s such a character and, because she’s 5-years-old, is very well behaved.
I’d urge anyone who’s interested in having a cat as a pet to consider adopting from a rescue centre. There are so many lovely animals who are in need of a home. In Pushkin’s case, her original owner had died and then was relocated from Manchester to Ambleside, before finding herself in need of a home.
Rescue centres are often charities and will really appreciate and value your support. I’d also say that the adoptions sometimes don’t go as you may wish, so it’s best to go into it with an open mind. If you have too many expectations then you may miss out on your purr-fect pet. Adopting a cat has been quite an emotional rollercoaster, in my case anyway, but it’s been one of the highlights of my year. I can’t imagine our house without her now and she’s certainly made herself at home…