Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Virginia, United States
Posted Aug 12, 2015
Okay, this is going to be long! Skip to the end if you want the take-home message.
I adopted Max from the animal shelter where I have volunteered for several years. He is the first cat I have adopted while living on my own. After I graduated college and moved into an apartment that allowed pets, adopting a cat was something I couldn't wait for. But I did wait, because I needed to be sure I had everything set up. And I needed to pick a cat.
During my time at the shelter, there were always certain cats who stole my heart. And my favorites were the ones who had less chance of being adopted -- because they weren't young enough, or cute enough, or they hissed, or they were too shy. Because I am at the shelter so often, I get the chance to see the real personalities that are hidden behind those "less adoptable" features, and it would break my heart to see them go months without finding a home.
But as chance would have it, by the time I was finally ready to adopt a cat, my favorite less adoptables had been adopted. I was overjoyed for them, but at a loss for who to take home.
When I met Max, he was hiding in his cage, which immediately tugged at my heart. I took him out and he was immediately a huge lovebug, sitting in my lap for an hour just kneading and purring and headbutting me. Soon he was put into one of our cat colony rooms, and he would sit in the lap of anyone who walked in. I spent almost all of my time volunteering in that room with him. But I couldn't let myself take him. He was so affectionate, he was going to steal someone's heart and go home soon. I should take someone less adoptable.
Then Max started mysteriously losing hair around his neck. He was whisked away by one of our wonder foster parents, and the vet diagnosed him with hyperthyroidism. The good news: it could be kept in check with just half a pill every morning. The bad news: this would be a huge turn off for potential adopters. The silver lining: I still wanted him, badly.
So, it was fate in a way that he ended up coming home with me. I visited him at his foster home for about a month while I was getting things ready at my apartment. And then he was mine. And I can't imagine life without him.
His hyperthyroidism is easily managed each morning by dissolving half a pill in a small spoonful of tuna water. He thinks it is a treat! With that under control, his hair has grown back, and he's in great shape for his age.
He is my momma's boy. He will greet me at the door every day when I come home, and meow at me until I pick him up and hold him. He jumps into my lap every opportunity he gets. He is the best cuddler. He will curl up right in front of me on the couch and I will wrap my arms around him and we will nap for hours. He wakes me up in the mornings by purring and headbutting me. He follows me everywhere. He will cry if I'm behind a door and he can't get to me. I feel so guilty whenever I have to leave him for a trip. Even with my roommate or his foster mom taking care of him, I know he misses me.
I knew from interacting with him at the shelter that he would be a total lapcat and lovebug. And then there are things that surprised me. I knew I was adopting a senior, so I didn't expect much in terms of playfulness. Boy was I wrong. He goes crazy for catnip toys, feather wands, and anything you hide under the carpet. It's hilarious to watch him when he's in a playful mood -- he will jump around and pounce just like a kitten! I also didn't expect him to bond so exclusively with me. At the shelter he gave out love to anyone who would take it, but at home he shows a clear preference for me over other humans in the house, including my roommate (who is great with cats and he has known for about the same length of time as me). Somehow he knows that I'm his mom.
Overall he's a quiet cat. He only really meows when I come home or when it's time for wet food. Sometimes he goes into the bathroom and cries. We still haven't figured that one out. And he gives the most adorable grumbles when I have to take my desk chair back from him, and a deep sigh right before he falls asleep.
He is one of the most tolerant cats I've ever met. Clipping his nails is a breeze. He fusses, but he doesn't fight it. He will wear sweaters and hats. I've even been able to take him on walks outside on a harness. The one thing he hates is being confined by anything that isn't a human embrace. He cries incessantly in his carrier, but will quiet down as soon as someone's holding him. I had to try to crate him once while workers were renovating our apartment and he cried and kept pushing his face agains the bars. I know from the shelter that that can cause chafing. Luckily I was able to keep him in my closet instead. He won't even sleep in boxes, because I think he feels too confined. I think this must be something left over from his life before me. I try to avoid confining him as much as possible, which is part of why I started harness-training him.
I could go on about my baby boy forever, and I know that really I already have. Thank you if you have read this far! My take-home message is this:
Max is a senior cat. He has a chronic health condition for which he has to take daily medication. He's from a shelter. He's not any particular breed. He doesn't have fancy markings. But he is amazing and the bond I feel with him is incredible. Take a chance on a senior cat, or a cat with a health condition, or an otherwise less adoptable cat. I promise that it will be endlessly rewarding.