Pets are family, or at least that’s what they should be treated as. For my wife and I it couldn’t be more true. Our so-adorable-it-hurts kitty is our only child and we love her like so. Unfortunately those out there just don’t see pets the same way. People think pets aren’t capable of any of the emotions humans are. They place them below everything else where in reality, we are all animals in the same kingdom. We share this world, we don’t own it.
Pets are meant to be part of your family no matter what animal it is. All animals are capable of love and appreciation. For our cat, every bit of love we give her she gives even more back which is really no surprise since she once was only a stray looking for a home. Ever since we became that home she has shown her appreciation for it each and every day. For a bit of inspiration I thought I would go ahead and tell the story of how we got our little princess. Prepare for a bit of a long post!
Before my wife and I were married we always said if we ever got a cat in the future we would want to name it Kit-Kat. One because we love the candy bar (I mean, who doesn’t?) and two because we thought it would be silly and cute. We also remembered reading that when naming your cat or dog using a name that has a strong sound and annunciation to it helps the animal associate its own name. It’s not so much the name itself but the sound the letters make. The more unique the sound compared to every day language the better. But anyway, at the time it was nothing we took serious as we never thought we would ever have a cat anytime soon. We expected to make the decision of a dog or cat after we got married and moved. Some time after whenever this discussion was, an offer was presented to us that we couldn’t refuse.
Stray cats are everywhere and are probably in your own neighborhood. My stepmother and father, who lived only a few minutes away by car, unexpectedly became a home for a cat and her babies. I say only a home because of course stray cats move around a small area covering multiple peoples’ properties. But they found the roomy underside of their backyard deck quite inviting more often than not. It was a great shelter from any and all inclement weather. Soon enough their babies had babies and those babies had babies. (Maybe even one more? Who knows! Who can keep track? The cute little buggers breed at 6 months old!) My stepmother was kind enough to take it upon herself to buy dry cat food and leave it outside for them. She then did something even more awesome and decided to capture whatever kitties were still coming around their house and take them in to be neutered/spayed and get their shots. Even if you let the cats go back into the wild, doing this is one of the best things you can do to help prevent more animals being brought and crammed into animal shelters, as well as less cats on the streets that make the overpopulation even worse than it is. Anyway, it was one of these that became the light of my life.
I remember the first time I really saw her. My father and stepmother were hosting Thanksgiving at their house and we had all our family over. I was hanging out in the back on the deck when despite all the people over this 1-1 1/2 year old cat came to say hello. At this point they were already feeding her here and there so she was no stranger and had already had a litter (or 2) of kittens. She even came right into the house without a worry in the world, again regardless of all the people. So after the holiday my stepmother decided she was an easy catch to take to the vet and get fixed. After my stepmother brought her home she kept her inside and was deciding whether or not to keep her. But then she took a shot in the dark and decided to ask me…
My mother was NEVER a cat person and neither was I but only because I grew up with only ever being around dogs. We didn’t know any better, as all we knew about cats were they loved to go after and eat the birds we loved to attract in our backyard. Most of the cats that came in our backyard were likely pets of people that just didn’t give a crap and let them roam outside as they please. So once she asked us and told us how sweet she was we figured we would stop by to see her while they were at work. She was also already litter box trained which was quite shocking. Apparently someone owned her and decided one day to let her go and either moved away or never let her back in. Despite whatever trauma she may have had (more on this later) she was smart, playful and of course very loving. But most importantly, what really won us over was her coloring…
She was a tortie, or more commonly known as tortoise shell. She was colored like chocolate, caramel, nugget and yes, wafers! She had all the colors of a candy bar. It was almost a no decision. Before we even knew our answer we knew Kit-Kat was fated to be ours. It was all too perfect… but first, I had to convince my mother to agree to it. We asked her about it and promised her when my now wife and I get married and move we will take her with us and until then make sure we take good care of her. We then took her to go see her. By the end of the visit she just couldn’t say no to that adorable little face.
It just so happens that one of her babies had a litter as well before she got fixed. They too were hanging around and living under my stepmother’s and father’s backyard deck. At this time she was finding homes for some of the other cats as well. Again she captured them and got them neutered/spayed and found homes for a couple of them too. Two of them she decided to keep. Being Kit-Kats granddaughter, one looked almost exactly like her just with the colors switched. Even though they retired and moved they still have her today along with two other rescued cats and now a new adopted dog. They both currently volunteer at their local shelter, foster pets and help find homes for cats and dogs in need.
We have had our little baby for at least 5 years now. We moved 3 years ago about 12 hours south (and now only 3-4 hours away from my father and stepmother!) and of course she came with us. After almost 2 years my mother fell in love with cats because of Kit-Kat and was sad to see her go. It wasn’t long before my sister adopted a cat of her own to fill the kitty void they never knew they would ever have.
Any time you give an animal a home or attention they deserve they never hesitate to show their love and appreciation. It makes me sad that people don’t understand the intelligence and emotions pets are capable of. Even many owners who have had cats or dogs most off their lives neglect to see this. Pets aren’t property, they’re family.
Kit-Kat brings more joy and happiness to our lives than anyone could ever know. We love her to death and she means the absolute world to us. I would do anything to protect her just like I would my very own human child because I see her as just that: our child. I would die before I let anything happen to her as she is far too precious to my life. It pains me to think of her first year or year and a half before she was taken in when she spent all those days wondering if she was going to go hungry and dealing with all those loud thunderous heavy rains and of course those cold snowy winters. Every time I look outside at any bad weather I think of her. But because she was an outside cat for so long she just loves the outdoors. We put a leash on her, attach an end to the outside somewhere and let her hang out. In reference to that trauma I mentioned earlier, she would get really scared whenever we shut the glass door after letting her out. Every time we did she would come and scratch at it frantically. Only until recently, a whole 5 years later, has she finally lost her fear of closed doors. So it’s obvious someone left her and gave her an everlasting painful memory which just breaks my heart to think. Pets are lifelong commitments, no different than your own children, and are meant to be yours for life.
It’s obvious pets have emotions just like we do. All you have to do is pay attention to yours and you will see the signs. Unfortunately people out there just flat out don’t give a shit. We will always treat Kit-Kat with the same love as we always have. We don’t have any children yet but when we do, it won’t change a thing. Some may say it’s different once you do but I ask this: Once you have your second child, do you ever stop loving the first?