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By JaneA Kelley, PAWS Staff

Adrianna and Aleksandra adopted Abby from PAWS Cat City in 2011. She was seven years old at the time, a shy cat who had been in PAWS’ care for long enough to feign a lack of interest in people who came to visit. But the couple saw through Abby’s shyness to her mellow temperament, which they thought would be a great match for first-time cat parent Aleksandra. I recently sat down with Adrianna to talk about Abby’s life since her adoption.

Abby-lead-pic

What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
I am very passionate about no-kill shelters, and I would never purchase a pet—another living being; there are so many cats that need homes.

What brought you to PAWS?
PAWS does a really good job with the adoption process in terms of caring for the cats, helping people find the right cat and making sure that the cats are adoptable. I also liked all the information on their website about the adoption process and finding the right cat.

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What was it that most attracted you to Abby?
True love? Love at first sight? I specifically wanted to adopt a black cat and an adult cat, because black cats are more likely to stay in shelters longer simply because they don’t stand out as much as other colors. When I saw Abby in the shelter I noticed that she was kind of hanging off to the side and she wasn’t very visible, but since I was looking for a black cat I noticed her.

How was your journey home and settling in together?
She was amazing! She went into her carrier with absolutely no problem, and the staff at PAWS were very nice and helpful. When she got home she came out with her tail up, all curious and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. My sister was there to help me with the introduction to her feline housemate, Pedro, and separating them into two rooms at the beginning. I think being well educated about how to properly introduce cats helped a lot.

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How would you describe Abby’s personality?
She is a fluffy marshmallow of love. She’s given me so much happiness and she has the most wonderful purr. She’s just a mellow cat and likes hanging out, sitting in her cat tree and watching the birds. She’s very gentle and sweet, and she’s definitely smarter than Pedro. I’ve trained her to sit up and beg for treats.

How has Abby changed your life?
She’s made me a more loving and contented person. She reminds me about what’s important in life and how to be open-hearted ... and of the importance of taking naps. The companionship she gives me is so deeply wonderful because I have a chronic illness that sometimes makes it difficult to even get out of bed. She’s like a little medicine cat. She can make me smile no matter what’s going on.

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A lot of people worry about adopting older cats because of a concern about health problems or that they won’t have much time together. Has Abby faced any major health issues?
She did have a bout of pancreatitis, but that resolved quickly. She has arthritis, but that’s well managed. As far as adopting an older cat, indoor cats can live to be 20 or older, so if you’re adopting a 10-year-old cat, you’ve got 10 years together.

What do you think is the best thing about adopting an adult cat?
I wanted an adult cat because you know more about their personality and health and they don’t require as much energy as a kitten. All the hard work has already been done—they’ve learned how to use the litter box, how to interact with people, and so on.

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What advice do you have for people considering adopting a cat?
Be aware that it is a long-term commitment. It’s like having a child: You need to make sure you can afford it and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get cat-friendly housing, and that you have time to spend with your cat. People have the misconception that cats are aloof, but they really do need a lot of companionship. I also think it’s important to consider a cat-only vet because cats are much calmer in this environment and the staff are experts in feline medicine.

Comments

I wish more people would understand that adopting an older cat doesn't mean losing your pet quickly. I adopted a gorgeous Himalayan at the King County shelter. He was definitely a purebred and had all the Himalayan attitude and intelligence. He was boss cat until the day he died. I estimated he was 8-10 years old when I adopted him, and he was into his 20s when I finally lost him. That's 10 years of love and joy I got. Similarly, I took in a mom cat and her newborn babies. That was almost 19 years ago now, and the mom cat is still around along with 3 of her 7 babies. (Yes, the 18-year-old "kittens" are still with me.) She's going slow and taking a lot of naps, is pretty thin, but she's the most loving, mellow cat. Mature cats rule.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Ceci. I know a cat who lived to be 21, and my own personal oldest cat, Siouxsie, lived to be 19. My 15-year-old boy acts like a cat half his age; he just had his semiannual senior vet checkup yesterday and my vet is very impressed with how healthy he is. I only wish more people would be happy to adopt elder kitties because you really can enjoy many years together.

Cheers,
JaneA Kelley

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