It’s a hard thing walking into a shelter and seeing so many animals that need homes: dogs, cats, rabbits . . . but that’s what we did last weekend, as we were out on a family adventure. This was not our first visit to the shelter, as a cat has been on the family wishlist for a while now . . .
We ventured in to check out the various cat rooms, and first stop for a visit with the kittens. A gray kitty had one eye and had been found at the dump. A shelter worker took her home at night so that she would have human contact in the evenings . . .
We made our rounds greeting each animal by name if we could, and giving each one a focused bit of attention as we moved through the shelter. After I had visited with the dogs, I returned to the second cat room to find my husband intrigued by a long-hair gray cat. The cat was a little over a year old, and observing his behavior for a moment, was a bit of a pissah, to borrow a Maine phrase. He had a lot of energy, liked to play, but seemed overwhelmed at times by the stimuli of the room, and would periodically take off after other cat and harass them.
We hung out with Tony for a while to engage with him and observe his general behavior. My husband even managed to pick him up at one point as feisty Tony allowed this to occur. This was when we realized that we might be able to give Tony a home.
Having an Australian Shephard at home, we needed a tough cat that could stand up to an animal who was sweet, but had a chasing and herding tendency. We didn’t think a kitten was a safe bet, but felt like a grown cat might be able to cope with our dog and hold their own in his presence.
My family discussed the choice to adopt Tony, and we were in agreement that Tony was likely the cat for us. This tough cat had been in the shelter for six months and had had mouth ulcers, respiratory infections, and colds on and off during the time he had lived there. The staff veterinarian believed this to be due to stress he experienced from being cooped up. Information we discovered as we filled out his adoption paperwork. We took a deep breath and signed the dotted line . . .
The shelter let us borrow a cat carrier and we took Tony into the car and drove to a local store to obtain cat supplies. The kids and I stayed with the cat in the car, and an unexpected thing occurred. Tony started purring. Loudly. Like he was revving his kitty engine. And, he continued to purr for most of the time that my husband was in the pet store and the car was parked.
As my kids and I conversed, Tony peered out of the car carrier slats, and attentively followed what was going on. He had an intelligence about him that was endearing.
Bringing Tony home, he seemed to like our house right away. We gradually let him explore room by room, and he seemed satisfied with the hiding spots he found. In particular, he loved the bathtub, for reasons that remain a mystery . . .
Now, a week later, he has settled in nicely. He purrs often, loves being cradled like a baby, and follows family members around like a puppy. One day while I was in the kitchen, he was sprawled out on the floor grooming himself, and I looked his way, admiring him. He stopped grooming and gazed at me with his piercing yellow eyes for as long as I looked at him. It seems we may have found ourselves a Maine Coon cat, which, by the way, was at the top of our kitty wishlist. That, and unbeknownst to us at the time, we adopted him on National Cat Day. Funny how things work out.
Ironically, the name Tony did not seem to suit our cat. He did not really respond to it, and after we saw him hunt flies with a vengeance, we recognized we needed a more apt name, like Odin, the hunter. Or maybe Bodin. Except, who has tried to call a cat repeating, “Odin, Odin, here Odin.” Or the latter. Just doesn’t flow from the lips. So, at the suggestion of a friend, came up with the name “Bowdi” or “Bodhi” as we will likely call him. The cat seems to love his name and responds accordingly. Just like a Buddha, and we can call him “Bo” for short. And actually, we call him Love Bug an awful lot . . .
Bohdi has been an entertaining and loving addition to our home. We look forward to many more kitty adventures . . .