When you’re thinking about bringing home a furry friend from your local shelter or pet store, don’t look past the older dogs and cats. We adopted our precious companion, Midnight, when she was 6 years old and it literally changed our lives.
My boyfriend, Steven, has never owned a pet. As for me, there has always been a cat running around our house. I had the pleasure to grow up with three cats in my home, all of which we got as kittens.
Before I was even born, my parents adopted the first cat I would ever meet Nikki. My sister and I had a hard time dealing with the loss of our first pet when she passed away. At ages 9 and 5, we didn’t quite understand what it meant for a cat to go to heaven. To help us cope, our parents go us another cat, Sandy. I was too young to remember Nikki, but I grew up with Sandy. We had her up until my freshman year of college. In fact, my mother called me right before a big math test to tell me she had passed away. When I came home for Thanksgiving break, it was weird not having a cat in our house. My mother even insisted that she didn’t want another cat. But me and my dad brought one home on Black Friday anyway. She was a small calico named Bette, who still lives with my dad.
In college I spent most of my free time volunteering at the Humane Society. I spent 2 hours a day, sometimes more, playing with the cats and helping them find homes on adoption days. This is where I met Midnight. Around her, there were dozens of older cats each in their respective cages napping the day away.
The kittens were always mischievous. When allowed out of their cages they’d run and scratch on everything. They would always demand to be let out of their cage, and always got the most attention. As you can imagine, the dogs were treated the same way. The volunteers always wanted to walk the puppies.
Almost every time I volunteered, it was just me and one other person in charge of playing with ALL the cats. I’d try to make sure I got to take each one out of their cage at least once, except for one, Midnight.
Her tag said playful, sweet, and loving. However if you ever tried to take her out of her cage you not find any of those qualities. You would be greeted with claws extended and a fierce growl, not a hiss a full on growl. I couldn’t understand how in the world such a mean cat could ever be described as loving or sweet, this cat was evil.
But still, I got the idea stuck in my head that I wanted this cat, and I would spend the next few weeks trying to convince Steven that she was the one. It was agreed that we would foster her for a month or two first to see how she was outside the cage.
To get this cat in her carrier we had to turn it sideways and drop her in. Screeching the whole way, we brought her home. When we opened the door of her carrier in her new home, a different cat walked out. She rubbed against us, purring loudly, and even let us pick her up. This was more like the cat from the description. It didn’t even take us a full month to realize she was the one.
Last weekend marked our first full year of having her, and needless to say we are so glad we did! She sleeps on the edge of our bed every night, greets us when we come home, and sometimes even shares beef jerky with Steven. I’m so glad we were able to give her a forever home.
Midnight has taught me patience. She reminds me that I can’t just pet and bother her constantly, or expect her to come every time I call her. She’s taught me that I am never alone. She always needs to be within eyesight of me and Steven, even if we are in separate rooms. But more importantly, she has taught me to appreciate older pets and that they can still offer the same love and companionship that a puppy or kitten could.