Special to the Daily
Summit, County CO
A couple of weeks ago, while Tim and I were signing our lease for the coming year, Tim said, with an offhand casualness that didn’t fool me, “By the way, did you know that we can have a cat? As long as we get our landlord’s permission, it’s allowed now.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to. The very next morning, I was at the Summit County Animal Shelter, ready to become mother to a fur baby.
TUESDAY: The Summit County Animal Shelter is a cheerful, upbeat place, staffed by animal lovers as well as a group of large-hearted volunteers who come in primarily to play with the dogs and cats and keep them company.
Michelle, a shelter staff member, greets me enthusiastically and leads me into the main Cat Room, where I’m greeted by a chorus of welcoming “Meows.”
“Can I visit with all of them?” I ask.
“Of course!” Michelle says, and she leaves me with 15 pairs of avid eyes peering at me with avid curiosity.
I already know exactly what I want ” a sweet, affectionate, quiet lap cat who is happy to stay indoors at all times (we never let cats roam outside). The important thing for me today is to take each cat out separately and see which ones are receptive at all to a little petting from me.
It’s hard for the cats; they’re glad to get out of their cages and they want to explore and stretch their legs a bit before settling down. But soon they start paying more attention to their human visitor, and a couple of them even head for my lap ” which automatically puts them on my short list of candidates.
WEDNESDAY: I’ve fallen in love. When I come back this morning, Tara, a volunteer, says, “You haven’t visited the back room where the Manx is, have you?”
Tara leads me to a tiny room in the back, where a pair of lustrous eyes gleams at me from the lower level of a carpeted pet motel.
She comes out. She approaches me cautiously, and suddenly rubs herself against me for a long, luxurious head butt. From that moment on, I know I’ve found my cat ” a beautiful, 9-year-old grey shorthaired tailless Manx, with a gorgeous face and a sweet, loving disposition.
We spend the next two hours together ” me on the floor, her crawling in and out of my lap to be petted. Just to get her used to being alone with me, we take her to the Rainbow Room, a large conference room with a beautiful mural of the famed Rainbow Bridge, and Tabitha (I’ve already named her) climbs up on the table so that I can rub her belly.
There’s no question about it ” she’s coming home with me. While I fill out the forms, Donna, a shelter staffer, fills me in on cat parenting tips.
THURSDAY: The adoption forms have been processed, and I’ve paid the $90 fee (which helps cover the cost of the spaying and vaccinations that Tabitha had when she first arrived). Michelle brings me my new fur baby, who has just had her microchip slipped under her skin between her shoulders. All of Tabitha’s information ” even her current vaccinations ” can be scanned from the microchip and entered into a national Internet registry, Petlink, which helps return pets to their homes if they are lost or stolen.
As we slip Tabitha into her cardboard cat carrier, she gives me and Tim a hopeful, trusting look. And in that look I can see that somehow, with the beautiful optimism of a once-orphaned pet, Tabitha knows that she’s going to her forever home.
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