By Kristie Bulger
"As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the humankind." - Cleveland Amory
In October 2019 the shelter took in a sweet, 13 year old cat whose owner had died. No one in the owner's family wanted Choochi the cat. The staff is always heartbroken in situations like this, when a pet comes in after their owner dies. Unfortunately it happens more often than most people realize. The pet is usually older and is traumatized after the sudden changes in their lives. They’re scared because their world has been turned upside down. Being older means that they are usually not adopted quickly.
Shortly after Choo’s information was put on line, I received a note from a woman asking about the old cat. Amy wrote "Her story is heartbreaking. Our Golden Retriever passed away 3 months ago and we don't have any pets now. But I've never had a cat. Are they hard to take care of?” I answered all of Amy’s questions but wasn’t convinced a grieving golden retriever owner could turn into a cat person. I encouraged Amy to visit the shelter to meet Choo. My fingers were crossed but in all honesty I was skeptical. A couple of days later I was pleasantly surprised to receive a note from Amy to let me know that she had, indeed, adopted Choo. When a week went by, I received another note saying "Thank you! I love her so much! She's mainly been hiding under the bed lol but she's very loving!” At this point I went from “skeptical” to “hopeful”. It was sounding like the old cat was snuggling her way into Amy’s heart. Another couple of weeks went by before I received another note from Amy. I was over the moon as I read "I love Choochi. I never thought I could be a cat lady but this kitty is perfect!” It was official. Amy had become a real honest to goodness cat person!
When I think about shelter stories, Choochi is one of my favorites. Amy does regular update posts on our Friends page to let everyone know how Choo is doing. On Choo’s Gotcha Day (the day she was adopted), Amy pays the adoption fee for a shelter cat who has been there the longest or is the oldest. Sponsoring a cat helps her/him get adopted more quickly.
I sent Amy a note to say I was doing a story about Choo and asked her what she might want to say. This is what she sent me:
"You know most of our story already, about how I was grieving and I'm sure she was, too, after losing her previous owner and I wasn't even looking for a cat but knew I had to have this sweet kitty as soon as I saw her picture on the Facebook page. She's truly been a blessing. I work from home and she keeps me company all day. I talk to her and sing her songs (and my family thinks I'm crazy but they go along with it). She's an old kitty... she's 16 now!!! Most of her days are spent sleeping. She mostly sleeps in her bed, her kitty house, or on top of her cat tree that's right next to my desk (that way, she can keep an eye on me while I'm working - she's an excellent supervisor!). And when she thinks I've worked enough for the day, she'll hop up on my desk and sit in between my keyboard and monitor to block my view... she just sits there and looks at me like "it's time to be done now."
"Oh - and she snores! HA! She has the cutest little snore sometimes when she sleeps! I've bought her all kinds of (expensive) toys and the only thing she'll play with are the $2 catnip scented mice from Walmart and yarn. Oh - and a banana! We bought her a kitty banana with catnip scent and she carries it around like a lost teddy bear. She's adorable. Despite being a retired old lady, she still has "zoomies." She'll randomly take off running through the house and act all crazy. She wakes me up every morning by making "biscuits" on my stomach (she's a very busy baker haha), and she absolutely loves belly rubs. She "plops" down in front of us quite often and stretches out begging for us to rub her belly.
"Mostly, though, I want people to know how loving and full of life senior cats are. Most people want to adopt kittens. And I get it, kittens are cute and have a full life ahead of them. But senior kitties have so much love left to give. All they ask for is a warm place to sleep and some head and chin scratches, and in return they'll make an excellent companion and give you all of their love.”
I hope people take away two thoughts from my story about Choo. First, listen to what Amy said. Please, consider adopting a senior cat. You will never regret it. They have so much love and gratitude to give. Second, please try to have a plan in place for your pets, in case something happens to you. It’s not a pleasant thing to think or talk about but your pets depend on you. If possible, ask a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a co-worker. Just see if you can arrange a safe place for your pet to go if you’re not around.
Here’s a link to our FB page "Friends of Newaygo County Shelter” where you can see all our available animals:
The adoption fee for dogs is $90.
This fee includes spay/neuter, deworming, heartworm test, rabies & DHLPP shots, flea & tick treatment and license.
The adoption fee for cats is $65
This fee includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, feline distemper combo vaccine, FIV/FELV testing, deworming and flea/tick treatment.
Newaygo County Animal Shelter
78 N. Webster
White Cloud, MI 49349
Monday - Friday 11-1
Appointments welcome and available upon request
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman