Retired show cats for adoption
By ©Darlene Arden
For two solid years my friend Ray Russo, a veterinarian, had been urging me to get a cat for my mother. My beloved Yorkshire Terrier had died a few years earlier, two months to the day before his 17th birthday, leaving us petless and bereft. We missed the little guy who filled out home and hearts with so much love and happiness. I knew I couldn't take on another dog at the time. Aside from the fact that I'm not the kind of person who can rush out and fill the void with another little companion, my lifestyle is such that I wouldn't have enough time for the training involved. It was just the two of us rattling around in a 7-room house. Ray felt that a cat would be good for both of us and much easier for me than a dog since there is less training involved.
A cat. My mother talked endlessly of Susie, the cat she had when she was a little girl. She adored the orange and white tabby. But there was a good reason we hadn't brought a cat into the house. Something unfortunate, and not of my mother's doing, happened and then one day Susie wandered off, never to be seen again. My mother simply couldn't bear to lose her heart to another cat and so she would never have one in her home.
Last fall, my arms aching to cuddle a loving little companion, and realizing that Ray was right, it would be good for my mother who would certainly enjoy the companionship, I decided to get a cat. I thought briefly about a shelter cat but realized that I wanted something more predictable. I also thought about a kitten but let that thought slip past rather quickly. As busy as I am, I knew I didn't have time to supervise an active kitten. And the activity level of a kitten would be a bit much for my mother. The cat would, essentially, be hers although I would be the one to feed it and clean the litterbox.Grand Premier
Sinaye's Plaisir D'Amour of Ajolie
Photo: ©Helmi Flick
I mentioned my plan to my friend, Susan Conant, best known for having created the genre of Dog Lover's Mysteries. Susan had attended the Cat Writers' Association's meeting in St. Louis and met the cat of her dreams at the International Cat Show, a Chartreux who didn't enjoy being shown. The breeder decided that despite her obvious quality, Pickles would be happier as a pet so she spayed her and sent her off to live with Susan. Susan carried home a photo of the cat who was to arrive later, and could talk of little else on the flight back to Boston. She later acquired a kitten from the same breeder. Little did I know that Susan would be the catalyst for my acquisition of a cat.
As soon as I told Susan, in passing, of my intention to acquire a cat she told me that if I hurried, I might be able to get one of the Chartreux being placed by her breeder, Dru Milligan. Dru is not only a reputable breeder but co-founder of the Orion Foundation, dedicated to finding a cure for FIP, as well as providing whatever information is available on the disease. She was far too young to be so stricken but Dru had an undiagnosed case of diabetes that led to a stroke and her doctors advised that she stop breeding cats and concentrate on her recovery. She knew that she would have to cut down on the number of cats that she had and was seeking exceptional homes for those that would be placed. Susan gave me Dru's e-mail address and then, unbeknownst to me, she told Dru that I would provide an excellent home for one of her cats.
Dru and I exchanged e-mails and then Dru gave me her telephone number. I called, more than once, and we talked about my home situation and which of her available cats would be best, especially for my mother. The added benefit of getting a purebred older cat from a reputable breeder is that not only is the cat going to be predictable in its type and characteristics but a good breeder knows her (or his) cats. The breeder knows which cat will benefit from being the only cat in a household, or one of only two, where the cat's personality can blossom. The breeder also knows their cat's characteristics well enough to match the cat to the potential owner with the greatest amount of accuracy in creating a really good pairing.
"If you are looking for a pedigreed cat, you are really missing a wonderful opportunity if you don't consider adopting an older cat. The breeder can tell you the personality of cat that you will be getting, " says Dru. And while a kitten's behavior can change, an adult's behavior is a known quantity. What you see is what you'll get.
Susan was blatantly rooting for Stormy, littermate to her Shadow Celeste. Stormy was definitely in contention, as was a slightly older male kitten. But I thought twice about that kitten. I really didn't need a little one, no matter how cute, climbing the drapes and swinging from the dining room chandelier. Kittens grow up fast, and "cute" can become exhausting.