Why Adopting Was the Best Thing I've Ever Done

Growing up, my family had two cats and a dog. I loved all of our family pets, but my favorite had to be our obese, diabetic cat, Nick. Nick was incredible in so many ways. There was no cat lazier, cuddlier, fatter or sweeter. Every day after school Nick waited by the front door for me to walk in. He'd let me cuddle him and give him as many kisses as I saw fit. In the summer we'd have to shave him because of the heat and he'd be so embarrassed he'd hide behind our couch for days. Naturally, I'd sit with him for hours telling him he was nothing but a good boy. 

Nick passed away at the age of 18. He had a great life with my family and we loved him unconditionally (even when he struggled through his diets). He was a lover and my best friend. It broke my heart when he went: he was the first pet I'd ever lost. It completely shattered me when he was gone.

My parents didn't want any more cats after our two died. I never blamed them though: I was a kid, I'm sure I never helped enough with the cat litter or feeding. So, after Nick, I've been waiting to have another chance at loving a cat. Last week, I was finally able to do just that.

My best friend and I had been sending each other photos of cats from different animal rescue sites for weeks. About four days ago, we decided to get together and apply to adopt a new fuzzy friend. As we sat down and looked at the rescue websites, we saw the cats were comfortable at foster homes and for some reason, we frowned. 

"These cats, these cats can wait," I said. "We should go see the cats at the shelter, I mean, just to look. Make sure no one there needs a home more. Right?"

My friend agreed and we grabbed our coats and ran out the door. My boyfriend, Jordan, and I had agreed we needed a younger cat. It was the only way our dog Nala would welcome a newcomer to the family. We understand that the older cats are harder to adopt, but if we could, we'd adopt one in a second. The most important thing for these cats is to be comfortable and safe. We wanted to ensure that'd be the case in our family. So our only rule was that if we adopt, it has got to be young so it would get along with Nala.

My friend and I walked into the Anchorage shelter, not really knowing what to expect. I thought I'd see cages packed and sad animals in every corner. That wasn't what we saw at all. There were about seven cats and only two dogs up for adoption. The animals looked healthy and well cared for. There were multiple volunteers throughout the kennels as well. Among the cats was the smallest (and in my opinion cutest) Siamese kitten. As soon as we walked in she wouldn't stop meowing. When we got closer, she stuck her paw out of the cage. I gently touched the pads of her paw and she immediately grasped onto my finger. There was no debating it, I knew I'd found my new fur baby. 

The paper work was easy and the adoption went off without a hitch.

I sent a text to Jordan, "So... I'm getting a cat... I hope that's okay." His response was, "You know I'll love anything you bring home."

We scheduled her spay, agreed to not let her outside (it's illegal in the Anchorage Municipality to let your cat out on its own) and we were on our way.

Bringing our cat home was the most surreal thing. We set up the office as her safe room. If you bring a new pet home it's always a good idea to set up a room to be their space and let them explore that small area before introducing them to your entire house.

The kitten got used to us quick. She played with us, loved to cuddle and had her favorite mouse toy. When it was time to pick her name, after some debate, we decided Luna was the best fit. 

These past few days with Luna have been incredible.

She taught me how amazing pets from the shelter could be. Every day Luna shocks us with how perfect she is. She fits into our family better than we could've ever expected and it's only been five days! 

Luna gives us cuddles every morning and evening. She runs through her tunnel and rolls in our laps when she gets excited. She has melted my heart and made it her own and that's all I could've ever wanted. To top it all off, she's really getting along with Nala!

There are so many other animals out there that need your help.​ Whether you want a puppy, a kitten, an older dog or cat, or anything inbetween, don't be afraid to go to your shelter to see what's available there! If you have the room in your home, and in your heart, don't hesitate to make an addition to your family. We were worried that maybe we wouldn't have the space, or maybe we wouldn't have the time. But we realize now that we'll always have room for the things we love. Luna has completely captured our hearts, and there are so many other animals out there ready to capture yours! 

Don't be afraid of the term "shelter" or "pound". There are so many people out there who hate the pound because they euthanize animals so they decide they don't want to support those facilities. The reality is, shelters are run by people who love animals. No one there wants to put down these creatures, but the problem they face is lack of funding. When they run out of money, they have no other option. When you adopt from the shelter you pay for food, vaccinations and all other things these animals need.

The women at the shelter were so kind to us. They gave us recommendations for anything and everything that would help Luna acclimate to us. Instead of avoiding the shelter because they've been known to put animals down, go there often! Offer your time and volunteer, donate pet food or money if you can. Give them the benefit of the doubt. And when you're ready, think of going to the shelter to find the addition to your family you've been looking for. 

This isn't to say, don't adopt from rescue agencies. Please do! What I'm trying to say is, why not stop by the shelter just to see if they've got the kind of pet you're looking for first? There is nothing more fulfilling than rescuing an animal in need.

So if you're ready to open your heart to unconditional love (and your lips to never ending kisses) go out and adopt!