A Very Special Day

December 19th, 2018, was a very special day for me. I got in my car, and drove an hour and a half away from home to get something I’ve wanted for a very long time. Something that will hold a special place in my heart forever. Something that will help me when I’m sad, stressed, and lonely. Any guesses? No, it’s not a boyfriend, and no, it’s not food.

 

A couple of months before this special day, my roommates and I signed a lease on a house for the following year. In the first semester of college, I'm sure every college student has felt sad, stressed, and lonely. At least this is how my roommates and I felt. We wanted to try and help these feelings, so we sought emotional support. This wasn’t just any emotional support; it was the best that you can get... from a furry friend.

 

We traveled to the Winona Area Humane Society often that semester, sat in the middle of the room filled with a bunch of cats, and all of our bad feelings vanished. I knew I wanted to adopt a cat for our house the next year, so in addition to this stress-free environment, I was able to get an idea of the type of cat I wanted in the future. We played with skinny ones, fat ones, gray ones, and black ones (this is starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss book). I knew I wanted a cat that chose me; that was #1 on my checklist for finding a cat.

 

I walked up to one of the caged-in areas where the cats were kept. Two came up to the gate and meowed at me for attention: one pretty tabby, and one black and white fatty. I opened the door and walked into the room, sat down, and that same fat black and white cat ran to me and made a bed in my lap. He kneaded my legs and purred as I scratched him below the chin. I visited him two more times that semester because I loved the attention he gave me.

Over finals week, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I knew that he chose me and I couldn’t get that out of my head. So, when I got home for break, I made a phone call. On December 19th, 2019, my special something was the black and white fat cat that I named Gus. When he first got to my house, he was terrified. It is normal for anyone who was just taken out of their habitat and shipped almost two hours away in a cage with random people, but he managed to get comfortable very fast.

The one thing that worried me about him living in my parent's house was that we had another cat, Alaska, who likes to start fights with the neighbor cats. I looked up methods on introducing cats because they are very territorial. I started by putting Gus and everything he needed in my room without Alaska seeing. After about a day, I switched them. Gus explored the rest of the house and Alaska discovered this new scent in my room. Alaska was on high alert; he knew right away another cat was in his home. Without seeing each other, I did this a couple of times for about two days. Then, I let them smell each other and get a glance by cracking the door just enough that they can’t get their paw through. Alaska hissed, then Gus became more curious. After seeing each other, I lead them into a room together with a laser and cat toys to keep them occupied. They honestly didn’t even notice each other, so my research did help.

Now, they play-fight, cuddle, and eat the same food. So far Gus is doing great! I miss him a lot while I am away at college, but I know in a few short months he’ll be living with me in Winona. His personality has shown after coming home from a shelter. He likes to pick toys up with his mouth and carry them around the house; he’ll sleep with me at night while trying to bite my toes under the covers; and he really enjoys listening to himself talk. I am so happy that he chose me and I am beyond excited to see where the world takes us together.