People often ask if I have a favorite breed. Honestly, I don’t. My first dog was a miniature poodle named Perot. He came with papers and a sweet personality. My family and I did not care a bit about those papers. An aunt of mine gave us Perot, after she decided she no longer wanted him.
I was a kid at the time, and my mom took him in. He was smart, and I adored him. Poodles are great with children, and Perot was my best buddy. He watched over my brother and me. When he passed, I was heartbroken. I was 12 at the time. Perot died too young. Someone put poison in the park across the street from where I lived. A dozen dogs died from eating it. It was a tragedy that made the local news.
About six months later, someone gave my mom a mixed breed that was on his way to the pound. Mr. Chips was a beagle, German shepherd, and collie mix. He, too, was protective of my brother and me. He got along with everyone and eventually got used to the first cat I brought home.
Magic, a chocolate point Siamese kitten, wandered into my copy editing class at college. Fortunately, I had a great professor who let me find a box for Magic so I could take her to the vet. I had her checked out before I introduced her to Mr. Chips.
Magic was beautiful, very talkative, and adored my brother. The two of them were inseparable. She even brought him a mouse one night. I remember hearing a loud, “yeowwww” in the middle of the night coming from the next room.
Found Cats at Work
After college, when I got my first job working as a reporter for a small community newspaper in southern Louisiana, I met Belle and Gigs. A gray and tan tabby cat decided to have a litter of four kittens under our production table.
The first kitten to stumble out was Gigs, an all black cat. I fell in love, and then his sister Belle, a beautiful grey, tan, white, and black kitty appeared. She stayed by my side for 21 years. Gigs was loved by everyone because he was so friendly and sweet. He was 16 when he died. The other two cats and the momma all got good homes.
Over the years, I found homes for a number of strays. Our current cat, Mr. Earl Gray, arrived on our front porch the week after Belle died. I was going to get another cat, but not then. I needed time to get over the loss. A week to the day Belle died, we came home from a wedding and Earl was waiting for us on our front porch. His leg was badly broken. We opened the front door, and in true cat fashion Earl hobbled in like he owned the place.
I’m sharing details about my dogs and cats because I’m always saying “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” While I tell everyone to please get their pets from local shelters or rescue groups, I did’t even get that far. All of my fur friends found me.
Alley Cat Allies
I’ve recently been corresponding with Elizabeth Parowski, Communications Manager, at Alley Cat Allies, an advocacy group for cats and cat lovers. Elizabeth told me that I’m not alone in having my cats find me.
Alley Cat Allies’ research shows:
43% of people get their cats from a friend or family member
34% are adopted strays
16% of cats come from a shelter
“Kind of goes to show that there is a whole community caring for cats under the radar,” she says.
I also learned that one in three U.S. households has at least one pet cat. That adds up to roughly 82 million pet cats living in people’s homes throughout the country. Unfortunately, pet cats only make up part of the total U.S. cat population. According to research from Alley Cat Allies, “scientists estimate that the size of the stray and feral cat population rivals that of the pet cat population.”
If you are looking to bring a dog or cat into your life, please Adopt, Don’t Shop. And please share with us: Where did you get your cat or dog or other pet?
Up Coming Contest to Feed Shelter Cats and Dogs
On Tuesday, I posted a story about Iams Home 4 the Holidays program. Iams has teamed up with Helen Woodward Animal Center and 3,500 animal organizations worldwide to help orphaned dogs and cats find homes and to provide 5 million bowls of food through their Bags 4 Bowls program.
Bags 4 Bowls
Pet News and Views is participating in the Bags 4 Bowls program starting October 19. So if you adopted a cat or dog from a shelter or rescue group, please leave a comment in the October 19 post. For every comment posted (only one per person), Iams will donate 25 bowls of food to a shelter in need. The contest will run through October 25, so if you miss the post on October 19, you still have a few days to leave a comment. Please check back here on October 19, and leave a comment. Shelter cats and dogs and I will be truly grateful.