Over the last couple of weeks I have been visiting local pet stores checking out some of the rescue cats from the Ottawa Humane Society.
When I ask myself “Why now?”, I think the answer comes from a unique place, with an open heart and an open mind. While I would not say I have been “guilted” into the idea of getting a pet, whenever I see the media spotlight cast on unfortunate cases where animals were not given the necessities of life, or about how many strays reside in shelters, I think to myself that my home would be a fantastic “fur-ever” home to a rescue cat.
Throughout the years, while observing my animal-lover friends and their interactions with their pets, I noticed that the pets are a constant reminder to live in the moment. We all work so hard at what we do and sometimes needlessly carry the weight of the world on our shoulders to make it happen even after the clock strikes 5:00. Pets can bring us back to earth and help us to quickly cross over from work day to home life. There is nothing like having a pet running to the front door for an enthusiastic welcome home greeting to make you forget about the workplace.
Much like anything in life, I take the prospect very seriously and have been thinking about it… a lot… as I want to be absolutely sure that a pet would be happy here and thriving. So along with the pet store visits went a lot of research into articles on the web and chats with my cat owner friends. My poor friends and partner… they must have gotten sick of me turning every conversation into a chat about cat care.
I suppose it is natural for a planner, a list keeper and someone with a big heart to make this decision thoughtfully, but there is a point at which becoming a new daddy to a cat becomes overplanned parenthood. But I am so lucky to be surrounded by such great friends, with the wisdom and experience to impart and to help make this a happy home for both, cat and human.
In retrospect, I think there can be a natural order to the things we choose to do in life. As much as I enjoyed the company of cats my entire life (as a guest), I probably would not have been as well prepared to host a home for a cat earlier in life as I am now, nor would I have had the self-awareness to fully appreciate what we could offer each other.
In my research, I pored over so many online cat profiles, there came a point where I was wondering if I was looking for a cat or a date. Yet throughout my research through cat care resources I often stumbled upon the phrase, “you don’t pick a cat, the cat picks you”. Visits to the pet stores (the temporary homes of rescue cats on behalf of the Ottawa Humane Society) seemed to support that perspective as some cats were considerably easy to bond with while others seemed quite disinterested in me. It is at times like this that one cannot get too caught up in wanting everyone to like him/her, if a cat does not bond with you, you don’t take it personally and move on.
Even though that is often the modus operandi of cats, I certainly don’t want to walk away from the experience with a 20 year commitment to a cat that hates me, so the hunt for the right cat continued.
As I persistently perused the profiles for pussy-cats and dropped by several stores to check out the prospects, there were a few cats that I started to refer to as the front runners who seemed to bond well with me. But with such different personality traits, how does one choose?
I am very grateful to have found Pamela Merritt’s “Way of Cats” blog and the post about “Cat Types”.
I would be the first to say that it is sometimes dangerous to generalize and categorize, but still, we do it all the time in the form of things like Myers-Briggs testing, managerial simulation exercises, Cosmopolitan-style quizzes, etc. Pamela’s article categorizes cats as Alpha, Beta and Gamma types, describing the general tendencies of a cat of each type, how they interact with humans, with other pets and with their environment.
For a novice like me, this was a valuable resource to understand how I intuitively gravitated to a few cats as opposed to others, and gain better insight into what I was looking for and why. As much as an alpha would be endless fun to have around, a more laid back beta or a confident gamma might be a better match for me.
Pamela’s article helped me validate the choices I was making intuitively and helped steer me in the right direction.
Meet Ivy, my new roommate. In her spare time, she loves to chase feathers on a stick, get on her perch and stare into the woods, and stand guard at the door of my writing room while I work on my creations. As head proof-reader for the blog, I am certain she will ensure my blogs are purr-fect.
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Have a great day,