Way back in the early stages of PRAH, we decided we wanted a cat. The practice was just getting up and running, and we had all previously worked at practices that had house cats, and felt like it was only fitting for our new practice to have a cat of it’s very own.
With Harley’s Haven and adoption being such a huge part of our lives, we felt that adopting was the only way to go. We discussed it and decided that a young, male cat was the best choice. Someone who could be a mouser for the hospital, and was most likely to be friendly with all people and could be ok with dogs too! Off to the SPCA I went, with our short list of criteria to see what I could find that could be a great fit for our hospital.
For those of you who know PRAH, you know that we did not adopt a young male cat, lol. Instead, I came back bearing two very old, cranky female cats instead. But let me tell you why.
Once I got to the shelter and started chatting with one of the volunteers, they took me into the cat room and started showing me the cats who were available for adoption. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), they did not have any young male cats…so I started asking about some of the other cats in the group living. One cat immediately stood out to me – she was a beautiful all white girl, who was sassy and in your face from the moment you met her. Her shelter name was Angie, and she was full of sauce. She sauntered right up to me and demanded I pet her. I started asking for more info about her, and they explained that she had been there for a few months after her owner had died, and the family didn’t want her. She was at least 11 years old, and had terrible teeth requiring a dental cleaning, and was suspected to have thyroid disease going on due to her voracious appetite and weight loss. As she threaded herself around my ankles, I couldn’t help but be drawn to her sad story – this poor little old lady has lost her family and her home in one fell swoop, and though she was not at all what we were looking for, I felt like she was the right cat for us.
Now here comes the catch – as I started to show more interest in her, the volunteer also offered up this tiny tidbit of information – Angie wasn’t surrendered alone, she has a sister. An equally elderly, and much less friendly sister, named Charlene. Well, crap. There was no way I was going to leave her sister behind, ‘Can I meet her too?’ We moved to a different room so I could meet her, and there she was huddled in the back of her box, looking terrified. She let me pet her, but I could tell this was no place for this sad, terrified old lady. ‘Alright, I’ll take them both,’ I said to the volunteer, and off we went to fill out the paperwork.
I’m not going to lie…there is a moment of panic that you feel after making a decision that oversees the lives of living creatures. Heading back to the practice with these two old, sickly girls, who both definitely needed medical attention – I had a feeling of regret, that was intensified when I had to tell Jen that instead of a young, healthy male cat, I had instead adopted two old, sickly female cats. However, as soon as everyone met them, we knew it was the right choice.
In the fall of 2014, at the time of their adoption, we estimated their ages to be around 11-12 years old. Over the next few years we did a few dentals, and countless blood panels on them. They both struggled with health concerns from heart disease, to kidney disease, to thyroid disease, to irritable bowel disease, and ultimately cancer. We renamed them Betty White and Estelle Getty, as I felt these two old badasses deserved equally badass names for their fresh start.
Estelle was always shy, and preferred to hide in her loft to coming out in public. She did warm up to those who got to know her, and was a sweet and cuddly girl. We lost her in early 2018, when her suspected IBD/cancer just could not be controlled any more.
Betty White was a FORCE to be reckoned with. She had such a presence to her, and always impressed me with her zero Fs given attitude. She was terrible with dogs, and was saucy and rude with other cats. BUT – she was amazing. She loved people, and would seek them out to sit with them in the waiting room, or to torment their dogs from just far enough away. She loved to sit at the front desk, preferably directly in the way, so she could elicit pets from her minions while snoozing away the afternoon. She was with us until August of last year, when her heart disease, thyroid disease, and other chronic changes caught up with her, and we just couldn’t justify putting her through any more. She was approximately 17 years old, and was a badass to the very end.
I still miss this damn cat, and I am not a cat person (sorry cat people, dogs are more my jam!). But she was something special, and definitely left a hole at our practice that I have been unwilling to fill thus far, maybe one day. So as a wonderful remembrance of these two little old ladies, on this world kindness day – consider adopting. There are so many wonderful cats and dogs in shelters out there, just waiting for you…what are you waiting for? Happy Sunday 😊