Monday, July 23, 2012

A Cat Adoption Story, Pay it forward, but protect your heart

One of the goals I had aspired to in the past year was, instead of just blogging about pet adoption events,  I had decided that it was important for me to be an active participant. I didn't want to just "Blog the Change" I wanted to help "Be the Change."

As many of you know, June was "Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat-Month" and I had decided to attend a local adoption event that previously I had only blogged about, but  had never experienced.

It was a gloriously sunny day, and as I motored along picturesque tree and lake-lined roads, I thought about the many kitties I was yet to meet.

The first cats I met were residents of Kitty City II. They romped and played freely in their cage-free, toy and comfy chair-filled environment.

Arm-chair kitty

Interior of Kitty City II-White Lake Michigan
comfy kitty at Kitty City II
7-toed kitty at Kitty City II

Then I strolled over to the large vacant storefront that was located next door, where cats from the Oakland Pet Adoption Center and Elizabeth Lake Animal Rescue were housed.

My heart fell to my toes. There were cages upon cages of cats. Every color, every age, every size, every breed.  Each with a story. Each filled with hope. Each wanting to give love.

I made my way around the room, cooing, ooo-ing, ahhhh-ing, petting pink noses, touching velvety soft paws. Then I stopped. For some unknown reason I turned my head and saw HIM. Our eyes locked. His handsomeness could not be denied. SOMETHING HAD DRAWN ME TO THIS CAT.

Precious "Tigre"

I approached his cage and instantly was smitten. He flirted, he posed, he had a regal sense of calm and the look of a tiny bobcat in his beige-mocha tinged face. His name was Tigre. (Nope, not a typo, that was his name!)

I held him, kissed him. I had fallen in love. My heart broke with the realization that I couldn't adopt him. I am only permitted to  have two pets in the condo where I live, and, the vet had advised, that with the special dynamic that exists between Cody and Dakota,  bringing a third pet into the mix could completely destroy the magic that currently exists between them.

Tigre and I

Tigre and I "Cat Chatting"

Simply Smitten

"I want to take you home with me"
My friend, Linda Wasche with Tigre

I cried. This cat  had claimed my heart and I could see that I had claimed his. He had literally been dumped in the street, WITH his collar. When his owner was called, he denied that the cat was HIS.

I couldn't bear to leave.

A woman and her adult daughter approached the cage just as I was readying myself to try and walk away.

I had begun a conversation with them and they told me about current and past cats that they had and how they were considering adopting another to be a kitty companion to a cat already living with the adult daughter.

I  looked at them and said,  "Please adopt this cat" I explained that I could feel that he was special. They played with him, held him and were immediately drawn into his feline spell.

Tigre, about to leave his cage forever

 The stories I heard had dispelled any fears that I may have had of their being appropriate adoptive "parents."

The adult daughter said:

"I can't afford him today. I have to wait until I am paid"

Afraid that the luxury of waiting did not exist, I said,  "If you adopt him, I will BUY him for you."

As they should have, they looked at me as if I was completely crazy. Who was this strange woman saying she would BUY the cat for them?

The adult daughter said:

"YOU will BUY him for me?"

ME: "Yes"

The adult daughter said: "Ok"

My heart flew, my feet danced as we made our way to the table to fill out the paperwork.  I paid the adoption fee feeling as if this was one of the most wonderful days of my life. I hoped I had saved a life. I couldn't save them all, but I felt as if I at least had  saved one.

"Tigre" Gets an "I'm Adopted!" Sign

My only request of the adult daughter was after having heard that she was on Facebook, that maybe, just maybe could she occasionally send me a photo or two? An update? Something about this magical cat to let me know that he was thriving in his new home and receiving the love that I wish I could give to the millions of homeless cats throughout the world, but can't?

Adult Daughter: "Oh yes!!! I will send you photos, I will update you!"


That week.

Nothing more.

The only photo I received

I even checked photos on her Facebook page to see if there were any of Tigre, any updates. Not much. Maybe two photos and a comment about how her cat was adjusting to his living in their home.

On July 10th I left a light and airy comment asking her how he was doing.

I have heard nothing.

I have emotions that I am still wrestling with.

Should I have been the one to adopt  him?
Maybe. But logistically it was not in his or my best interest for the reason stated above and the honest fact that with my still being out of work, and my husband having retired, we simply could not afford another pet. Plain and simple. If we couldn't afford to adequately provide for a third, the answer was NO. I wanted to be a part of the SOLUTION, not be a contributor to the PROBLEM.

Did I make it possible for the wrong person to adopt him?
I don't know. What kills me is I may never know.

Is he  still living with her?
Same answer as above.

Do I have the right to know?
Initially I believed that YES, I do have a right to know. But after speaking with my dear friend Kim, of the wonderful blog, CindyLu's Muse and "Be The Change For Animals" who has fostered a HUGE number of pets, the answer is yes I have a right to know, but NO, I should never have expected that I would be updated. In a perfect world where you do the right thing and perform a kindness for another the answer would be, YES. In real life, when you do a kindness, you should NEVER expect anything in return.

Would I do it again?
YES. It warmed my heart  and satisfied my soul to have given this most incredible gift. It is always the right thing to "pay it forward" and I would gladly do it again.

When I do, I will do my best to keep my expectations in check and I will  PROTECT MY HEART. 

The boy who stole my heart,
"be a good boy in your new home"

"I wish you love, safety and security
for all of your nine lives"


  1. I think for humans that often life is one big question mark, and it is how they deal with it that makes the difference in their lives. You can't save every kitty, but you did give this one the chance at a new life, and maybe that is the most important thing.

  2. I'm glad you attended an adoption event, it can be both joyful and heartbreaking. I always want to take them all home. I try to make time to visit the cat rooms at our humane society and spend time with the kitties whenever I'm there.

    Tigre is adorable. I can understand how that sweet face captured your heart. Thank you for giving him a second chance.

  3. By the way, the polydactyl is beautiful. They are quite desirable and usually get adopted quickly.
    A lady surrendered a polydactyl kitten at one of our last spay/neuter events, it had extra toes on all four paws. Cute little thing had a home almost as soon as it went up for adoption.

  4. We hope Tigre is living the best possible life and the family is spending all their free time playing with him and simply don't have time to update their facebook with his pictures. :)

  5. Oh Caren!! You did a great thing - a wonderful thing and gave Tigre a chance!! Bless your sweet heart and kind soul.

    I hope the person with Tigre will reply soon. It doesn't take a lot of time to send a pic - these days we have the technology! Of course you want to know how Tigre is doing. I hope she understands that.

    Take care

  6. Lovely post. Happy Monday to you all.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. I think you've hit on the reality of rescue.... there's too many decisions made by emotions and not enough made using rational thinking. Sorry, I'm not just picking on you. I'm guilty as well. But really, with statistics showing that 20% of animals adopted from shelters being returned, there's got to be something to it.

  8. Caren, your story made me teary. I totally understand where you are coming from. Praying Tigre has a good life in his new home:)

    We are taking a break from blogging and doing some fun summer stuff.

  9. What a beautiful story. You did a wonderful thing, Caren.

    When we make a connection like this, it's hard to walk away, but you did what was right for Cody and Dakota and in turn gave Tigre a chance at a happy life. Even if you never hear from Tigre's new family, I have to believe that you did the right thing.

    There's probably a perfectly logical explanation why you haven't heard from them. Not everyone spends every day on Facebook :-)

  10. First of all Caren, you are an ANGEL! I think I would have done the same BUT (and I still think I would have done the same in spite of the BUT) - one thing I have learned in life is that people don't really appreciate what comes for free but seem to value much more what they have to pay for). But I so feel for you Caren - just a "little" more would have been courteous after your kind gesture. But no... one should never expect to get anything in return for a kindness - it should be freely given. Otherwise it's bound to hurt (and still one is allowed to puff once in a while - people can be such crap weasels!).
    Hugs to you dear friend,
    from Joan

  11. Caren, whatever happens, you acted solely out of kindness and love and you did give this cat a chance. No, you'll probably never know if the humans are good pet caretakers, but it's that way with any adoption. At least here--no one does much screening of humans adopting cats, that I'm aware of. There are so many, everyone just wants as many in homes as possible, without much thought to the kind of home.

    I surely hope he'll be loved and well-cared for all his days.

    Everyone's right, though. You can't expect anything in return when you make a gesture like this, because so many humans are s**t-heads, IMO.


  12. My heart ached when I read this story. I kinda avoid adoption centers and pet stores for this very reason--I hate seeing all the animals in cages--I want to adopt them all. Then I get upset thinking about their fate for days--it really takes a toll on me. We have 10 pets, 5 of which are rescue pets we adopted in the past 2 years. I really need to stop because it does get expensive.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the woman who adopted the cat--I know it kills you not knowing how they are doing, but she is probably just bay now with her day to day life, and maybe feels it isn't important to update you on his progress because she doesn't understand how deeply you felt about this cat. Unfortunately, I think you are going to just have to let this one go and have faith that you did the right thing and found a good home for him! And it was incredibly kind of you to buy him for her!

  13. Always trust your heart Caren and good things will happen.

  14. What a beautiful cat! He reminded me of our own Tiger, who passed away a couple of years ago. He was one of the most gentle and sweethearted kitties ever, and I still miss him.

    I know that it is difficult to let go here. After all, you formed an instant attachment, and you want to make sure your sweetie is well cared for. But Tigre belongs to his new person, and she may not be as much of a giver as you are. All you can do is hope for the best. You did a good deed, and that karma will return to you in some way, hopefully soon!

  15. @TMW I am so sorry about the loss of your Tiger (((hugs))) I know, you are right! I think it is because when I adopted Cody 5 yrs ago, to this day, I send his foster Mom a photo of him on his birthday and gotcha day every year!! This is why I could never be a foster Mom...I get way too attached too fast!

    @Brian, the BEST advice ever (((hugs)))

    @menopausal mama first, it is so nice to see you here! thanks for stopping by! You are right about "having to let this one go"...everyone is different and I can't expect people to do what I would do. OMG you have 10 pets? God love you!! If I had the space I would be like you and so many others. I can so relate when you said "you get upset for days thinking about their fate" that is EXACTLY what happened.

    @Fuzzy Tales I was reading through your comment and agreeing with you and found it to be incredibly touching...then I got to "because so many humans are s**t-heads" LOVED IT and LOVE YOU!

    @Joan...OMG SPEAKING OF AWFUL PEOPLE!! Have I not emailed you yet to Thank YOU!???? OMG!!!! I MUST EMAIL YOU!!! are completely right!

    @Ingrid King you are so right! I had to laugh at the "not everybody spends every day on Facebook"....they don't? KIDDING!!! xoxoxo

    @Diane just left you a comment on your blog. I hope you have the BEST summer!!!!!!!!!!

    @rumpydog super good point and thank you for pointing that out to me. The next event I visit, I won't be such a wuss lol

    @Molly thank you. Happy Monday to you too!

    @Old Kitty, see? You and I think more alike...for your sake, that might NOT be a good thing! xoxoxo

    @the furries, I like that thought!

    @SquirrelQueen THANK YOU!! I never knew that about the polydactyl kitties!!!

    @Sparkle thank you for pointing that out. I couldn't agree more!

  16. Caren, you just have to have faith that Tigre is doing al right. We think you did the right thing. And we totally agree with what Brian says. You were doing what you thought was right for Tigre. Maybe you will hear something soon. Take care.

  17. I sure hope Tigre is doing very well and his family will update his story soon. What you did is wonderful. Even though you could not take him home with you, you gave him a home!!

  18. You have such a beautiful heart. Tigre knows that you helped him, he knows that you loved him and at least for a few precious minutes he felt your love and returned it. I pray that Tigre is doing well and is happy in his new home.


  19. Caren you did the best you can that's all you can do maybe you will get a surprise update in the future time will tell but don't dwell to much it will come good,Speedy's mum

  20. @speedy you are one wise bunny!

    @Tami so great to see you here. Thank you! I hope that he is having a good life as well.

    @Tamago, when I win the lottery I am going to do it for as many kitties as I can!

    @Marg you are right and I thank you as well. I don't know how you and Brian do it, fostering all of those kitties. I can't handle it

  21. What a wonderful thing you did for that wonderful boy. Tigre looks very handsome and lovely. I think he's probably fine in his new home. In the one picture you do have, he looks happy and content. I think he probably is. And do you know what? In my experience, I have found that peeps tend to let things go and then it's all the harder to get back on track. Tigre's new peep might be feeling a little embarrassed 'cause she didn't send more pictures early on and now just doesn't know how to break the ice again. Peeps are like that, you know. You should ask Cody. He'll tell you all about 'em... from a cat's perspective, like mine. purrs

  22. Caren you moved me greatly. I felt your emotion over Tigre! It could be that the woman's just not a facebook junkie. If you sent her a private message, she might not have seen it, fb don't always make it clear! Please try not to worry! xox

  23. Caren
    Was incredibly touched by your generous gesture. You gave Tigre a real chance...and we have to believe he is doing well in his new home. I hope that in time his new caregiver will let you know how he is.


  24. @Nerissa, I like how you think. You are quite a wise cat, but then again, I already knew that :)

    @Abby thank you! It felt good, if he is happy (which you are right, I have to believe that he is) then it is all good!

    @CATachresis, thanks so much. I really have been upset by it (not with her so much but with wondering how he is). I actually posted a comment on her page asking how he was doing. I even checked for more photos because I thought that if she didn't send them to me, possibly she posted some for others to see, but nope. I will take your advice and try not to worry xoxoxo Thanks so much!

  25. You did a wonderful thing--you gave this sweet boy a chance! You know, I think there are plenty of people who give good homes to pets who are less focused on them and who wouldn't dream of taking pictures or writing about them. My best friend int he world has had lots and lots of kitties who were all VERY well cared for, well-fed, given good vet care, but she was not as interested in them as I am. But they had a very good home. That may well be the case with these folks--I think they should've kept more in touch since you did them a kindness, but just because they haven't kept up their end of the communication does NOT mean the kitty is not doing well. You did the best you could and that just has to be enough. XOXOXOXO

  26. @Spitty, you made an excellent point! I think because we blog, we often think that cat lovers (and dog lovers) are as "focused" on their pets as we are. I keep forgetting that not everyone is as obsessed as all of us and I THANK YOU for pointing that out! xoxoxoxo

  27. What a great story :) We also think you did the right thing. You gave this kitty a chance. The new owner may not be obsessed with the kitty as we cat bloggers tend to be, but we like to believe he gets regular meals, scritches and a warm cozy home.
    We also think you made a difference and that is a good thing!!!

    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Tiger,Treasure,JJ and Julie

  28. Dearest Caren,
    We was going to says the same thing as Spitty. My Mommy's sister loves her pets to pieces, but she never includes pictures of them when she emails us. She considers them a valued part of their family and cannot imagine a life without her cats, but don't dare call her my aunt or her cats and dogs her kids. She has even totally refurbished the kitten house for a local no-kill shelter.
    Different people thinks about pets in different ways.
    Yous Caren, ROCKS!

  29. @Tillie and Georgia yep Spitty and your comment about the new owner not being as "obsessed" as we tend to be was definitely a "light bulb" moment and I am going to keep that in mind. Thanks so much for your support! ((((hugs)))

  30. @Nellie Awww THANK YOU! You KNOW that YOU "rock" too!
    Yep, I know a lot of people that if you dare call them "Mom" "Dad" "Aunt" or "Uncle" watch out! lol xoxoxo

  31. I think when you do anything with only the best love and kindness in your heart it can only bring good things. You did a lovely thing from the kindest heart. Whatever happened is the best thing that could have come from a difficult situation.

    Big hugs to you!!!

  32. Oh, sweet Caren my heart ached for you and for Tigre as I read this wonderful but bitter sweet story. What a loving and wonderful thing you did. If you felt in your heart it was right that sweetie went home with that girl then you did the right thing. Bless you dear friend for doing that wonderful act of love and kindness. Hugs!

  33. Hiya Miss Caren. Well, Mom and Dad would have done the same thing, and expected the human to follow through on her promises. But, once something is given with love from your heart, no return should be expected and if something does come back...then it multiplies the original joy in the giving. You gave and had joy and most likely gave that cat a chance. I also know that my former shelter continues to have cats returned, one just recently after the woman had him for a hear and a half!! Mom and all the volunteers wanted to put that woman in a stockade!! But, if they are returned, at least they are alive. Your TIgre is gonna be OK...your love is what matters to us cats...purrrrsssss

  34. I can relate to your situation because I helped adopt out a few dogs and expected updates constantly but I only got a few as well. I wondered if I made the wrong choice in the families I place these dogs in and I wrestled with the guilt. I also wrestled with the thought, "why didn't I adopt him/her myself?", but at the time I did not have a landlord who allowed dogs but knowing that I was persuasive in getting my landlord to allow my cats, I thought I made a selfish choice to give these dogs to someone else when I knew the dogs felt a bond w/me already. In the end, I know that the dogs are/were in a better home with a families who had time for them and that gives me comfort.
    You did a very nice thing to buy the cat for this child but unfortunately not everyone adheres to the high level of honesty/kindness as you showed her. She probably got caught up in her own life and selfishly forgot about you. I hope that kitty is still with her! The other important thing is that that kitty got out of the shelter, something that may not have happened as quickly! Good for you for doing a good deed!

  35. OMG Caren, my heart is breaking for you... Tigre looks so much like my beloved Eugene who also "claimed" me when I met him at the Humane Society so I know exactly how you feel.

    Thanks for coming by my blog and please update us on Tigre if you hear anything else!

    Sarah :)

  36. @Sarah THANK YOU so much ((((hugs)))) Eugene must be a total cutie! so glad that he found you! You are welcome and thank you for visiting mine as well and if I hear anything I will definitely post about it!

    @Teacher's Pets you summed up my emotions, thoughts, feelings, perfectly in your comment. Absolutely perfect. The most important thing was getting the cat out of the shelter. I hope :( Also...I am still waiting for your address!!! You won a Kitty Casso! If I don't hear from you soon I will have to award it to someonen else, you are the last address I am waiting for. Email me at cgittleman at mi dot rr dot com

    @Savannah you are right and thank you!

    @chancy ((((hugs))))) back and thank you!!!!

    @Meg ((((thank you))))