In honor of Adopt-a-Cat month, here’s the story of how Hiboux and Mae came into my life.
My first apartment when I moved back to New York was tiny. Really tiny. There was hardly enough space for me to live there comfortably; there certainly wasn’t enough room for a pet. When I finally moved to a larger place, I thought, Perfect! I can get a cat!
But the time never seemed right. I was either too busy at work, or about to leave on a vacation, or preoccupied by some new project.
One day, a friend sent out a mass e-mail with the subject “Help Sweetie!” A kitten, the runt of her litter, needed a home. I read the plea and started to well up. Too bad the timing is all wrong, I thought.
Then I noticed the attachment, a picture of “Sweetie.” I clicked. I melted. A few days later, she came home with me. At first she was all scrawny nerves and plaintive mewing, but that night she curled up on my pillow. Soon Mae, as I renamed her, was the prancing, naughty, affectionate creature she is today.
I can only talk about Hiboux’s adoption second-hand, as it is my husband’s story. Russell knew he wanted a kitten to keep his older cat, Max, company. When he heard that the local Humane Society had a fresh batch of marmalade fur balls, he marched right over.
What he found there is almost too delicious to believe: a warm, squirming pile of nearly identical orange kittens. Russell already had a name picked out, and he knew he had to find just the right one. How will I know which is Hiboux? he wondered.
Some of the kittens had already been claimed (they weren’t yet weaned and would be ready for their new homes in a couple of weeks); the others were handed to him, one by one. He spent a few minutes with each perfect creature.
Then they got to the very bottom of the kitten pile. Underneath all his clambering brothers and sisters, sprawled out on his back, was one little guy. And he was fast asleep.
“That’s him!” said Russell. “That’s Hiboux!”
There are so many wonderful cats and kittens available for adoption. If you have room in your heart—and home—for a feline companion (or two), I encourage you to visit a shelter today.
—Nina Hämmerling Smith
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