Monday, December 15, 2008

Giving Thought...

I was rather surprised last night when my school district's auto-dial program called me (three times...) to inform me that school would be closed today.  It seems that power outages were still something of an issue in that area of the county and the superintendent made the decision to just stop trying to make electricity flow through the sheer power of hopeful thinking.

It was for the best, really.  Even with a three day weekend, I still had a whole bunch of stuff to do around here.  Between Friday's Ice Storm Survival Issues and all the preparations for yesterday's early Christmas festivities, I'd done little to keep hearth and home even remotely clean.  The extra day was like an early Christmas present.  I finally got gas in the car, emptied the dishwasher and vacuumed two or three layers of cat hair from the carpets.  And don't even ask how long it took to get all those dirty dishes in the sink taken care of!

In spite of all these pressing tasks, I was still able to spend much of the day settled on the sofa and finishing up The Mitten That Is Destined To Be Markedly Smaller Than Its Mate And Over Which I Have Stopped Obsessing.  Snuggled beside me was the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  He slept deeply, very deeply indeed.

Sometimes, though, he'd start chasing mousies in his sleep and then his belly would jiggle.  That amused me to no end.

This sort of thing is new.  When the AGK first arrived here, he was affectionate in his way.  He'd trill and chirp then stand up on his hind legs for head pats.  He'd let me rub his nose and purr happily.  Sometimes, he'd just sit in the recliner with his chin resting on the arm and look at me for hours.  I knew that he liked me.  He just wasn't much of a lap cat.

That's just the way it is with rescued animals.  They are who they are and we bring them into our lives knowing that they may not be the Christmas Card Kitty we'd imagined.  But sometimes they do suddenly start snuggling up with you on the sofa and let you laugh at their belly jiggles.

When that happens, you almost hear music.  It's better than anything else.

With the holidays upon us and people thinking thoughts of gifting, kittens start to look awfully cute.  The very image of one clambering out of a stocking on Christmas morn or rummaging about in piles of discarded wrapping paper is like something right out of a storybook.  Lots of little kittens will be discovered under various trees this year.

I suppose that it bears mentioning that the giving of pets as gifts is not always a good idea.  Sometimes it is downright ill-advised.  But I happen to know that all of my readers are thoughtful folks who would carefully consider the lifestyle of the recipient and how well they might incorporate a pet into their lives, so I don't worry about you one little bit.  You guys are on top of your game.  That is why I feel so comfortable offering up a suggestion.

I ask that anyone who is considering the gift of a furry companion this season please give some thought to adopting an older animal.  I've mentioned this before and do apologize for the repeated message.  But, given the season and all, it seems appropriate to put it out there again.

My last two cat adoptions have been from the "Adult" room at the shelter and I firmly believe that any future additions to the family will come from the same place.  I have never once regretted opening my home and my heart to an animal who, while not a cute, capering kitten, was more mature, more settled into his/her personality and ready to be loved.  

Most U.S. animal shelters are experiencing a level of overcrowding right now that hasn't been seen in a while.  In fact, many will let you take home an adult cat at no cost whatsoever, already spayed/neutered and vet-checked.  The AGK even came with a free year of microchip service should he ever take to wandering.  (which he has, to date, shown no signs of considering)  

In spite of these dire circumstances, any reputable shelter will also take the time to interview you and help you to make the best possible choice in new furry friend.  They know their stuff and they love their clients.  The staff will happily do everything in their power to make sure that the cat you choose is uniquely suited to the needs of the owners.  

We all know that the kittens will find homes in short order. But those older animals, many of whom have years and years of life and love to share with the right family, often have a longer wait. If your heart is set on a kitten, you have my blessing. That is often the best choice for a family. But, I do like to point out that there is another option and it is one that has blessed my life a thousand times over. That big, orange boy snoozing by my side this afternoon and the fluffy girl draped over the back of the couch were the cats meant to come live with me. Both came to me as adults.

If you are not considering adoption right now, you can still share the joy of the season with the animals who must spend the holiday waiting for their family to find them.  Volunteers and donations are generally welcomed by most facilities.  However, I do urge you to remember to contact the shelter or review their website to learn just what they can accept in the way of assistance.  Animal welfare organizations have different needs and it is best to make certain that your gesture will be one that can be used to benefit their clients.

For those of you in the U.S., this link will take you to the Humane Society's website.  The opening page gives you information on donating to their organization.  From there, you can travel to their main site and learn more about how to support animals in need.  You can also locate a shelter in your area in the event that you are considering adopting or supporting at the local level.

We here at The Sheepish House Of Mismatched Mittens And Napping Kitties are grateful for your time and attention.  We promise to get right back to the regular knitting content just as soon as we get our soapbox put away.  We don't wish to unduly influence anyone nor do we want to put any pressure on you.  We are above that.  We would not resort to using an obnoxiously cute photo to make you rush out and help animals in need.  Nope.  Not us.

Merry Chris-Mouse!!!!  I iz adorable, rite???  And I iz a big, grown-up boy!!!!!



Kath said...

Love AGK's Christmas photo!

And as far as I'm concerned, you can hop up on that soapbox any time. Just leave a little room for me to stand next to you.

GiM said...

Absolutely a superior post, SA.

trek said...

I shall not be running right out to adopt a furry friend: that would bring the wrath of Dr PreciousMetal down upon your Sheepie head and I would not wish to be the cause of hate mail sent from my allergist to a fellow knitter.

Anonymous said...

We have adopted adult cats and dogs and found them to be excellent pets. The advantage of choosing an adult is that you can get a pretty good idea of the animal's temperament BEFORE you adopt. Kittens and puppies, cute though they might be, are an unknown quantity.

EGunn said...

I foster kittens for the Seattle Animal Shelter, and you're right. Kittens go in no time at all (usually within days of becoming available), and older cats tend to languish for months or years(!) before being adopted, even if they are sweet cats with no behavioral problems. They appreciate the soapbox message. =)

April said...

I got Andy when he was only six months old. But that's because I'm just "fostering" him. I don't want another brown tabby, I want an orange kitty like the AGK.

Maybe for Andy's 4th birthday next year I'll foster a brother for him.

Mouse said...

I'd love to have another cat but Ms. Kitty would be none too happy sharing her sleeping spots & lap space. I saw a report on our local news which said that 5 of the Atlanta area shelters are in need of adoptions -- sadly, in this economy people are having a hard enough time feeding and caring for the pets they already have.
Glad to hear that you are ok and that you are getting another snow day! I saw the news and was worried about all of my New Englander blog friends!

Donna Lee said...

All of my animals were shelter animals. I couldn't in good conscience spend money for an animal when there are so many sweet ones waiting for homes. One of my latest boys was very standoffish when he first arrived. Wouldn't even make eye contact but gradually (over the last 4 years) he has gotten to the point where he will sit on my lap and beg for attention. I figured someone must have abused him at one point. It broke my heart to see him flinch when I went to pet him. Now he's fat and happy with his winter fluffy coat.

Cursing Mama said...

What a great holiday card! And he iz a very big boy indeed.

Cathy said...


Teri S. said...

A most excellent post, Ms. Sheep!

I would like to add that there are many feral cats that are not adoptable once trapped. The organization Alley Cat Allies ( is dedicated to trapping, neutering, and releasing feral cats, as well as protecting their feralness by opposing initiatives by local governments to eradicate feral cat communities.

There are lots of options to support our feline friends!

Jeanne said...

I'm all for adopting adult cats. They need love, too.

Some cats warm up quickly, some don't--rescue or not. My 10-year-old Zander has only in the past couple of years decided he likes sitting next to me and only in the past month have I picked him up for the first time.

Love your photos. Especially the one of him upside down.