Recently my husband Ray went to Texas for a week to help his mom Judy after her eye surgery. He and I have talked many times about getting a cat. We had to give away our last family cat, a calico named Sierra, several years ago when we moved to a rental home and the landlord didn’t allow pets. Our daughter Leah misses her and wants a cat of her own again one day.
I wanted to wait until we finished remodeling our home that we bought last year, so the noise wouldn’t stress out the cat and so he or she wouldn’t pee everywhere as a result. But I really wanted a black cat with green eyes and was tired of waiting. While Ray was gone to Texas, I adopted a cat at a local animal shelter!
I went to three shelters. The first one in Butler, MO, where we live, House of Hound, only had dogs. The second one in Harrisonville, MO, had just two cats. One was a sweet, long-haired, calico mix named Lucy. She went to my arms instantly and purred, but I wanted a black cat with green eyes. I think they are beautiful and look like little black panthers. The staff told me there were several of these at the Belton shelter.
The Belton, Missouri HELP Human Society has over 200 cats and a few dogs. It is a no kill animal shelter that helps animals find loving, good homes. There’s lots of sofas and chairs for the kittens and cats to roam all over the building. The dogs are in a separate section. I really liked that the cats had this freedom.
A few cats are placed in cages when they are first brought there, until they get used to it, or unless they have health issues. I laughed when I walked in and cats were walking around on Sarah’s desk (one of the paid staff). It was hard to pick one, as they were all so cute.
The shelter had many black kittens and cats; ironically, some people are superstitious and think black cats are spooky and bad luck. Black kittens and cats are the least adopted and have the highest euthanasia rate.
It took me about 30 minutes to choose which one. I was drawn to her name, her personality, and her story. I also asked to make sure she had a good health record. Natalya was a little reserved with me at first, but when I brought her home, she couldn’t be petted enough! Every night she sleeps with me. She loves me and wants to be constantly petted! Here is a funny pic of me with her with her mouth open.
Natalya is about four years old. She has an interesting story. Her family was in a house fire. They thought she was killed in the fire, but she escaped and later came back to the area. The family had to move in temporarily with another family while they found another home to live in, so they had to take her to the Belton shelter. Since I have “been through the fire” many times in my life, her story intrigued me.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”–Isaiah 43:2, NLT
You can read my own powerful story here at Amazon.
To adopt a pet at HELP Humane, you have to fill out an application, show your driver’s license, and pay a fee. Some shelters have stricter requirements than others. A dog’s and a kitten’s fee is generally higher than a cat’s. After filling out the one-page application, I was interviewed by Sarah.
This shelter takes care of the animals’ food and water, gives them shots, and spays or neuters them. There’s many volunteers with a compassionate heart for animals who work there. She was due for her rabies shot in a few days, so I took her to the vet to get that and for an exam. The shelter gave me a certificate so that most of the visit was covered. I was happy to hear that she is in good health.
After approval of my application, I went to Walmart to get cat supplies, came back, and took my new kitty home the same day! I bought two bags of Iams cat food, a pet carrier, two cat litter boxes, giant boxes of cat litter, a brush, a scratching post, and a toy ball. The shelter also gave me some food for her, a toy mouse, and catnip as a going away gift for her.
In the morning after I cook my egg, I have “coffee with God,” praying, reading the Bible, and journaling. A friend on Facebook, Tanna, joked that Natalya likes to read, too.
I have a very soft, multi-colored blanket on the love seat that I use while I drink my creamy coffee and read the Bible. Natalya LOVES this blanket. She often “kneads” it and she lays on it often.
The first couple of days after I adopted her and brought her home, Natalya walked all around the house, meowing constantly. I think she missed her cat friends at the shelter and was a little scared. This is normal. It takes time for the pet to adjust to his or her new environment. Eventually, she started acting more like a cat, being curious and getting into everything and jumping onto counters and high places.
One morning I was eating breakfast and heard her meowing from the utility room. I walked in there and she had jumped to the highest shelf of the cabinet, which is about 7 feet tall! I was worried that was too far for her to jump down to the floor, climbed a stool, and got her down. She still does it sometimes and I still rescue her!
When I work on my laptop to write books, speaking presentations, or blogs like this, Natalya sometimes comes into my office. She jumped on my laptop, which kept me from writing! So I laid out a soft comforter for her in there to occupy her instead.
One of my friends on Facebook commented that she is queen of the house. I do think she looks like a queen and elegant like royalty–like the Queen of Sheba!
Because we live in a busy neighborhood with lots of traffic and the health risks from neighborhood cats and other animals, she is an inside cat only. Natalya loves to look outside the window at the sky, trees, birds, squirrels, neighborhood cats, cars, and people walking by in our front entry room. I have a teal green ottoman that is a perfect stool for her to do this. It snowed recently, so here she is looking at the snow.
My Facebook friend Maria gave me the great idea to buy some yarn to play with her. This is especially good to do with her at night to wear her out before bedtime (so I can sleep!). She loves the green yarn, and it makes me laugh that she chases it as I run across the room.
She is a beautiful cat, and has such a sweet personality…and I found out that a Christian friend of mine had prayed for her to get a good home! After I posted pics of Natalya on Facebook, my friend Carrie Lemon asked if I had adopted her from the Belton HELP Human Society.
I said yes, and she told me that she and her two daughters often went in there to just love on the kitties and that Natalya always followed them to the door, as if wanting to go home with them. They prayed for her, that God would give her a loving home. God is amazing! My husband Ray is a “cat person,” and he loves her, too.
Did you know that having a pet has health benefits? Some are:
- Pets can decrease depression, stress, and anxiety. Dogs help soldiers with PTSD, with Walter Reed Army Medical Center using them for veterans and finding them to have a decreased suicide rate;
- They can lower your blood pressure, build your immunity, and decrease your risk of heart attacks or strokes;
- Pets can be the best medicine when dealing with chronic pain, like arthritis or migraines;
- Having a pet can help with loneliness; animals love unconditionally, unlike some people;
- Owning a pet can help lower cholesterol;
- Having a pet can improve your mood, making you laugh and relax more;
- Owning a dog can increase your opportunities to socialize;
- Pets help children to emotionally develop.
Most of all, a pet is fun. These fur babies make great companions and people often consider them part of the family.
Do you have a pet? What kind? Leave your comments below.