I've always lived my life with cats since my family adopted their first cat (a stray that was hanging out around my father's office at the time) before I even entered school. So when I had finished grieving for the loss of Strype, the feline who had shared most of my teenage years with me, it was only reasonable that I would look to find a new furbaby. That choice eventually brought Precious into my life.
To say that everything about Precious was completely unexpected is an understatement. The day I adopted her from the Chemung County SPCA, I thought I was at least another week from adopting due to the grieving process. Yet, as I was driving along that Saturday afternoon, I had this urge to stop in at the shelter. I figured I just wanted to take a look at the facilities and see what kind of cats I could find there.
When I walked into the back room where they kept the cats, I found this gorgeous, seven month old diluted tortie in the one corner. She immediately came to the front of her cage and meowed at me. It was love at first sight. I got permission to take her out of her cage and held her. She was the most loving, snuggly cat I had ever met.
At first, I struggled with the thought of adopting this darling little cat. My original plans had been to adopt an adult cat, no younger than two years old. I had chosen to go through this adoption process in honor of Strype. I felt he would want his home to go to a cat who was "unwanted" and less likely to be adopted. (Kittens go much faster at adult cats, even at seven months, so they're less likely to face euthanasia.) But it was clear to Precious's reaction to me (and my reaction to her) that she was my cat. My intentions were moot.
In retrospect, I realized that I still honored Strype by rescuing a cat. After adopting Precious, I took her to the vet and discovered she was suffering from a pretty severe upper respiratory infection which took multiple medications and vet visits to clear up. While URI is highly treatable, I know from my own experiences volunteering at an animal shelter that it's often impossible to keep a cat with URI around in a shelter, and they're often euthanized. When you also consider the fact that Precious originally tested positive for feline leukemia (fortunately, she's tested negative since), there's a very good chance she probably would have been put down within a week if I hadn't adopted her.
What truly strikes me as amazing is the knowledge that she had been surrendered to the shelter only two days before I adopted her. As I think about it, I realize that my timing in coming to find her was perfect. It's a realization that still makes me teary-eyed almost three years after I adopted her.
Nursing Precious back to health was a wonderful, if surprising experience. As she got over her illness, a new side of her personality came out. While she's certainly still affectionate and loves to curl up with me when I'm sleeping, she's also an incredibly active cat. Multiple times in a week, I find myself having to wander through the house to figure out how she's making so much noise - not to mention verifying that she hasn't actually destroyed anything in her play time.
I've lived with so many cats that I'd have to write their names down to count them. And I've loved every one of them. But there's just something about Precious that makes her worthy of her name.
For those who would like to see more pictures of Precious, she now has her own photo album.