Once I started to find the joy in owning one cat, I could hardly wait to have another. My roommate Cassandra was extremely skeptical, as the thought of two Smirnoffs running around seemed like stress overload. She had a point.
I started volunteering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston in October 2011, but I worked only with the dogs—it was the only training session I had been able to attend due to my graduate course schedule. But I’d still wander around the cat adoption area every now and then and take a cat out to play with in the visiting runs (even though I technically wasn’t supposed to).
One day I brought a friend to the shelter to show him around and I was looking for a cat that we could both sit with for a while. I noticed Halibut in a bottom cage, sitting quietly and staring out with bright orange eyes. In the run he was calm and friendly, allowing us to pet him and playing a bit with a toy. I read his story of how he had lived with another cat and was playful and talkative. Then we left, and I didn’t think about him. And then I did think about him.
Occasionally at the shelter, I’d stop by his cage to say hi. All through November he was still there, no one having adopted him. I noticed his skin had a couple small scabs on it—one on his chest and one on his head—but the staff assured me it was just stress-related. He went to an adoption event in early December and came back unadopted. I tried mentioning to Cassandra that I was thinking about a second cat, but she would quickly brush it off, saying something like “Smirnoff is bad enough” but also, “I’m not going to say no” (while clearly saying “no;” but if she wasn’t going to be upfront about it, then I was going to ignore her implications). Regardless, I was going home for two weeks for Christmas vacation and there was no way I could adopt a second cat before then; Smirnoff was coming home with me and my parents were barely on board for one cat, let alone two. So I made the decision to wait and see: if Halibut was still at the shelter after Christmas vacation, it would be a sign that it was meant to be. But then I couldn’t wait. Continue reading “The Story of Bacardi”