Thursday, April 24, 2008


It is surprisingly difficult to find a place to be a volunteer, at least if you want to do so with animals. Because of Elise's love of all things feline, I thought it would be great if we could go together to a shelter and volunteer regularly to socialize cats. I'd go on my own to do some actual work.

Kitten season is already in full-swing here, and the local paper even ran an editorial last week about the need for volunteers at the city shelter. The next volunteer orientation isn't until mid-May. If I want to volunteer at the Humane Society, I will need to purchase a ticket for an orientation class, and they're sold out for quite some time. I don't think we're quite ready for fostering litters of kittens (I'll bet our landlord isn't either!), and that's about the only thing anybody seems to want done. We'll keep scoping out local organizations and see if we can find a niche for this season, and then we'll be old hands by the time kittens come around again.

While waiting for a shelter to open so we could scope it out the other day, we stopped in at the Petsmart near our house. They have shelter kitties who need homes, and Elise was desperate to see a cat, any cat. We looked at all of the cats and learned their names and talked to them a bit. And then there was Amelia. She took one look at Elise and bounded toward the glass to rub her head as close to Elise as she could get. She was also fascinated by Teri-bear, which immediately endeared her to Elise. They talked through the glass for quite awhile. We went away and came back after we'd chosen two toys for Flapjack. Amelia looked right at Elise and dashed to see her. When Elise wandered off to talk to another cat, Amelia pointedly turned her back on me and went about her business of looking bored.

Well, we just had to play with her. I contacted the Maine Coon rescue lady, and she hooked us up with the volunteer who cares for their kitties at the store. Elise thought it was very important for her to write a letter asking if Amelia was there and if she could pet her, so we worked on that together. She proudly gave it to the volunteer when we went back to the store that evening. When Amelia was brought into the play room, she immediately cozied up to Elise, much to her delight. I was tolerated and let know that I was okay but clearly a second banana. Elise was over the moon to have a kitty paying exclusive attention to her. She's pretty protective of Teri, but remembering how interested Amelia had been that morning the very first thing she did was put Teri on Amelia's back. To her credit, this cat who had just been taken out of her cage and thrust into a room full of strangers stood there an purred.

So, really we don't need another cat. The fact that it's even a consideration at this point says something about the experience we had with Amelia. Just so I don't look like a deranged cat lady, I have to add that I would not even be thinking about this if not for the fantastic chemistry between Elise and this kitty. Helping at a shelter would be awesome. There are other cats out there who will love Elise when it might be more reasonable to adopt a cat. But the chemistry is here now and my heartstrings are all jangly now. We will work this out as a family and it will all be good, but for now I just want to dream a little about my girl who might just have found her new best friend.


Jaya said...

What a beautiful cat! Though I imagine Princess Flapjack (or Princess Lolly) would have a few choice words for her.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the foolish things that we do for our children. In my experience, it is almost always worth getting that special pet for your child--especially with such a great bond. It depends on how the whole family feels but I am siding with Elise on this with a nod to Flapjack who will need some convincing. Good luck with whatever you decide.