As part of a Facebook five-part gratitude post series I saw friend and fellow artist Rick Antolic had posted his gratitude for adopting his gray kitty, Maddy, as number two on his list. I appreciate how much he loves Maddy and on the occasions I get the chance to talk to him I love to hear the stories of how wonderful she is. Here is what he posted, with a little extra.
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I’m grateful for my cat. I know I sound like one of those (to some) annoying cat people. But this isn’t about cats, it’s about Madison. I got Maddy in 2007 from Animal Friends. She was already close to middle aged then. We bonded almost immediately. She’s been there through all I’ve been through, good and bad, in these past 7 years.
Maddy is in the autumn of her years now, and if I’m lucky enough, I’ll still have her around for just a few more. I know that it will be painful when my little buddy isn’t here anymore.
This will likely sound weird to some of you, but sometimes I imagine that it’s the year 2030 or something like that; and one of my engineering friends from CMU finally invented a time machine, and they invite me to try it out. Rather than choosing to watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or witnessing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, or bask in a night of the roaring 20s, I instead choose to go back to the year 2014 and have one more day and night with Maddy – and this is it! I’m not “present Rick” today, I’m “future Rick” that’s come back to visit and soak it in one more time, spending just a few hours again with my cat that I miss so much.
…I sometimes secretly do that with my friends too.
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Of course, many friends who love cats, including me, posted our agreement of how much we love our cats, how much we miss the ones who have passed, and how animals fill a space in our lives, and Rick added a little more to his story.
“It’s the companionship we treasure, and I would add the affection too. Those who have never had a cat usually aren’t aware of how affectionate most cats are,” Rick added to a commenter who missed her cat’s companionship. “Maddy is there at the door to greet me every time I come home. She showers me with good morning kisses every day, and often times there are many afternoon and nighttime kisses as well,” he added.
Rick is an artist and illustrator, so he’s another with a studio and a studio cat. “When I sit at my easel to paint, Maddy is typically laying at my feet,” he said.
But for as much as he loves Maddy and enjoys her company, he did not start out as a cat person, nor even think of a cat he might adopt as a pet. This cat was to be a working cat and her first purpose was rodent control. “I didn’t even really want a cat when I adopted her. I had field mice in my apartment that I kept trying to get rid (for just over a year) with no success. Getting a cat was the straw! It’s one of those decisions in my life that I don’t regret!! We won’t talk about those others :),” he added.
And it’s interesting how life takes twists and turns, especially with adopting a pet. He hesitated at adopting, then he’d been offered kittens from friends but those adoptions didn’t work out. That’s what makes having adopted Maddy, an adult cat, even more remarkable, because their chances of meeting were really pretty slim.
“It took me a whole year of just thinking about getting a cat before I actually decided to do it. And when I did, one of my friends was supposed to give me a foster she had, but then changed her mind. Another friend just before that was begging me to take a stray kitten she just picked up. When the first cat didn’t happen, I contacted her and said, okay I’ll take it. But she got attached to the kitty and changed her mind too,” he related.
“I’m glad; otherwise I wouldn’t have Maddy. I don’t believe in fate or destiny. But our decisions do lead us to what we have today, and timing is a big part of that equation. The world is always toying with us! Sometimes it works out pretty good for us, huh?”
“I’m always heartened to learn of someone adopting an adult cat. So I like reading those stories!” he added to me when I asked if I could share his story.
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Rick Antolic is an artist and illustrator who studied fine art at Carnegie-Mellon University and creates custom illustrations and portraits in addition to his own paintings and figure drawings. Visit his website. I’ve actually mentioned to Rick cats I’ve had for adoption—after all, who is more likely to adopt a cat than someone who loves a cat already? But his heart belongs to Maddy, and I think that’s wonderful!
Read more stories in my weekly Rescue Stories series.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
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