When Pets Pick People

One of the things I like about working at Drs. Foster and Smith is the wide variety of animals that come to our photo studio as models for our catalogs. Many are here from our local humane society, and often an animal is adopted by an employee and goes home with a loving new owner at the end of the day, instead of back to the shelter. Pretty cool.

One morning about 4 years ago, I came into work to find a litter of kittens in my office. The kittens were here for photos and one of my co-workers decided that they should spend the day in my office, so people coming in and out might fall in love with them and adopt them.

Then someone suggested I adopt one of them. I immediately listed all of the very good reasons I couldn’t possibly take home a kitten. I already had Mason, a handsome Maine Coon Cat who seemed very happy being an ‘only’ pet.

My husband wasn’t too thrilled with the amount of cat hair already around our house, and adding to that might be pushing it. Besides, any kitten I might consider taking would have to be a male; in my admittedly biased experience, they were usually more mellow and cuddly than female cats.

By this time, one of the kittens had climbed up into my lap and was following the movement of my hands as I talked. It reached out a small paw, pulled my hand closer, and gently licked my finger. Then it turned around once, settled on my lap and started to purr.

Very mellow. Very cuddly. I lifted it up and had a look underneath. Too young for me to see much at all, but I thought I could see the beginnings of the parts that qualified it as a boy.

By the end of the day, my helpful co-workers were insisting that I HAD to take this kitten home, since it had picked me out, AND it was so friendly, AND it was a boy. I wavered, but I felt it wasn’t fair to bring home another cat without warning my husband.

I called home and described the kitten, expecting strong objections, and instead heard, “It does sound like a nice kitten. Whatever you think, Honey”. With my last excuse trashed, I put the kitten into a borrowed carrier, dubbed him Stanley, and drove home.

At the house, the reception was lukewarm. The kitten ran up to Mason as if he was a long-lost friend. Mason glanced at the kitten, looked at me as if to say, “What were you thinking?” turned around and walked away. I was a bit concerned but the kitten persisted, and when I found them curled up together on the bed that evening, I knew they’d be fine.

As the days went by, I began congratulating myself for selecting such a great new addition. I couldn’t help noticing, though, that Stanley increasingly looked, sounded, and acted decidedly….well, feminine. I lifted his tail and took another look.

There was no doubt about it now-Stanley was a girl! I was a bit embarrassed at having made such a simple mistake, but the kitten was already a permanent part of the family. So ‘Stanley’ became ‘Sassy’ and now we can’t imagine not having her here. She’s sitting on my lap right now. Very mellow. Very cuddly. I’m so glad she picked me out.