I have a theory about you. If you look at the title of this post and scoff at the idea that adopting a kitten can have an effect on your life satisfaction, then I predict that you have never adopted a kitten.
I decided months ago that I would adopt a kitten (or two!) when I turned 40. It would be a great gift to myself; something to really look forward to. Why did I choose 40? Well, many women dread that date, and while I don’t, it did seem like a good time to get myself something I really wanted. Also, when I turn 40, my son will have just turned 13… another thing to dread! Life with a teenager! All of that together made me think it would be a great time to do something I’ve wanted for quite awhile… adopt a kitten.
The only problem was that I was only 35. Could I wait five years? Sure I could. However, the more I thought about it and the more I read, the more I thought it was stupid and almost selfish to wait that long. Do you know how many cats are out there right now in need of homes? Too many. In the end I spoke to my husband and then bought everything a kitten could possibly need. I then spoke to my husband again and convinced him it would be much better to get two kittens rather than one, and then I waited. My husband told me I was harassing the local animal shelter and that they were going to block me because I kept asking on Facebook and over the phone if they had gotten any kittens in.
Finally the day came. I was at work and saw that the animal shelter posted a picture of some kittens on their Facebook page. There were already several comments, including some lady who said to hold them for her and she’d come to get them during her lunch break. I was incensed. You couldn’t just claim the kittens like that! I immediately told my boss I had to run out for a bit due to… a family emergency… and drove to the shelter. In my excitement I forgot that they didn’t open to the public for another 20 minutes, but the nice lady behind the desk let me in anyway and brought me to the kitten room. That’s where I met Merry and Pippin for the first time.
So, what’s the big deal about adopting kittens? How can that improve your life? Don’t you now have to spend your time emptying litter boxes? Ha. Alright, so yes, my life does have some new and not-so-interesting smells in it, but I can’t begin to explain how much joy the kittens have brought me. Playing with the cats is fun and often hilarious. I have probably laughed more in the last couple of months than in all of last year combined. Also, petting a cat has been shown to reduce stress and even lessen your risk of heart disease. They have such a calming effect when they’re winding down for a nap and come over, purring, for some cuddles. I’ve found I can’t help but fall asleep when one lies on my chest. What’s better than taking a little cat nap with a kitten on a Sunday afternoon?
I know they’ve had a great effect on my life already, but what I can’t forget to mention is what I’ve done for them in return. The animal shelter had huge influx of kittens right after I adopted Merry and Pippin, and they are having a hard time finding good homes for all these cats. Here, Merry and Pippin have a big house, lots of toys, and as much love and affection as they’re willing to sit still and take. Growing up in a shelter is no life for a kitten. Everyone deserves a “forever home” and for a family to care for them.
If you have never adopted a pet, please think about it. Go to your local animal shelter and take a tour. The one I adopted from was really well-run and maintained, but it was still so sad to see those animals in there. If you have the means to take care of an animal the right way, with full vet care, spaying/neutering, and the time to play and give walks, please adopt a pet. It’ll be great for you and your family, but you’ll also be saving a life.