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This story was written by PetSmart Charities Roving Reporter Shannon L. Bowen
Visiting PetSmart Charities® adoption events is a regular family activity for U.S. Air Force master sergeant Mike Ward, his wife Jessica, and their kids, Corinne and Dillon.
“If we get a chance to give a little pet or a hug to any of the pups, it’s just something nice that we like to do,” said Mike.
So when the family was driving home from the zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and noticed a PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend event, they had to stop.
That’s where they met Buster.
The family falls for a mature tubby tabby
Buster, a full-figured 10-year-old male tabby, won Mike over right away. “I’m 6’4”, about 200 pounds, and this cat was taking up both of my arms to hold him up on my chest. He nuzzled me and gave me a nice little kitty lick on the cheek, and I’m like, ‘Yep.’”
But it wasn’t just Buster’s heft that endeared him to the Ward family.
“We knew that older cats have a hard time getting adopted,” Mike said. “We’re in a place where we can take another animal in. We can give this cat a better home than hanging out in a shelter or a cage. It was like, ‘You know what, this guy needs to come with us.’”
It was love at first sight for Corinne and Dillon too, and with Jessica’s seal of approval, Buster became part of the family.
Buster makes himself at home
Buster settled into his new surroundings right away. “Wherever he is, he just kind of flops down, like, ‘This is where I am,’” Mike said. And if he wants something? “He will let you know.”
Buster’s regal nature led to a name change. “We refer to him now as King Louis. He walks like he owns the place,” Mike explained.
But Louis also loves a good cuddle. “He likes to be scratched under his chin,” Mike said. “He’s really affectionate.”
The good king
Louis easily befriended the family’s other 2 cats, Cowbell and Songbell, and he has become a great playmate for Corinne and Dillon. “They come up, and they’ll rub against him, and the whole family gets along,” Mike said.
“My wife and I both think it’s very important to see how animals play into the family dynamic and how caring for a pet teaches responsibility, caring, kindness,” Mike continued.
“These are animals that are going to bring some of the most joy to their human families — and Louis being a little bit older, if we had gotten a kitten, we’d have missed out on him.”