In September 2007, I moved to Chandler, Arizona from Parma, Ohio, and missed our family dog, Harriet, a Yorkie Poo. In May 2008, a friend of mine suggested that I could adopt a cat. I remember saying, “I grew up with dogs and don’t know anything about cats.” But I promised my friend that I’d think about it.
One day, I went to the PetSmart store in Chandler because I heard cats and kittens from a Chandler animal rescue were available for adoption. I knew that many cats and kittens were overlooked for reasons, such as the color of their fur, personality, age, and so on.
As I walked to the adoption area, I spotted Benny. Written on his cage card was that he was a three month old black and white (tuxedo) kitten that was fostered through Mixed Up Mutts and Shepherds Too. I remember thinking that he reminded me of the Lone Ranger; the black fur on his face looked like a mask. I asked the adoption counselor if I could see him. She took Benny out of his cage and we went into an adoption room.
Benny was cute and a bit mischievous – I liked that about him. At first, Benny ignored me because he was too busy playing with the plastic balls. I didn’t blame him. After all, he was free from his cage and got to run around the adoption room. Benny looked cute and happy as he ran from one end of the room to the other.
As Benny played, I wondered if I should adopt him or not. I asked the AC, “How long has Benny been at PetSmart?”
She said, “He’s been here two weeks and I don’t’ know why. Kittens usually get adopted fast.”
I can be skeptical about coincidences, but I took it as a sign that I was to adopt Benny.
After I finished interacting with Benny, I told the AC that I would like to adopt him. Since Benny was fostered, the AC had to call his foster mom and I had to speak with her. I went along with it as this was the first time I adopted an animal from a rescue (We got our pets from family or friends.). I spoke to Benny’s foster mom and asked many questions, including “Was Benny with other animals?” I was relieved to know that he had been around dogs. If I brought him to Ohio to visit family, I wanted to make sure he got along with Harriet, our family dog.
After the AC and I spoke with the foster mom and the AC asked me a few more questions, I was approved to adopt Benny. I had no idea he would become one of the best teachers I’ve ever had throughout my life.
Benny and I experienced growing pains for the first couple of months. For example, I’ve always heard that cats don’t like water. Wrong! Whenever I turned on the kitchen or bathroom faucets, Benny would jump on the counter and try to lick the water. This kind of grossed me out, but I got over it.
After adopting Benny, I learned that the myths I heard about cats most likely came from others experiences. For example, many people think cats are independent. Wrong, again. Benny follows me everywhere and has to be near me. Whenever I turn around, he’s there. It’s as if he appears out of nowhere.
Benny has taught and continues to teach me patience and unconditional love. He’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever met and the one pet that has made a difference in my life. When I’m feeling down, Benny is always there for me. I’m not sure how he knows, but he’ll sit on my lap or take a nap with me. He has to be right next to me and gets as close as he can.
It’s been six years since I’ve adopted Benny and much has changed. As of writing this story, we’re still living in Parma, Ohio – we moved back in July 2010. Benny has gotten more attached to me and cries whenever I go out. He sits on my lap or desk when I write and is the star of his own children’s picture book series, Benny, the Tuxedo Cat. I’m working to get it published. Benny’s story shows children and parents the rewards of adopting a pet, most importantly, a less adoptable one. I’m glad I drove to the PetSmart in Chandler, Arizona. It’s where I found Benny. I believe he’s one of my soul mates. We’re connected.