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Smitten with a kitten

It’s difficult to imagine being 2 months old, trapped outside and alone, but that’s just what life was like for tiny Gemma before she was rescued and relinquished to the Dumb Friends League. When the domestic shorthaired brown tabby arrived at the Quebec Street Shelter, she was fearful and hissed on approach, but it wasn’t long before Gemma warmed up to our staff and began purring with her tail up and curled when she was pet. Little did Gemma know that her life would change in a few short weeks.

In 2002, when Rick’s 20-year-old Siamese cat passed away, he felt lost and turned to the Dumb Friends League to adopt a new feline to love. On the League’s website, Rick came across a picture of a cat with what he affectionately said was the most “hmph” look on his face, and he immediately decided that was the cat for him. When Jake passed away, Rick waited a year before deciding it was time to fill the void in his heart and remembering what a positive experience he had with the League previously, he began watching the website once again for possible adoptions.

As sometimes happens, plans go awry. Rick always adopted strays who were adults, and this time, he wanted to get the “full kitten experience.” The first kitten he saw was adopted by the time he got to the Quebec Street Shelter. The second kitten was too shy and hissed at Rick’s partner. Rick saw Gemma (now named Nika) on the website and thought for sure she would be adopted before he was able to get to the shelter. Much to his surprise, Nika was still available, but the kitten who captured his heart was in the back receiving treatment for a respiratory infection. When Rick asked about Nika, he was told she was a bit timid and having met a hissing kitten previously, Rick’s hopes weren’t particularly high, but he decided to meet her.

Turns out, the third kitten was just right. When Nika’s carrier door was opened during Rick’s visit, she poked her head out, looked at him with her beautiful eyes and he immediately thought to himself, “if she’s friendly, I have to decide now because she won’t last until tomorrow if someone else sees her.” Rick sat on the floor, rubbed his fingers together and said, “Come here sweetheart,” and the sweet kitty came out, did an enormous stretch, walked right over and settled into his lap. “She turned on that little diesel motor purr, and the adoption counselor was already getting the forms together for adoption,” said Rick. “We knew where this was going!”

Rick jokes that Nika runs her new home. She is fearless exploring and spends her days climbing her six-foot cat tree to jump to the top bunk bed in her back room. Nika’s favorite things include playing with her pet toy, Mousey, which has been loved to the point of the cover coming off the core and warranted supplemental Mouseys added to the mix. Beyond terrorizing Mousey, Nika and the humidifier have a little game whereby it produces ultrasonic mist, and Nika sits up on her hind legs to swat at it while she chirps (instead of meows). Nika is also learning to ride on Rick’s shoulder, which he’s OK with now that she’s a mere 3 pounds, but the duo may shift their routine when she’s a full-grown adult. “Not having a kitten before, I don’t think I was totally ready for a pet who switches from “aww…I can’t even, she’s so cute” to “get this furry chainsaw off me” in a heartbeat, but I would never go back,” said Rick.

“The staff and volunteers are always friendly when I visit the shelter,” said Rick. “They are conscious that the shelter is a home and not a petting zoo. I think this helps minimize animal stress levels. I’m also pleased with the evaluation process and questionnaire, which help ensure that pets are going to safe homes.”

To learn more about pets available for adoption, visit our adoptions page or call 303.751.5772. All adoptions (and that includes working cats) include spay or neuter surgeries, age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip ID and a free wellness visit with a participating veterinarian.

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