How This Dog Lover Became a Cat Person

After saying goodbye to her beloved pooch, could she love a cat?

- Posted on Aug 16, 2017

Carol and her favorite feline, Luna, whom she adopted from a shelter.

All my life I’d had dogs. But after my Shih Tzu had to be put down at age two because of genetic problems, I vowed, no more. I couldn’t go through the heartbreak.

I live alone and I missed having the companionship of a pet. So much that after nine months of a dogless existence, I couldn’t take it anymore. “The house feels empty,” I told my brother. He and his wife live across the street. “I’m getting another dog.”

“Carol,” he said, “you’ll be seventy-eight soon. We don’t want you out in the rain or snow, walking a dog. If you must have an animal, get a cat!”

A cat? Did I even like cats? I’d certainly never lived with one. I was a dog person! Still, to placate my brother, I agreed to consider getting a cat. But it had to be the right one. The only way I could be sure about that was to pray about it. I appealed to Saint Francis. Who better than the patron saint of animals to take my request to the Lord?

“Saint Francis, my brother is probably right,” I said. “A cat would be easier at my age. But you and the Lord know I can’t live with just any cat. Can you find me a cat who’s two to five years old, healthy and potty-trained? One who won’t disturb my eighteen plants, walk on my kitchen counters or table, knock over my mementos, or scratch my furniture. Who’s loving and will sleep with me and keep my feet warm at night, greet me at the door when I come home, and curl up on my lap when I read or watch TV.”

I was asking for the most doglike cat in all of creation. But aren’t you supposed to be specific in your prayers? There was one last detail. “Also, I need a cat who is used to living with an older person. Perhaps one from someone entering a nursing home. Or from a retired couple moving to Florida who can’t bring the cat. Amen.”

I told my friend Dot my brother’s suggestion. “That’s a great idea!” she said. “Cats are very intelligent. Easy to care for. And they have long lives.”

I met her cats. They were well behaved and affectionate. “Adopt from the Humane Society,” Dot said. “You’ll know you’re getting a healthy animal.” But what about the rest of my stipulations? Even Saint Francis probably thought I was asking for too much!

I called the Humane Society the next day. I told the receptionist I was looking for a cat. I explained how traumatic it had been to put down my dog, and that I was a senior citizen who’d never had a cat. Before I could say more, she said, “We have two females you may be interested in! Tiger’s a little feisty. The other one’s Luna.”

Luna? That means moon, and Saint Francis wrote “The Canticle of the Creatures,” in which he describes Brother Sun and Sister Moon. “How old is Luna?” I asked.

“She’s five, spayed, and has all her shots. She’s a big cat,” the receptionist said, then added, “Luna was well cared for by a couple who just retired to Florida and couldn’t take her with them.”

That afternoon I went to the shelter. “Luna doesn’t like being in a cage, so she might not be the most responsive,” the receptionist said.

Luna was huddled at the back of her cage. I put my fingers through the wire and called her. She came right over and touched my fingers with her nose. “Wow,” the receptionist said, “that’s the first time she’s said hello to anyone!” Soon Luna was in my arms. She was a big cat, all right, 15 pounds. I stroked her beautiful muted-calico coat. She snuggled close and purred.

It’s been three years now since I took Luna home. She’s careful with my plants and mementoes, uses her litter box and scratching post, curls up on my lap when I read or watch TV, greets me when I come home and keeps my feet warm at night. She loves me as much as I love her. It just goes to show, no request is too big and no detail too small for the Lord (with a little help from Saint Francis!).

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