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  • It was a little over three months ago that I met the 3 year old, black and white cat that would come to be named Dobby. When I met him he was lying pathetically in the liter box of his too-small cage at the Providence Animal Rescue League in Providence, Rhode Island. He was thin and his fur was matted and greasy. But when my mother and I let him out of the cage he pranced around with a swagger, going from cage to cage to curiously greeting each cat inside– whether he got a meow or a hiss in return.

    When I held him he croaked an adorable meow that would become all too familiar in the coming months, and I knew I wanted him. More to the point, the look in his large harvest moon eyes when I put him back in his cage told me that I couldn't leave him. Within twenty minutes he was in a cage placed carefully on my mom's lap where she sat in the passenger seat of my car while I drove us home.

    He never took his eyes off of me.

    This wasn't my first time owning a cat, but it was my first time being a cat owner. The difference being that my old kitty, Monty, who had passed away at the age of 17 over a month before, was more of the family cat. He slept in my bed every night because he was attached to me. We had been companions since I had found him when he was a scrawny six month old kitten begging for scraps and I was mere kitten myself at just 3 years old. He was my best furry friend and, in a way, adoption a new black and white friend was a little bittersweet for me.

    However, this kitty was more than my best friend. He was my baby. He was mine to take care of, to feed, to bring to vet appointments, etc. What was more was that, come the end of the summer, he would be coming with me to my apartment in New Hampshire while I attended school.

    At first, the road was bumpy. My old cat had been lethargic and apathetic, even as a kitten. While he wasn't a cat that would run and hide at the sound of people, he wasn't exactly social either. To be social, one usually needs to stay awake and that wasn't something Monty did often. Dobby, however, had a larger than life personality and a bundle of energy, which was often funny, but could also be a little annoying.

    The animal shelter had labeled his online description as "Personal Assistant." They could not have been more accurate. Everywhere I went and everything I did, Dobby was right there beside me. If I was doing my make up in the bathroom mirror in the morning, he was on the counter beside the sink, sniffing curiously at my mascara. If I was eating breakfast, he was sneaking into my lap and sticking his face in my plate (though I suspect he was mostly motivated by cream cheese in this case). If I was reading a book or on my laptop, it wasn't long before he found his way between me and my book or laid down on the keyboard, sending my computer into convulsions.

    To top that off, Dobby is a total love bug. On that very first night I brought him home from the animal shelter he got up in my bed and snuggled next to me all night as I slept. I was a total stranger to him, and yet he cuddle up to me like I was his mommy. The cuteness of it all nearly cracked my heart in two.

    Of course, he is a little mischievous. He's curious. And curiosity kills the cat. Or your lamp when he knocks it over because he was trying to see what was in the lamp shade. He thinks it's the best game to attack my feet as I sleep. My favorite incident of the curious cat was when I turned around in the shower to see him sitting under the water with me. It didn't take him more than a few second to realize how much he didn't like the water dampening his fur, but, hey, at least he tried it. And he still tries it at least once a week– just to be sure.

    While I sometimes became frustrated with Dobby, I am mostly overwhelmed by his cuteness. After his first trip to the groomers to get rid of that shelter smell, he was looking much handsomer. Now that I've had him for three months, and he's much fatter (largely due to the amount of treats he gets) he's absolutely irresistible. Between his perfectly pink nose and lips, his huge green eyes, and his mane of white fur that frames his face, I literally can't stop myself from taking pictures of him at every turn, even though I already have a thousand of them. He has single-handedly turned me into a crazy cat lady.

    Dobby definitely makes up for all of his mischievous deeds with his loyalty. I've known a lot of cats in my life, Monty, my dad's angry cat, the many passing cats of my grandparents over the years, but I have never met a loyal cat. That's a trait that usually reserved for dogs. But Dobby is a loyal cat. When I go home on weekends and take Dobby with me, my mom is always shocked by how it only takes two clicks of my tongue for Dobby to coming running towards me from anywhere in the house, squeaking his strange meows. He always comes when I call, he's always at the door as I open it, and as I fall asleep at night he's always right beside me.

    What is the point of all this? Well, for one, I wanted to brag about my cat. Because he's the best. But I also wrote this to show an amazing example of adopting a cat from an animal shelter. Not a kitten– a cat. A full, adult cat. It's unfortunate how many of the older cats get left behind in exchange for a kitten's cuteness that won't even last the rest of the year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that kittens shouldn't be adopted, I'm just saying that it's important to look at your options. The adult cats tend to be more grateful and, subsequently, more loyal from the adoption. Their temperaments are set at that point, so you really know what kind of cat you're getting. Knowing a cat's temperament is especially important for if you have children, as some cats may not be very happy with the poking and prodding of kids. And an unhappy cat isn't good for anyone. So, if you're thinking about adding a furry addition to your family, stop by your local shelter and check out some of the older felines. You won't regret it.
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