This past week-end marked a 1 year anniversary since we had adopted our sweet cat, Koshka. As I was reflecting back on the year we’ve had with her, I realized that I can’t even imagine our house without her now. She has truly become a member of our family.
Our lives have changed because of her, and I don’t mean just the extra chores and expenses. We all became a little more patient and tolerant, thoughtful and, hopefully, responsible. And she…I hope she learned to trust humans again and became even more flexible and accepting of us than she was already. We really couldn’t have asked for a better 1st cat!!
Here is a story of how Koshka became our very own first family pet.
Ever since the kids were little and learned what a pet actually was, they had been begging for one nonstop. My animal loving soul was secretly longing for a furry little creature to become part of our family, too. But my husband was adamant that we do not get a pet until our kids were old enough to care for it. And now, looking back at it, I see that he was probably right.
We kept talking on and off about the idea of a cat or a puppy, but nothing really ever came out of it. Until one New Year’s Eve, when I jokingly asked my husband if we could pretty please get a kitty, his answer was “OK! Let’s do it!”
Of course, I had to ask again a million times to make sure I had heard him correctly! Indeed, it appeared that his stance on pets had softened up, and he was admittedly getting excited about welcoming our very first family pet.
WHY THE RUSSIAN BLUE
We had an obstacle though. Our son was showing signs of some unknown allergy. He would break out in hives on some occasions, or be extremely itchy and constantly rub his eyes on others. Because of the potential allergies, we had to focus our attention on the “hypoallergenic” cats. We learned about the breeds that were highly compatible with people who show signs of allergies. Our list consisted of Balinese, Javanese, Rex cats, Oriental Shorthair…all of which are very rare to find at a local shelter. Thankfully, we also had a list of more common breeds: Russian Blue, Siberian, Bengal, Snowshoe, and, potentially, a Siamese.
FINDING THE CAT WAS HARDER THAN WE THOUGHT
We started our search online. We were cautious at first and didn’t tell the kids as to not to get their hopes too high. In the course of two months, we had applied for at least 3 or 4 cats, and all of them fell through. We either had applied just before someone else had adopted that kitty, or the agencies hadn’t gotten back to us for weeks. It all seemed to be going a lot harder than adopting a cat should have been.
But we persevered. We kept looking and looking. We visited local pet shops and looked at the local shelters, but, unfortunately, found no kitties that would have worked for our son.
One day, we found a listing for a cute Russian Blue young cat. We loved the description and the way she looked on the picture, and so we applied. The next day, we heard back… that she had been JUST adopted!!! We were ready to throw in the towel!! It just seemed like adopting a cat was not working out for our family. We were getting too frustrated and disappointed with the whole process.
Then, the same agency that had that sweet little Russian Blue reached out to us. They told us that even though the kitty we inquired about was no longer available, they did have another Russian Blue in foster care. We were cautiously optimistic and decided to give it just one more try. We applied for her and went through all the necessary references checks and approval process.
Lo and behold, we were FINALLY approved and on our way to become proud owners of our very first pet cat!
HOW WE TOLD THE KIDS ABOUT ADOPTING A CAT
Since the previous applications fell through so many times, we were holding off on telling the kids until it actually happened. We had a bit of a dilemma: now that we officially had adopted the cat, how do we share that with the kids??
Because the agency we adopted from was only affiliated with the local shelter, they didn’t have a location for us to visit the cat. Once we went through the adoption process, they had scheduled the delivery/pick up event. Our kitty actually traveled to us all the way from Georgia! Even though we had “gotten” our kitty, we had to wait 2 whole weeks until she arrived.
So my husband and I thought that this gives us a perfect opportunity to tell the kids about the cat ahead of time and get used to the idea. We did want to surprise them, but we did not want to just bring the box in with a kitten in it. Since the kids missed out on picking out a cat with us, the least we could do was give them the experience of picking her up and meeting her for the first time together, as a family.
To surprise the kids with the news, we had gotten them very cute cat themed t-shirts and a book called “I “Heart” Kittens”. We put all those things in a gift bag. When the time was right, we told the kids we had a surprise for them and had them open the bag.
To my surprise, our kids did NOT guess at first what it all meant! They both looked puzzled and uncertain…Until we gave them a hint that it all had to do with something we all had been wishing for a long time! Oh my, the squeals, the jumps, the hugging, and eventual happy crying—it was all so sweet and so overwhelming at the same time!
Maybe they didn’t believe us because it was April Fool’s Day, and they thought it was all a bad joke?? But it was indeed becoming our reality!
MEETING THE CAT
A week later, we met our sweet cat! She arrived on a big truck along with other pets. The second we saw her sweet face peeking through the cat carrier….we all fell in love!
She was and remains quite shy and timid, but she has the sweetest personality. Gentle, intelligent, silly, and very loyal, she stole our hearts. Our first night together was a blur because she decided it was the perfect time to explore every surface of the house! Meowing, scratching, climbing, hiding…we barely got any sleep! And to be honest, that morning we all probably had doubts if we had made a huge mistake! But, as time passed, and our cat adjusted to her new abode, she had calmed down, and we settled into a new routine.
ABOUT OUR CAT’S NAME
Choosing the name was not an easy task. First, we wanted to meet the kitty before making any decisions, so we had to wait. Then, we asked the kids to make a list of names that they liked, so we can all vote. Well, the lists were LONG! Our son and daughter took it very seriously, and put a lot of thought into coming up with great names. All of the names were so sweet and special in different ways.
The runner ups were Silver Belle (because of the silver tint in our cat’s coat), Luna (because of her bright yellow eyes), Jyn (a homage to a Star Wars character)…and Koshka!
That last one had a funny story. Since our kids are learning Russian through the online program, the word “Koshka” came up quite often in their vocabulary unit. It means “a female cat” in Russian. The kids loved the cute pictures of cats in their lessons and kept saying that word because it sounded so funny. Well, my daughter had actually written it down in her Cat Names list!
At first, we thought it was quite silly to name a cat, well, CAT. But the more we discussed it, the more we loved it. It was very unique, and it had a special meaning to our family because of our Russian heritage. So there she was, our first pet cat KOSHKA (Koh-shka), (or Kosha (koh-sha) to give it a sweet affectionate touch).
Our story may not be as touching and heroic as saving a cat from the claws of a raccoon or something extra-ordinary like that. We were, however, very deliberate and intentional about adopting a cat who needed a loving family. So I believe that in a way, we did save our Koshka. We took her away from the life on the streets and a very uncertain future in foster care and gave her all our love and the comforts of living at home and having a family who adores her. It has been a wonderful year together indeed!