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As friends know, we recently lost our cat of ten years, Monty. He was a sweet old goof. After his departure, we felt too raw to adopt another feline housemate. At the same time, the apartment felt empty, much too quiet and filled with reminders. I started to develop what I call “cat fever,” which is kind of like nicotine withdrawal but (hopefully) a healthier addiction.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been tenderly exploring the idea of adopting a new cat. Not a “replacement” cat—because there never can be such a thing for any individual feline—but another personality, the beginning of another adventure. It still felt too soon.

A lot of good things (Monty included) have come to us through serendipitous events. Being unsure about what we should do, we decided to wait and see whether a cat would come to us.

Why is it that pet people go through the heartache again and again? From the moment we take in an animal, we know that we will outlive them. We know that they aren’t meant (like children) to outlast us or carry on. Their presence in our lives, whether one year or twenty, is finite. And yet, we repeat this process. Knowing the pain of pet illness, accident, or simply old age, we keep coming back for more.

Every new pet adoption feels, to me, like a rebirth of sorts—back to that idea of a new adventure. And with every pet, it really is different. Once you’ve moved past the hurt of a loss, the next animal friendship feels exciting, fresh, funny, loving … and safe. I think we do it again and again because the “birth,” so to speak, and the life we enjoy together, outweighs the pain.

Which brings us to today. And serendipity. This morning, a lost kitty wandered into our lives. We have yet to take him to the vet, so it’s hard to abandon all fears just yet. But it already feels exciting …


From → Cats

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