“I loved her so much I renamed her Lucy – because I Love Lucy!” Linda from Lancaster is referring to movie legend Lucille Ball, of course, and her famous television show. She is also referring to Lucy, her newly adopted cat. As Linda explains her plans for making Lucy a scrapbook, I cannot help but smile – especially considering the story of their first encounter.
It wasn’t the most traditional start to a love story. Linda and Lucy (then Olive) met on a Sunday morning at the Conway Area Humane Society. While Lucy hissed and growled, Linda could not help but take a step back and notice how observant she was. “She was highly aware of her surroundings,” Linda recounted, referring to the many boisterous children and dogs Lucy was surrounded by that day. Linda recognized that Lucy’s attention was elsewhere, causing her distress. She therefore took little offense to her less than polite behavior.
“The website description of Lucy stated that she was a ‘project cat’. From that description, I recognized that she would require a lot of love and patience. Fortunately, I have plenty of both to give.” Linda had unknowingly hit the nail on the head regarding Lucy’s situation. Last Valentines Day, this same hissing cat had won the honorable title of CAHS Shelter Sweetheart. Olive/Lucy had been voted as the sweetest cat of the shelter. Yes, she certainly had a sweet side – but it would take work to help this cat past her worries and fears.
Love and patience are the best gifts humans can give to animals. Animals themselves are gifts to us humans, and Linda was no stranger to this fact. She had owned many cats in her life – all adopted at a young age, all having lived extremely long lives. When Linda’s cat Chloe passed on at the age of seventeen this January, after being sick for a solid month, the experience nearly broke Linda. “I thought I had gotten to the point of never being able to love another cat,” she explained.
Still, Linda searched.
She wasn’t sure what she would find in her search, or if she’d ever be ready to adopt again. She saw Lucy’s description on the CAHS website, but wondered if Lucy was too old. Eight and a half years old was no kitten! Linda went so far as to fill out an application for a different cat, one-year-old Darnell, but repeatedly kept finding herself back on Lucy’s page.
Further internet research convinced Linda that cats adopted in older age can be just as loving, caring and playful as kittens. Her final decision to adopt Lucy confirmed this fact. “She gets the zoomies at night!” Linda explains, adding that Lucy does not do all of the ‘bad things’ kittens are notorious for doing. She stays off of furniture, doesn’t bother with houseplants, and could care less about counters.
Since coming home, Linda describes Lucy’s personality as essentially a new cat. She is quite the talker, greeting Linda when she walks into the room. In fact, both Lucy and Linda have a morning ritual to say hello to each other, and Linda is apt to read Lucy stories as she dozes off to sleep. Lucy shows her intelligent side when examining toys and communicating with birds through her favorite window. Apparently Lucy has a sense of humor as well, once giving the death glare to a misplaced hammer that was preventing her from rubbing up against a cardboard box full of tools.
Linda pegs Lucy’s calmed nerves on a quiet, respectful environment. She doesn’t own a television and is always playing music softly in the background. To date, Lucy has received exposure to contemporary music, 80’s hits, classical pieces and more. You could say that this cat is becoming somewhat of a musical connoisseur.
When Lucy feels the need to hide, it’s okay. Linda responds empathetically, understanding how traumatic it must be to lose one’s home. She notes question marks that can exist in an adopted animal’s past. “We fit into each other’s lives,” she explains. “It’s okay if she never wants to be a lap cat. The most important thing is that I give her a good life.”
Part of giving Lucy a good life is watching Lucy’s behavior and putting the puzzle pieces together to understand where she is coming from, and how she can live her new life as comfortably as possible. When considering cat comfort, it is appropriate to acknowledge the Cat Condo.
“The day I brought her home, there was this massive cardboard box sitting outside my apartment door,” Linda recounts. The box held Lucy’s first shipment of goodies from Chewy.com. Linda’s experience with cats, however, helped her envision a gift even more appealing than the items in the box. She got to cutting, erecting ‘floors’ and carving alluring shapes in the walls for toys to be sent through. The Condo, once completed, granted plenty of room for Lucy to move around inside, and on top.
The result of such hard work and fine craftsmanship? Lucy loves it.
“No, Lucy will not be returned – and hopefully she does not return me!” Linda sees it as her mission to give Lucy the best life possible for as long as she has left. In considering the future, both Linda and Lucy are sure to take advantage of all the time set before them.
If reading Linda and Lucy’s story makes you want to construct a Cardboard Condo of your own, and you are looking to adopt a cat to appreciate it, please check out our website postings and follow us on Facebook. If you’re in the mood to read some quality literature to your own cat, check out Linda’s most recent suggestion here.