When I lost my dear friend Slick, who was my close companion for 18 years, I had a strong desire to NOT get another cat. It was not because I was heartbroken (I was) or because I felt I could not replace her (I couldn’t, but that wasn’t the point).
It was because I really was not in the best position for taking on the responsibility of another pet.
I firmly believe that a pet is a lifelong responsibility. It takes financial resources to support a pet, and it also means you need to be able to fulfill a commitment to the the lifespan of the pet.
Being a self-supporting artist is not the most financially secure career, and I already had four cats. I am 50 years old. If Mia lives as long as Slick did (I hope longer), I will be close to 70 as she gets to the end of her life.
Can I really fulfill a lifelong commitment to Mia? I guess I will have to. She is here to stay.
Mia entered my life through one of my Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) interventions with Peace for Pets. I had been contacted by another volunteer about a female cat in her neighborhood who had spawned several litters of kittens. This mother cat called Patches, and her older offspring, needed to be neutered to prevent further litters. Mia and two other kittens were her latest litter, and they were just a couple of weeks old when we first approached the colony.
We quickly trapped and neutered the oldest of Patches’ offspring. They have a loving caregiver who continues to tend to their needs. We waited to trap Patches until she was finished nursing Mia and her siblings.
Sadly, one of Mia’s siblings did not make it. We named her Jesse. Jesse, a beautiful little gray kitten, developed a severe upper respiratory infection that was unsurvivable. We took Jesse to Doc Stewart who lovingly helped her to the Rainbow Bridge.
Mia and her brother Frankie also had URI’s, but antibiotics were successful in curing them. My friend found two families that were interested in adopting them. Yay!
When they were weaned, we easily caught Frankie and prepped him for adoption. Mia, however, was a little bit more difficult to catch.
We successfully trapped Patches, however, Mia was a bit stubborn. Rather than risk Patches getting pregnant again, we went ahead and took her in to be spayed. That left Mia out in the big bad world all by herself.
I visited Mia daily and attempted to trap her. She resisted all of my efforts, and it took me a week to finally catch her. Each day, she would come out of her hiding spot under a deck behind a vacant house, and she would chase crickets and other bugs, but she would not be enticed into the trap. (Truth be told, she was getting food from a surreptitious source.)
As You can see, she was not a happy camper once she was finally trapped! She was a bit feisty at first, hissing and snarling at anyone who got near her. I kept her in a dog crate in my basement to help her become a little more social and civilized.
She eventually let me touch her, and play with her, and pet her. We became friends. 🙂
As she was fast becoming a good candidate for adoption, the family that had previously expressed interest in her changed their minds. They were fearful that she would be “too feral”.
You see where this is going…Their loss was my gain.
It became clear that I was falling in love with this feisty little cat, and all thoughts of finding her another home started slipping away.
Mia now has a permanent home with me and my other four felines, Brewskie, Okey, Noah and Who.
There was some hissing and snarling and the typical boundary establishing drama that cats are disposed to, but she fits in well with the rest of the crew. She also accompanies me to the studio sometimes, and she is a hit with visitors!
Mia has also become my muse along with my other cats. I have made many digital portraits of her, and she has inspired me to start a whole new line of custom pet portraits – Custom Contemporary Digital Pet Portraits!
Her brother Frankie was adopted by a family that loves him dearly. Patches and Mia’s older siblings are in good care as well, some indoors and some outdoors. My friend and fellow volunteer provided a shelter made by Peace for Pets to the outdoor cats’ caregiver to keep them warm in this brutal winter weather.
I feel blessed to have a connection with Mia’s family, who I will continue to follow and assist as needs arise. All of my cats are rescues, but I do not know much or anything about their heritage.
As you can see, Mia does have some similarities to my beloved Slick who is at the Rainbow Bridge. Mia is more of a calico than a tortie as Slick was, but she does have that tortitude. Slick was a feisty girl too, and although their personalities are much different, there are some clear similarities.
If you are interested in learning more about Trap-Neuter-Return, please read more about it here. And please consider helping Peace for Pets with a donation, so that they can continue their great work with TNR and Safe Haven Foster Care for pets of families affected by domestic violence.
And let me know if you would like to have a portrait of your pet. Every animal has a story, and I look forward to telling your pet’s story with a creative piece of art!