If you are considering getting a pet, there are so many things to plan. You need to think about converting your living space, buying food and toys, finding a vet, applying for registration and so many other things. It seems that more and more pet-owners are choosing to buy pets from private breeders. While there is nothing wrong with this, I would like to urge everyone, when choosing your next pet, to consider adopting an animal in need.
The Story of Jellylorum.
Last year, I was in the kitchen cooking dinner with Ross, when I saw a small calico cat jump over the fence into my yard. There are quite a lot of stray cats in my area, and I am pretty familiar with most of them, but I had never seen this particular cat before. I went into the backyard and sat on the ground. The cat ran over to me and immediately started nuzzling against my hand. She was so thin and frail looking, but her eyes were alert and she was so affectionate. I went back inside and shredded up some of the chicken we were cooking and gave it to her. She wolfed it down in about two bites and stayed a little longer.
Over the next few months, I saw her often. She was always loving and happy to be petted. I was puzzled. I wondered if she was somebody’s pet, because she was so used to being handled. At the same time, I was worried about her because she just seemed to be getting thinner and thinner. I fed her tidbits whenever I had them on hand, and I started buying dry cat food to keep in the cupboard for when she came to visit me.
I named my little feline friend Jellylorum, after one of the cats in T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. This book eventually became the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS, which happens to be my favorite musical.
Early this year, it became really obvious that Jellylorum, or Jelly, was going to have kittens. Her litter was born in February this year. For the longest time, we had no idea where her kittens were, or if they were even alive. We knew that she had given birth, but there was no sign of the litter. A few weeks later, Jelly and I were playing in the yard when she led me over to the tool shed. Behind the shed was a litter of six very small, but healthy kittens. They were utterly adorable and we named them and played with them. Poor Jelly just wasn’t up to the task of taking care of six hungry kittens, so I started feeding them. I spent so many hours playing with them, applying flea treatments and rescuing them from rainstorms. They were the loveliest little creatures.
When they were eight weeks old, I made the very tough decision to take them to the RSPCA. I knew that I would miss them terribly, but I couldn’t take care of them all forever. I got permission from my landlord to adopt a cat, which was very exciting for me, because I have longed for a pet ever since I moved to the city. I had to decide which one I would take. In the end, I decided to adopt Jellylorum. It wasn’t even a difficult choice. I knew that most people who are looking for a cat are more willing to adopt a kitten, and that it is very difficult for older stray cats to find homes. Plus, Jelly had been such a lovely friend to me, and I wanted her to live with me for good.
After six long weeks of waiting, Jelly had passed all of her health and temperament tests, had recovered after being desexed and microchipped and was ready to come home with me. It was a very happy moment when I walked into the RSPCA office and saw her waiting for me.
Jellylorum is a wonderful friend. She is chatty and mischievous, and loves to eat more than any other activity. She is the best nap partner any person could ever ask for and she has provided me with so many reasons to laugh. I am so lucky to have her.
Adopting from the RSPCA
If you do decide to take in a stray, it is best to take them to the RSPCA. The RSPCA will conduct a number of temperament and health tests to ensure that the animal is suitable for adoption. When you drop them off, you are able to put your name down as a person of interest, so that you will be contacted as soon as the animal is ready to be adopted. The RSPCA will also check to make sure that the animal doesn’t belong to anybody else before they adopt them out.
When you adopt an animal from the RSPCA, they come to you desexed and microchipped. The friendly staff will also give you plenty of information about the day-to-day care of your new friend, as well as making sure you understand your responsibilities in taking care of your animal’s health. They will help you to plan for health essentials such as immunization and worming.
Adopt a Senior Program.
As I mentioned earlier, it is quite difficult for adult animals to find new homes once they have been surrendered to the RSPCA. If you do decide to adopt an animal, consider adopting one that is grown up, rather than a puppy or a kitten.
The RSPCA has a special Adopt A Senior Program. This program aims to encourage more people to adopt cats and dogs that are 7 years old or older. The RSPCA offers these pets at a discounted rate, and will give a 25% discount on all vet clinic services for the life of the pet.
There are many reasons why a senior pet may be beneficial. By 7 years of age, the animal will have developed it’s personality, so it is easier to see what they are like. Older pets tend to be already trained, so you don’t have to worry about housebreaking your new friend. Older pets still have a lot of love to give, but tend to prefer a slower pace of life, so they are ideal for older people, or people who prefer a less energetic pet.
You can adopt a senior animal from any RSPCA adoption shelter. RSPCA Victoria offers senior cats for $65 and senior dogs for $170.
*Remember, adopting a pet is a decision that could potentially affect your life for up to fifteen years. ALWAYS consider pet adoption carefully before going ahead with it*