A Navy veteran adopted an adult cat in order to have someone to talk to, and got a pet friend who actually talks back.
Loss and loneliness lead to pet adoption
Realizing that pets are naturally therapeutic, Deborah adopted a cat – who then lived for 23 years. His loss was painful, like losing an old friend, and the Vietnam veteran felt the pain of his absence. Her husband is based in Minnesota for his job with a major airline and has a four year-old cat there, but Deborah calls San Diego home and wanted a pet friend of her own.
Deborah learned about Pets for Patriots and the range of benefits it offers to help make pet adoption more affordable for veterans, and decided to apply. After she was approved, she started the way most people start searching for an adopted pet: online.
As luck would have it, the Vietnam veteran first “met” her match through the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services website. Because the shelter is an approved Pets for Patriots adoption partner, Deborah would receive a generous adoption fee discount if she adopted an eligible pet.
“There was one cat, gray and white,” she recalls, “really cute.”
Ten days later, Deborah noticed that the cat was still at the shelter and made a decision:
“I’ll take her!”
From scaredy cat to chatty cat
The adult cat, now named Katie Jaclyn (or Katie J for short), had been at the County shelter for three months in search of a new home. Because she had been there so long, Deborah realized that the shelter “could tell me about her personality.” But no one could have prepared the Navy veteran for what happened when she took her new pet friend home.
“When she got to my house, she went out to the washer/dryer and hid behind it,” Deborah says. “I called the animal shelter and they said, ‘she got in, she’ll get out.’”
About an hour-and-a-half later, Katie J was exploring Deborah’s office.
“She was a little afraid,” says Deborah, “then finally rubbed up against me.”
Katie J was “very affectionate” and timid at first, but over time as become more assertive.
“She’s up on my lap, up on my desk,” says Deborah, adding, “she even walks across my computer.”
Deborah describes the experience of adopting Katie J “like having a little person” around the house. She’s very vocal – “especially when she wants to play with her fish toy” – and fills the void of an otherwise empty nest.
“She’s someone in the house to talk to,” says the veteran, recognizing as well that she has done as much for the cat as Katie J has done for her. “You feel like you’re helping them to have a wonderful home.”
Pets for Patriots making pet adoption easier and more affordable
Deborah believes other veterans should consider pet adoption through Pets for Patriots.
“It’s a great program,” she says. “They’re designed specifically for veterans, they help you figure out the idea of where go to get a pet, and they help you with the process and paperwork.”
“Pets for Patriots does what they say,” she observes, “and are good on follow through.”
Deborah feels like adopting Katie J was “meant to be,” even though the adopted cat is very demanding of her attention.
“She loves to come up when I do my makeup,” she says, “and when I talk on the phone she will ‘meow,’ even if I’m on a business call.”
What Deborah loves most about Katie J is the reason she adopted in the first place.
“The companionship,” she says, “is amazing.”
In what ways is your pet like having another person around the house?