happy adoption day, Astrid!
I've wanted a cat almost as long as I can remember. And someone always said no. First my mom (who got me a cat stuffed animal for my 18th birthday as a joke... Mom, I still love you!), then K-State Housing and Dining Services, then all my landlords. So when we bought the condo, high on our list was finding a cat. We knew we wanted to get settled first, but as soon as we got back from Kansas for Christmas, I started planning when we could visit an animal shelter and combed through hundreds of PetFinder profiles. (Ian firmly told me he wasn't willing to drive more than an hour for a cat, no matter how cute.)
The last Saturday in February, I mapped out five different animal shelters with adoptions hours that day, and we headed to Medfield to meet one of the cats I shortlisted.
She was incredibly skittish. She had been left behind in an apartment, alone, when her owners moved out. She hadn't been at the shelter long, and was in a kennel by herself so she'd feel a little safer. But as scared as she was, when we reached out to pet her, her purr roared to life like a jet engine, and they said she didn't have a mean bone in her body. We met all the other cats, but I knew that I couldn't leave her behind.
With a little help from the staff, we got her into the carrier (after a brief escape behind some furniture), and headed home. We put her into her own little room, per the shelter's recommendation — once she felt safe, we could let her explore more. We named her Astrid.
The first day, she wouldn't leave the carrier, but leaned into our hands, eyes closed, still terrified, yet purring. She was always in a small corner when we'd go in to check on her, but we could tell she'd been out by the decreasing level of food and the scratch marks in the cardboard scratcher. Day by day, Asteroid got more adventurous.
We finally left the door open, and she staked claim to the old wooden crates we had found in the basement and brought up to use as side tables, always inside one whenever we were around. Slowly, Aspirin began venturing out in the open while we were home, and we made a startling discovery when we finally saw her not in a curled up ball of fluff. She's probably at least part Manx! Her tail is half as long as you'd expect, if that, and she's built like a race car: her front legs are shorter than her back. And we keep uncovering more personality traits that seem to be associated with manx cats.
These days, she's at ease around us, more assertive (but still so sweet), loves snuggles, and goes bananas on her favorite toy mice and fuzzy ball. Her favorite nap spots are cozy blankets left on the couch and radiators, but more and more she'll spend the night curled up by our feet (after walking all over our legs — we sometimes call her ol' concrete paws). And just last month, she started letting us sneak in a few belly rubs, although we never know how long it will last before she waltzes away.
One thing that hasn't changed is that she still loves being loved on, and she is still sweet as ever. We're so thankful for an incredible cat, and can't imagine life without her.