For at least half of Michaela's short life, she's been asking for a cat. I really don't know why. The only cat in the family is my sister's cat, and that cat is rather shy. It usually hides when Michaela is around. Nevertheless, Michaela adores it.
I, on the other hand, really didn't want a cat. We have a dog. And while the dog spends little time here these days (she's at my parents' house most of the time), I wasn't interested in having anything else to take care of. I think most mothers of young children feel that way.
Occasionally, Michaela and I would go over to the SPCA animal village nearby and visit the kitties in the cattery there. After we got our kitty fix, we'd come home sans cat.
Back in late November or early December we went into a local pet store one day while they were hosting a cat rescue group. There was a handsome cat there and he caught my eye. He was a Tonkinese, and he was being fostered because his owner had passed away. He was super mellow and didn't seem to mind Michaela at all. I was intrigued by him and decided to turn in an application to "adopt" him. As it turned out, we were rejected. I sure hope he got/gets a good home...
After that, I realized that most rescue groups were probably going to reject us if I got serious about "adopting" a cat. After all, I work full time so we're gone a lot. That's why our dog is at my parents' house. She needs more care and attention than I'm able to give her. Nevertheless, cats are more solitary and can be okay at home during the day - more so than dogs anyway.
Instead of visiting another rescue organization, we went to the city animal shelter just to look. Famous last words...
Most of the cats there were nonplussed to see us. However, this one black and white, or tuxedo, cat greeted us enthusiastically. He really wanted our attention and affection. So we asked to see him. He had so much personality, and he didn't seem to mind Michaela's energy at all.
But, I didn't turn in an application for him that day. I just wasn't sure that I really wanted a cat at that point.
Twenty-four hours later, I couldn't stop thinking about him, though. So we stopped by the shelter on the way home from church and turned in our application. I didn't tell Michaela what we were doing in case we were rejected again. I didn't want her to be disappointed. But on Christmas Eve day I got a phone call that we'd been approved, and that we could pick him up a day or two after Christmas.
From the time we brought him home, he has made himself very much at home here. He puts up with all of Michaela's antics. She hugs him, lifts up his lips to look at his teeth, yells at him, chases him, pets him the wrong direction, and so on. I am doing my best to teach her how to love him the right way, but he takes it so well. He has not shown any aggression toward her, and he doesn't avoid her either. They love to play ball together!
What we know about Koa's past was that he was picked up in Garden Grove the week of Thanksgiving. He's about two years old. He's currently, um, intact, but we'll have that taken care of in the next couple of weeks. He had a cold at the time we brought him home and so the shelter vet couldn't operate on him then.
The shelter staff had been calling him "Phoenix", but I didn't care for that name. I looked at a list of Hawaiian names (because we love Hawaii, and Daddy was born there), and tried to find one that suits his temperament. Koa means bold or brave in Hawaiian, and that seems to suit him perfectly. He is friendly and confident. I love how he greets visitors at the door instead of running and hiding under the bed. My dad came up to the house the other day when I wasn't home to deal with a plumbing issue, and I was delighted that he likes the cat. He said that Koa reminds him of the first cat he and my mom had when they were married, Squad Car. He was another tuxedo cat with a bold personality.
I've had a lot of cats over the years, but it's been 15 years since I've had one here. Koa is the perfect fit for us, and we're so happy to have him!