The article below was recently published in last month’s issue of Flagstaff Sedona Dog Magazine! to read other incredible animal welfare articles, or for future published articles from yours truly, check it out online.
I grew up in a home that some would label more like an animal sanctuary. It's one of the reasons animal welfare is still so important to me all these years later. Our home was bursting at the seams with dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rodents, but we always seemed to find space for the next beloved pet. When my siblings and I stumbled upon a box of kittens in a strip mall, it was no surprise that we won mom over. A sweet little tortoiseshell cat curled into my mom’s neck and purred gently, but Mom insisted we did not need another animal. A few minutes later, while enjoying an ice cream cone, Mom looked at the sweet cream dribbling down my chin. “I think you need a cat to clean that up!” We brought the kitten home as the new family pet, but she quickly adopted me as her human. She scampered by my side or snuggled on my lap most of her waking hours. We named her Reece’s because she resembled a bag of Reece’s Pieces. She was just as delightful, and as dangerous, as the candy. Reece’s was unlike any cat I had ever met. She was rambunctious, yet tender. Her antics included zooming down the hall to climb the framing, sneaking out any open doors under foot, and opening kitchen cabinets. She was always finding trouble! We installed child safety locks on our cabinets, not because of any child in the house but because Reece’s had learned to help herself to all our favorite snacks and several bags of catnip. She also crawled under the covers with me just to chase my toes as I squirmed. This turned into a nightly routine her face against the pillow beside me. As she grew in age, she grew on me with these sweeter moments. I headed off to college, but Reece’s stayed. She outlived my childhood as if she was truly eternal. I can say without a doubt that my love for her is eternal, and to this day whenever I see a tortoiseshell kitten, I expect it to be as incredible as her. Though cats seem to have a special way of breaking into our hearts, none will share the piece of my heart that will forever belong to Reece’s.
People ask me, “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” I have become an equal-opportunity pet lover. Reece’s was as much my playful pet as a lifelong friend. I'll always miss her crazy antics and cuddly spirit. If only cats had more than nine lives.