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Adopting from an Animal Shelter + How to Help

February 14, 2018

This post is sponsored by Cat's Pride but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Eleven years ago, I was quickly moving boxes out of my college dorm room and into my new apartment on a street called Hertel. It was the first time I’d be living off campus and I had no idea what to expect. 

My roommate was from the city and would be spending the break at home, moving in when the school year resumed. I’d never lived in a place of my own before and, to be completely honest, I was freaked out! It seemed so cold walking into an empty apartment with no one to make noise but myself. I was in need of a partner in crime to spend my time with — one to ease my mind when I’d hear the older building creak and to keep my feet warm when the harsh Buffalo winters hit.

I had been telling my mom for weeks that I wanted to adopt a kitten and she immediately tried to talk me out of it. She knew it was a big responsibility for a 19-year-old college student to take on and that I might struggle to give a living being a good life. Even though I got my first cat in 4th grade and have had at least two ever since, I’ll have to admit that was a big leap to take. 

Always one to do things the hard way, I stopped mid-move and drove myself to the shelter with my friend in tow. 

Originally I had planned on adopting as small of a kitten as I could — a little girl that I’d name Olive. I even had plans to get her a brother named Buzz awhile later.

(BTW, after having learned more about adopting later on in life, I highly suggest scooping up older animals first. You could save their lives!)

As soon as I walked in, there was a cat named Peter that caught my eye. I’m sure you remember me having talked about his heart-shaped nose and little crossed eyes in previous posts — he was truly something special! As soon as I knelt down to play with him, he puked in front of my feet.

It was love at first sight… or something like it!

I told the woman at the counter that I was ready to adopt him and as I was filling out the paperwork she let me know I was too young to adopt. I figured 18 was the age limit, but it was 21.

Hurdle #1.

She did offer me one loophole: call my mom and get verbal permission to adopt Peter.

As you may recall, my mom was opposed to the idea of me adopting a cat, so I was feeling devastated after already having fallen for fuzzy, sweet Peter, but I gave it shot and handed over my mom’s phone number.

I looked on and tried to read the woman’s expression as she talked to my mom (she probably does awesome playing poker), until she clicked off the phone and with a little smirk said my mom gave full permission.

Mom coming in clutch!

Just as she was handing me the carrier, a vet from the back came out and stopped me. He was concerned about Peter having gotten sick and wanted to keep him for observation. I agreed and asked when I could pick him up, completely surprised with his answer: as soon as I left the building he was no longer guaranteed to me. I was told that they’d call me when they had more information and, if he was healthy and I got there fast enough, I’d be able to bring him home then.

Hurdle #2.

The weather had gotten bad outside with snow falling rapidly and ice covering most of the roadway. On the radio I learned that there was now a travel ban in place.

Hurdle #3.

I dropped my friend off at her place and headed back to the dorms where I had minimal time left to get the rest of my things to my new apartment. As soon as I pulled up, my phone rang. Peter was cleared — apparently, just like me, he likes to overindulge on his food which caused his problem. He was free to pick up if I could get there in time.

I drove cautiously to the shelter, made my way in the door, and looked at Peter’s empty room. Tears welled in my eyes.

The friendly woman from before snagged me from the lobby and brought me to the counter where she had Peter stowed away behind it. She had pulled some strings to make sure I didn’t lose my new forever friend.

After jumping over a few crazy hurdles, I took my new pal to his new home on Hertel.

Peter was such an odd name for a cat.

I don’t know how he got it or who gave it to him, but as we sat in my empty apartment stacked with boxes watching A Lot Like Love on my laptop, I decided to rename him after the main character Oliver. A few weeks later I realized I had been calling him Peter since that moment and hadn’t even realized it!

Since then, I’ve added a husband, a little rascal named Sweet Dee, and a toddler.

Although I won’t be adopting another furry friend any time soon, I do like to help out the local shelters when I can. They’ve been good to our family and it feels good to provide, even when we cannot offer more room inside our house.

Besides the obvious donations of time, blankets, towels, toys, and beds, you can also do your part when you’re buying pet supplies for your own cats.

The brand of litter we use is called Cat’s Pride® (we pick this up at either Walmart, Ralph’s, or sometimes online from Amazon Prime) and they have an initiative in place called the Litter for Good™ program that donates a pound of litter to animal welfare organizations across the US when you buy an green jug of their Fresh & Light® litter. 

If you’re interested in helping local shelters and beyond, go to and sign up for the free Cat’s Pride® Club to nominate a shelter to receive litter donation.

I want to hear all about your pets in the comments!

What kind are they and what are their names?

Sarabeth, The February Fox

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  • Reply brittany February 15, 2018 at 7:52 am

    awww i love your cat mama story and these BEAUTIFUL photos of your gorgeous kitties!!

  • Reply Kevin Martin October 27, 2023 at 3:33 am

    Adopting from an animal shelter is a great way to give a homeless animal a second chance at life. Shelters are often full of animals that have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, and need a loving home.

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