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May 24, 2010 / Maleesha Kovnesky

The Quest For Henley

I promised my son that once we were out of a strict No Pets tyrannical household, we would get a cat.  I cannot commit to a dog (though I believe ALL little boys ought to have a dog) as dogs are not conducive to my lifestyle.  Cats actually like it when you go away for a while…everyone knows they get their frisky feline friends together and throw a party in your house. 

I made the mistake of browsing a local animal shelter’s website with my son.  “We’re just looking,” I reminded him.  But with a little boy set on fuzzy love, you are never just looking.  He virtually bonded with an orange cat named Henley.  “Can we get Henley tomorrow?” he begged.  I said we could get Henley the following weekend…but the following weekend, Henley had been adopted by someone else.

I decided that I would tell AJ the truth.  He was disappointed, but he perked up when I told him there were hundreds…thousands of cats and kittens out there that needed homes, and we could name the one we got Henley. 

“What if the cat we get already has a name?” he asked.  “Like, Fluffy?  Or Sparky?”

“We can change the name to Henley,” I said.  “The cat won’t care.”

“Can I change my name to Henley?” he asked.  Urrrrgh.

AJ’s only other request was that the cat be orange.  Fine, I said.  We can do orange.  Hell, there are orange cats all over the place.  Then I began my search for an orange cat named Henley.  Or at least a cat who would be willing to let us call it Henley…which I am sure could be arranged in exchanged for a clean litter box and some catnip. 

Now, back in the day, a person could drive to the pound, pay a ten dollar fee and get a perfectly acceptable furry friend in about twenty minutes.  In fact, sometimes the volunteer behind the desk would offer a two-fur-one deal.  Oh ho ho ho!  Those days are long gone, my friend.  The Quest for Henley has taught me the New Ways of Animal Adoption. 

Let’s start with Shelter #1.  They require me to fill out a three page application full of what I believe to be trick questions.  Not only do I have to answer brainless questions like “Are you aware of the financial implications of a pet?” and “Are you aware that your pet will require feeding and basic veterinary care?”  …but also questions like “Do you have plants in your home that are poisonous to pets?”  “What are your plans for pet care when you go on extended vacation?”  “Are your friends and family members supportive of your pet adoption?”  Et cetera.  But if you are adopting a cat, then there is an additional form….a “Cat Personality Form.”  It’s a matchmaking tool to ensure that their rambunctious cats are placed with only rambunctious people, or something like that.  What the hell?  The pounds are going all eHarmony on us.   Oh, and IF you get approved to adopt a pet from these wondrous and judgemental non-profit goons, you then get to pay an exorbitant adoption fee…as well as sign paperwork that you will return the cat to the shelter if for some reason you can’t take care of it.  No matter how long you have the pet.  No giving it away, no leaving it with grandma.  It’s a little…a bit…un-American if you ask me.

Shelter #2 had pretty much the same policies as Shelter #1…with the added stipulation that they can come inspect your home before approving you for a pet.  Yeah.  I’m gonna let YOU, I-work-in-a-shelter-and-speak-Poodle-lady come and see MY house to make sure that it’s safe for a pet that you MIGHT let me adopt (for an exorbitant fee).  I think you can take your home visitation policy, and stuff it down your muzzle.

KNOW that it is easier and faster to do any of the following than adopt a pet:

  • Get married
  • Enroll children in school
  • Purchase a vehicle
  • Purchase a gun

I’m pretty sure it’s easier and faster to do the following, than adopt a pet:

  • Get foster kids placed in your care (especially in Florida)
  • Get a job in a nursing home

I really thought that there were all these homeless pets left and right, needing homes.  That’s what you hear from Bob Barker anyway.  I think that these neo-Nazi shelters are taking a pretty bad approach.  For the record, I have owned a shit-ton of animals in my life.  I know all about cats…I know what kind of plants are poisonous.  I know you aren’t supposed to let them chew on electrical wires (BTW don’t let your kids do that, either).  I know that cats can even become anorexic, under great stress.  GUESS WHAT.  I DON’T NEED YOUR APPROVAL TO OWN A CAT. 

Therefore I am looking for a kitten the old school way.  Newspapers.  Facebook.  And by gum I might just go to a pet store.  Don’t want to, but I will be damned if I give the pound my social security number and a pint of blood so I can pay them.  

I bet I could set out a can of tuna fish on my porch and get two or three perfectly good Henleys by tomorrow morning.  Let’s call it Operation StarKist. 

Henley…we know you are out there.  We’ll find you.



Leave a Comment
  1. Scott / May 30 2010 3:46 am

    Good luck to you! I live in Pensacola, Florida, and my lawn (which I almost never use) is a haven for cats! And I like cats, especially because I hate squirrels, and they keep them away! I don’t know how many different cats have made themselves at home on my deck, in my backyard. I love to watch them, just being cats! I used to open the sliding-glass door to feed them, but soon found that scares them off. So I leave them alone.

    For pets, though, I prefer dogs. And I know what you mean–I would like to get a dog from the animal shelter, but they charge alot of money for adoption. I understand the reason–they want to make sure you want a dog (or cat) badly enough. But what difference does it make–if you can’t afford the cost of adoption, as well as the requisite spaying/neutering and shots, they’ll just euthanize him/her. So they might as well just give you the pet–you may not be able to meet all their requirements, but at least he/she will have a chance!

    AGREED! I loved my year in P-Cola, by the way!

  2. David / May 26 2010 7:30 pm

    Nicely written post Maleesha! Like Pammy Girl suggests, your listing of “…KNOW that it is easier and faster…” is missing “Make babies”…

    I bet the Craigslist suggestion is a good one. Or maybe one of your CSA customers will have some extra kittens soon. We’ve had so many wonderful cats over the years, and never paid a cent to acquire one. We did however, lose a really well loved kitten to the road we live on, after we’d just got done with $300 worth of shots and spaying etc. Our current cat is named after that kitten. Our best cat ever was named Snoopy. He was awesome. Smart and tolerant of our son, who would drag Snoopy all over the house by his front feet, kinda walking him like.

  3. Don Erwin / May 26 2010 6:58 pm

    Maleesha, I loved your Hendley story. Earlier in this century, we adopted a dog from SPCA. For 3 months he dug more holes than a groundhog, chewed siding off the house, and ate screens from windows. Guess he was bored. The hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my daughter we were taking Bones back to the shelter. We wound up paying them almost as much to take him back as we did to adopt him. On the form the clerk filled out, she stated the reason he was returned was “Could Not Keep.” If she had just been honest, she could have spared some other potential adoptor a lot of trouble. About a month later, SPCA called me to say they had “found” my dog. Lucky me.

  4. glassowater / May 26 2010 9:25 am

    It’s funny you mention anorexia… I had two cats: Willy, an orange tabby and Thomas, black american shorthair. When Willy disapeared earlier this year (we assume he snuck outside one day and never came back…) poor Thomas went into a deep depression. He would mope around the house, sit at the windows and worst of all, stopped eating. Nothing we did would get him to eat. We changed his food, tried different feeding times, nothing. He wanted nothing to do with food. This went on for over a month. It was really sad seeing him go from fat and happy to sad and skin and bones. Just when we thought it was time to get him to a vet, he started eating again. I am happy to report he is a fat and well fed cat again…. and very happy. 🙂

  5. Pammy Girl / May 25 2010 5:50 pm

    People like Britney Spears and the Duggar lady can reproduce at will and without taking any sort of competency exam (like verifying they know what a vagina is or how not to smother a baby) and yet an animal shelter needs to inspect your home before they let you take home a stray? Is this said shelter run by the PETA folks in Russia circa 1983?

  6. Taoist Biker / May 25 2010 5:16 am

    I think we paid $100 to adopt our dog from the shelter. Seems like I remember them more or less giving them away when I was a kid!

  7. Oregon Sunshine / May 24 2010 10:37 pm

    Can I interest you in a white cat with a cream colored tail named “Anna Banana”? Her tail has been broken in the past and is cream colored, shaped like a banana. The rest of her is white with one green eye and one blue eye…

  8. Oregon Sunshine / May 24 2010 10:35 pm

    Look on Craigslist. I guarantee it’s kitten season so if you look long enough, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

    Yes, the adoption questionnaires are ridiculous. They just are. A lot of shelters are going above and beyond because they seem to feel that if you’ll take the time to jump their hoops, the kitty is less likely to be returned to them. At least they’re willing to take responsibility for the kitty if you no longer want it… (though, kitty should be able to go to Aunt Matilda if you so choose, IMO)

    We are getting ready to move with 7, count ’em, SEVEN cats. Want one? I’ll meet ya in Idaho… Ok, I don’t have an orange or I’d be serious about that. We rescue when needed, because we can help. But, it’s kitten season. No one wants an adult cat. And seven is our limit. Call us the crazy cat people…

    Good luck finding Henley!

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