Owning cats my entire life has taught me that having a cold, wet nose around is the best medicine for whatever ails you. My current Charm City kitties, Tuna and Boh, are no exception.

Let me start by saying that both of our fur-babies are adopted from local Baltimore shelters, BARCS and Maryland SPCA. The problem of homeless animals is huge in Baltimore, with shelters constantly operating at capacity and practically begging people to adopt all the animals waiting for a forever home. For the entire month of July, 20 Maryland shelters are waiving adoption fees for all cats and kittens.

cat adoption

Tuna, the quiet but “stand-your-ground” kind of girl, was adopted by my husband even before we met. I jokingly call her the “step-kitty” but I love her all the same. She sheds like crazy, leaving all of our furniture covered in snow white fur. She also has the cutest pink nose, so she can get away with pretty much anything. She prefers to fly solo and has a noticeable dislike for our second boy cat, Boh. He was adopted after many evenings spent pondering whether Tuna was lonely and needed a playmate. Upon closer examination, we realized that “Yes! She needs a feline friend to cheer her up ASAP!” Whether that was truly her need or ours is still up for debate.

~ Tuna ~

So off we went to the BARCS shelter on a sunny summer morning. We were giddy with the prospect of taking home another cute little guy or gal to join our family. Our joy was quickly overshadowed by despair at seeing several rooms full of cages filled with cats, cats, and more cats.

“We can’t save them all, but we can help one” was the mantra I kept repeating in my head as we walked around with a friendly volunteer who talked to us about each and every cat we pointed out. Some were snoozing, while others were sitting at attention, keeping a close eye on us. A ginger kitten was trying to climb the bars of its cage meowing that precious kitten meow hoping to get out. My heart sank. But the volunteer reassured us that kittens were the first to be adopted, so we resolved to rescue a critter that had a much harder time getting out of there.

~ Boh ~

And then we saw him. The tag on his cage said his name was Bay. He had the cutest face and the biggest yellow eyes. I asked to hold him and my heart was his forever. He settled into my arms like a ball of warm fluffiness, leaned against my shoulder and just stayed there quiet as a mouse. He’s also all black and I thought that by adopting him I’d be fighting the misconception that black cats are bad luck and are “unadoptable.” They are NOT!

At the adoption meeting with a shelter worker, I broke down in tears when trying to explain why we thought little Bay (he was three years old) was a good fit for us. He was exactly like my childhood cat who died in a tragic accident. This was my chance to redeem a life lost and help out this little guy by loving him even more than I loved my first cat. Upon getting him home and doing the standard week-long “introducing the new kitty” exercise, we named him Ninja. That stuck for about a day. He was just too silly and too talkative to deserve that stealthy name. We then settled on Boh, as in Natty Boh (the Baltimore beer) or my favorite version, Catty Boh.

Boh the cat

Boh, usually the silly one, on a recent trip to the vet with his favorite toy, Mousey

Last night, the little guy came to my side in bed and lay down in the crook of my arm. He breathed calmly and softly purred as his eyes sparkled in the blue light of the alarm clock. He put his head on my arm and slept. I lay there, wide awake, appreciating life for those simple moments — moments that are made sweeter by knowing that a shelter cat can one day sleep on a king-size mattress and be spoiled rotten with kisses and treats.

Have you ever adopted a cat or dog? How has their companionship changed your life? Please share your fur-baby stories and pictures with us!

Have you checked out the reinvented version of the Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City? Learn all about it here!