June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month. Adopting a rescue animal can be a fulfilling and engaging experience for the entire family. If you are thinking about adding a companion animal to your household, the library has many good books and other resources to help you with the experience. Our communities have several shelters and organizations that can help you find the perfect match for your family. It’s especially important these days, because the difficult financial times have forced many families to give up beloved pets.
I have been adopted by many cats (and a few dogs) over the years. They just show up, often when we most need them. For example, Waifer arrived on my door step the day of my mother’s funeral, and was with us for 18 years. Shadow took up residence on our deck and refused to leave. Callie came to us just before we lost Shadow to cancer 10 years later. And Athena, well, I walked into my vet’s office to get cat food and Athena demanded that I take her home. She’s like that – she doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Even giant Anton who weighs 15 pounds more than she does can’t win an argument with her.
I currently have 5 cats who have chosen to live with my family. They have distinctive personalities and can make life very interesting. When Carl Sandburg wrote that “the fog comes in on little cat feet”, he wasn’t referring to my thundering hoard. It never ceases to amaze me that a 4 pound kitten can make that much noise just running across the floor. On the other hand, Callie has mastered the art of appearing magically on my lap without my noticing.
Cats have shared their lives with humans for thousands of years. While the importance of cats in Egypt is fairly well-known, it appears that they originally domesticated us around 9,500 years ago in the area known as the Fertile Crescent. From there they moved with us all over the world. Today there are estimated to be more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with about 82 million in the United States, alone. A little myth-busting is in order here – that’s more than the 72 million dogs in the U.S., and surveys have shown that cats are as popular with men as with women.
Cats have been our companions, amused us, frightened us, and inspired us. One of Broadway’s longest running musicals was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Our fascination with cats shows no signs of diminishing. Besides have books, poems and musicals written about them, they appear in art, photography, and now you can follow them on twitter. Here are a few interesting websites, books, and recordings about our feline friends: