The Animals That Need Us the Most

As you may know, the Crankee Yankee and I are owned by five cats; this is how it all began. Our first of the five, Nala, our only female cat, had belonged to a couple who had adopted a dog. The dog and Nala didn’t get along, and she was unhappily hiding and living in the basement. We had just lost our beloved 20-year old cat Blackie, so we took Nala in, where she quickly blossomed into the undisputed queen of the house.

A few months later, I read about some “Desperate Housecats” who had been in the Cocheco shelter for several months, and needed homes right away. I saw all their pictures, and a shy little black cat caught my eye; Pookie. He came from a home with too many kids and animals. He came to us with a serious UTI and eye problems which we treated right away. He and Nala hit it off after a semi-rocky start.

Plumpy-Nut was a stray we fed all one spring, summer and fall a few years ago. As winter approached, we took him in (as he didn’t appear to belong to anyone) to our vet to be neutered, *micro-chipped and given all his necessary shots. He fit in as though he’d been with us always.

Tinker showed up shortly after the time we met Plumpy-Nut, and we fed and sheltered him as well. We tried to find out if he had an owner with no success. So we took him to our vet to get his shots and micro chip. Someone must have owned him at one time because he was already neutered. We made the decision to make him part of our family when we saw that he was sleeping near the house in the grass on a cold day. He is now safe and comfortable and always finds the softest place to sleep.

Bailey was my parents’ cat. When Mom died, Dad took care of him. The day came when Dad could no longer care for him, so we moved Bailey to our house. Soon after, we moved Dad in with us. Bailey is now friends with the others, and is part of the family.

Each of our cats were full grown when we got them. Like most people, we think that kittens are adorable, but still prefer older cats. Older cats are more set in their ways, which is actually an advantage. With kittens, you never know if you’re going to get a curtain climber, a toilet paper unraveler, a pouncer on bare feet and so on.

Many folks don’t like adopting an older cat because of possible medical problems, with the time and expense involved. But they are worth it. Seeing older cats in a shelter always tugs at my heart; they need a safe and loving home and a family who loves and cares for them.

I am not a fan of ‘special breed’ cats, or dogs. Yes, many are cute and sweet, but there are so many wonderful animals in shelters who need good homes. We are the kind of people who would adopt a three-legged cat, a blind or deaf cat, and so on. We had one stray we adopted a few years back and discovered that he had a weak heart and needed special meds and treatment.

We named him Pepper and kept him healthy and happy until the meds no longer worked. We were lucky to have him for nearly 10 months, but in that short time we gave him all the love and attention we could.

If you are thinking of adopting a pet from a good shelter, know that you are doing angels’ work. You are giving a sweet animal a loving and safe home, attention, food and water that they can count on each day, plus all the love you can give them.

Many people do not want a pet as they know how much it will hurt when the time comes to take their pet to the vet for the last time. I will tell you from my heart what it is like to hold a beloved old cat in my arms, whispering words of love in her ears until she closes her eyes for the last time. Believe me, it is worth that brief time of pain for all those precious years of love and companionship.

In closing, I would like you to know that my dear artist friend, Diane Kirkup, is working with the Bangor Humane Society, and is giving 30% of her jewelry sales from Oct. 10th through midnight Oct. 15th to benefit the animals at that shelter.  You can see her beautiful jewelry at

*Even if your animal never goes outside, it is a good idea to micro-chip your pets. All of our cats are micro-chipped and belong to Home Again Petfinder. On the off chance that they do get out, micro-chipping will help you get your pet back again.