"The Fuzziest Story Ever Written: Nova's Narrative"

A lot has happened since I abandoned this site in 2009! Among MANY other wonderful developments, I adopted a kitteh! She's an eight-month-old shorthair calico named Nova.

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I've wanted to adopt a cat since taking care of a bushel of them whilst interning at the Baumholder (Germany) Veterinary Clinic in 1997 to earn the Veterinary Medicine Merit Badge. I was an impressionable youth, they were ridiculously adorable--you do the math. One exceedingly-young black kitten with azuline eyes really stole my heart; unfortunately, she had feline leukemia and died a few weeks after I met her. I remember begging my parents to adopt her so we could take care of her but we couldn't because we already had a wonderful dog (Toto) and were in the process of moving back to CONUS.

My family did end up adopting two cats when we moved back to the United States in 1998, which slaked my thirst for scooping cat poop for a while. Withdrawal symptoms abounded in college and I resolved to adopt a cat as soon as life stabilized. It's no small commitment!

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Anyway, fast forward to 2010: friends of our family live on Pleasant Lake near Carthage. They have a lovely cabin-house heated by a wood stove, which is fueled by a rather large stockpile of wood kept on the premises. On a grey-cold fall day, the patriarch went out to grow the fire in the furnace a bit. After picking up a few logs, he discovered a small form huddled among the fuel. After concluding the shapeless blob was a kitten, the family spent a few days coaxing her out of her wood fortress. They eventually succeeded, bringing her inside and nourishing her back to health to prepare her for adoption.

I met her a week later and fell in love with the wee two-month-old bundle at first sight. We played together for a few minutes but then happily settled on the couch for a purr-filled petting session. Meeting her was serendipitous: our dog Zoë had just been killed and I felt ready to give another animal a life--one ends, another should begin. I adopted her a month later and she's been my little variegated companion ever since. My apartment seems large enough for her, my toy cabinet is well-stocked, and she LOVES her cat tower (what I fondly call her "Ivory Citadel") from which she can observe all of the activity occurring on College Hill Road.

We've spent about six months together and have had more adventures than I can possibly list in one blog post. Since the beginning of spring, our most ambitious undertaking has been leash training. That's right: I intend to be THAT guy who walks his cat on The (Hamilton College) Hill! She and I have had five or six half-hour-long outdoor sessions and she seems to be enjoying it! We have yet to walk more than two-hundred feet in a given session but we're scaling up beautifully! I highly recommend reading this article if you happen to have a cat and are interesting in tackling leash training--it has proven to be invaluable.

I'm sure I'll be posting about Nova in the future (isn't sharing cat stories the reason why most people blog in the first place?) but I decided to introduce her today because I found an adorable Brooklyn Salsa Company advertisement featuring shelter kittens playing with their empty jars. Watching it reminds me to be more creative with Nova, to make toys out of items I would normally discard, and to keep her as active as possible!

And I can't share a video about shelter animals without also sharing OK Go's music video for the song "White Knuckles." They collaborated on choreography with shelter dogs, who pulled off incredible feats that few thought they were capable of.

And if you have ever thought about adopting a pet and have the means to do so, please do. Tens of thousands of animals need our help. And you'll be amazed at how rich your life will become by providing them with the gift of shelter and love.