I never owned a pet when I was growing up. As a military family, we were constantly moving, and my parents never wanted the hassle of an animal. My brother also had allergies, so it wasn't an option. Whenever I visited people who owned dogs and cats, I enjoyed the animals, but I never really "got it" as to why people were so upset when their pet passed away. I was sad for them, but I thought these were animals, not people, right?
I was still determined to get a cat. When I first visited the SPCA, I found a personable, sweet cat who was three years old. I liked him immediately and asked my husband to come and see him the next day. When he agreed, we arrived at the shelter and the cat I'd chosen had already been adopted. Instead, there was a new tabby cat named Fitch, who was almost two years old. He wasn't in his cage but was busy walking around the shelter, curious about everyone and everything. He walked right up to me and nudged me with his head, as if he'd already selected me to be his owner. I felt a bit awkward, since I knew nothing about cats, but when I petted him, he began purring and ribboning around my legs. He was an absolute sweetheart and we brought him home that day.
Fitch has lived with us for seven months now, and I can't imagine life without him. When I'm writing, he'll come and snuggle at my feet or he'll meow at the door when he wants to go play outside. He loves the freedom to explore our yard, and the bunny/vole/mole population has definitely decreased! (thankfully he hasn't brought me any "presents" yet.)
My husband was right. Owning a pet is life-changing. Fitch keeps me company when the children are at school, and he makes me laugh when he crawls into a brown paper bag to hide. If he's away for too long, I worry about him, and I'm always glad when he returns home. He's not just an animal—he's a member of our family. And I'm hoping to keep him for many, many more years.