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The couple’s 17-year-old cat passed in  the summer.  She’d had myriad health problems and she wasn’t the most laid-back of companions but they adored her and so did the dog.   Complex she was but compelling too; I took one look at her picture and asked the couple if I could keep it.  She’s on my fridge.

Last week the woman sent me this question:  how do you know if you’re ready to adopt another cat?  They’d heard of three available kittens and went to look, taking their golden lab along to see what he thought.  They came away a bit confused and that was where I came in.

“Well”, I told her, “you’re kind and generous and you want to do the right thing.  But you also want to find a good match!  So the question is not so much: ‘am I ready for another cat?’  It’s, ‘am I ready for one of these cats?'”

Technically, they didn’t sound ready.  On the other hand, something was urging them on.  They were planning to visit the three kittens again and I wondered if one of them was calling for them.  I’ve been around the block enough to know, when an animal wants you, it will find a way to get you.

“It doesn’t have to be a mental decision,” I told her.   There were different ways to approach the problem.

“You can leave it up to the dog,” I said.  “Tell him if one of the kitties is “his”, to let you know.  Eventually you’ll find one of them asleep on his rump, or maybe he’ll get bored and wander off but either way, it will tell you something.”

“Ask the kittens!” I told her.   Animals are so smart!  I hear story after story of people who are absolutely certain their animal picked them.

“Ask St. Francis to show you!” I continued.  “Tell him to make it obvious.”

In the last analysis, they could stop worrying and just follow the clues.  “Hey,” I said, “if you sit there for an hour and there’s no big connection, go home and call out for pizza!”

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