Pet Adoption Story: Disney

Lily and her partner Annika adopted Disney, a beautiful cat who makes their home feel “more like a family.” They haven’t changed Disney’s name yet, mostly because he has had it for so long and he responds to it. They have played around with calling him Roman, or Romy. Lately, they have been calling him Chicken because he kind of warbles and sounds like a chicken.

To them, the adoption process was both emotional and rewarding. They recommend to not rush the adoption process and to never ignore adult or senior cats. You never know who your perfect match will be!

We had the privilege of interviewing Lily about how Disney changed their lives, the adoption process and how she believes rescue pets can make a positive change in one’s life. Read on for her replies.

How did adopting your pet change your life?

My partner Annika and I adopted Disney together. We had been wanting to adopt a cat for a very long time. Having Disney in our home just makes us feel more like a family. He makes us laugh and brings a calm, meditative energy to our home. There is nothing more relaxing than having a warm little kitty curl up on your chest and purr after a long day. I definitely have to wake up a bit earlier each morning to play with him and clean his litterbox, but the joy he brings us is worth those 10 minutes of sleep.

What qualities were you looking for during the pet adoption process? 

We were looking for a kitty that liked people and wanted to be pet. We knew we weren’t ready for the energy of a kitten, but we wanted a cat that was playful. We also wanted a cat that was healthy.

What was the pet adoption process like for you? 

Very emotional! We almost adopted three other cats before we found Disney! We originally were planning on adopting from Paws but had bad luck. The first cat we wanted was adopted right after we left the shelter (we didn’t have the right paperwork). The second was sent to live with a foster family because he was considered too depressed for adoption. Then finally we found Harmony House who had a much better environment for our needs.The first time we came to Harmony House, we met Disney and he was always in the back of our mind. Then we went back to Harmony House a second and we realized he was our cat.

What do you do to foster a positive relationship with your furry friend?

I play with Disney for a few minutes every day before I leave for work. He is always waiting for me at the door when I get home and jumps into my lap for pets and cuddles. I always play with him at night before I feed him, too.

He loves to be brushed and eat treats.

What advice would you give to someone looking to adopt a rescue pet?

Be open-minded! Don’t overlook adult or senior cats. Our poor kitty Disney spent months in the shelter because people wanted a younger cat. Disney is only 7 and domestic cats live for 15-20 years. He is incredibly playful and has a long life still ahead of him! It breaks my heart to think that there are other healthy adult cats that get overlooked (and euthanized) because of their age.

I would also say to not rush the process. We went to two different shelters 8-10 times before we felt that we had found the right cat. We are so happy with our kitty and I know he was worth the wait.

Finally, be prepared for your new pet to be a little anxious for the first day or two. Disney cried the whole first night he was home with us, but then mellowed out considerably afterward. Be patient with your new family member. Don’t just bring them back to the shelter if they freak out when you first bring them home. They will surprise you with how much their personality will change once they start to bond with you and get comfortable in their new environment. It makes my heart melt to see how much Disney has blossomed since we brought him home. He is so confident and seems very relaxed. It’s a relationship and it takes time. Enjoy the process of getting to know your new family member.

How do you think pets can make a positive influence in people’s lives?

I think pets increase your compassion and EQ (emotional intelligence). Pets can’t communicate with words so you have to really tune and be sensitive to understand what they are trying to tell you. I read “Cat Daddy” by Jackson Galaxy (of “My Cat From Hell” fame) when I first adopted Disney and he has some amazing things to say about empathy and animals. When you can connect and care for a creature so different from yourself, it really makes you feel more present and more connected to the world.

What was it about your pet that made you want to bring him/her into your family?

Disney is the perfect cat! He was so friendly when we first met him. He also was the most fun cat to play with at the whole shelter. He made us laugh hysterically while we were playing with him.

How would you like to see the pet adoption process evolve/what changes would you make to the pet adoption process?

I wish pet adoptions could be slower paced and that shelters would give you more time to just hang out with the animal. I was really grateful when we found “Harmony House” because they really let you take your time with the cats. They also let you handle the animals more than other shelters, which really helped me better understand the animal’s temperament. I think it is great that your organization provides video footage because, oftentimes, you don’t actually get that much time to interact with an animal at the shelter before deciding if you want to adopt them. That can make the adoption process very stressful!

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your pet?

Cuddling, watching tv, reading, hunting, eating snacks. Netflix and chill, in a literal sense.

What are your goals in sharing your adoption story?

Hopefully, I will inspire someone to consider adopting an adult cat! I also would love to bring more awareness to Harmony House. They really provided an amazing adoption experience for us and really made the process less “high stakes” so we could really feel confident in our decision.

How did your pet rescue you?

Disney is like nature’s xanax. I have PTSD and he has really been such a healing presence in my life.

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