I adopted my online moniker Jennypurr for a two reasons – My mother speaks English as a second language. Her native tongue doesn’t have an “F” sounds, so often F’s are substituted with P’s. Thus, my first name, Jennifer, becomes Jenne-perr.

The second reason is, of course, I love cats. I make no apologies for being a blatant crazy cat lady. Have been one all my life. #cathairdontcare

We grew up with pets in the home. For as long as I can remember, we always had a cat. Later, we introduced dogs, dwarf hamsters, fish, and birds. And yes, at one point, all of them at the same time. It was chaos. Now that I’m an adult, I appreciate the trouble my poor mother went through for years, since often she was the one left to deal with the unpleasant aspects of having pets.

In my early twenties, I started dating someone who not only never had pets growing up, but was also pretty allergic to them – most of all cats. As things got serious, I realized I had to choose between the joy of pets or this person I was growing very fond of.

Ten years later…

I made my choice. But I also had a decade of  wearing down his resolve. I’m kidding – he always told me we could get a pet anytime I’m ready. Honestly, I was on the fence for so long because I hated the idea of making his daily life miserable with allergies.

But one February morning, I thought, Screw it. Let’s get a pet!  And so we went to PAWS to see our options.

How to choose a pet

As much as I love Scottish Folds and Maine Coons, I knew I wanted to get our cat from a shelter. As a first time pet owner, Jesse was worried. What if the cat’s breed is temperamental? Prone to health issues? It’s reasonable for first time pet owners to wonder this. While there are some breed traits, I’ve always found you just have to find one whose personality gels with yours.  So going in, Jesse’s plan was this:

  1. Bring our then 3 year old niece, who is a crazy cat lady in training;
  2. Enter the room of cats;
  3. Sit down and see who comes to us.

It’s a brilliant idea because you’re not the only one choosing to enter a relationship here – the pet also chooses you.

This is the guy who came up to us. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect cat that Jax. He’s got a soft Michael Jackson meow, never jumps on furniture or gets into things he’s not supposed to be in. No matter how uncomfortable he is, he’ll never swat or hiss at you – even when the vet puts a thermometer up his butt. He loves cuddling and hanging out with humans – he hates not being in the middle of the group when we have guests over. And to top it off, he’s got the biggest bushiest tail. Best of all, Jesse’s allergies weren’t as bad as we expected. In fact, I was the one with allergies at first.

We love coming home to a pet. Jax waits for us at the door, comes to bed when I turn in, loves to sit on our laps while we work. When he’s not home, it feels a little depressing. But I know he gets bored. We don’t always have a lot of time to play with him, and sometimes I swear he walks away dejected when I open my laptop.

One morning, Jesse turned to me and said, “I’m ready for another one.” At our age, this is something people say about children. Not us. After a decade and one amazing furry friend, Jesse had evolved into a Crazy Cat Man. Success!

Bringing home a second pet

Back to PAWS we went with full intentions to follow protocol – Bring the niece, sit down in a room of cats, see who comes.

It didn’t work out as planned. First off, we had another being to consider. We weren’t just bringing home a cat for ourselves, but a potential friend for Jax. So we had to be a little pickier. The new cat had to be outgoing, good with cats, good with kids, and chill enough to be comfortable with guests.

Secondly, there weren’t many cats available this time, which ultimately is good since it means many found their forever homes.

And then we saw a little runt of a guy who did nothing we were looking out for but was irresistible. He slept in the sun and seemed wholly uninterested in us. But he didn’t mind us prodding him and just basically messing with his nap. So we thought that’s a good sign. This cat is calm around strangers and doesn’t get upset or swat people who poke him while he sleeps, and even though he’s one year old, he’s tiny – he’s a forever kitten! When we held him, he cuddled in a tight ball where ever he was placed, such as the nape of your neck or in your arms. I thought that maybe he had some Ragdoll traits, which would mean a lot of lap cat cuddling. So we signed the papers and took Jasper home.

At home, we noticed things we didn’t see at the shelter. At 4.8 lbs and one year old, Jasper was frail. His coat was dull, and he was terrified all the time. Turns out he wasn’t cuddling my neck – he was frozen in fear. I’ve never seen a cat so scared of every movement and sound. It makes sense though – up until just a few days ago, he was a stray in California. Then he was snatched up, neutered, shipped to Seattle, and left in room with other scared cats. PAWS does an extraordinary job at providing a safe and comfortable environment for their cats, but understandably the whole process is a jarring experience.

Getting comfortable at home

It was hard to take our time introducing him into our lives. But after just a couple of days, he began to wander out to investigate his surroundings, and most of all, to play. Yet, even though he’d play with us, he’d also hiss every time we even looked in his direction. Eventually, his kitten playfulness won and he began to join us every evening for a round of Chase Jax Around the House. Now they’re inseparable – to Jax’s dismay I’m sure.

Jasper has fallen head over heels for Jax. Where ever Jax is, Jasper is just two steps behind. Whatever Jax is doing, Jasper needs to do too. Jax has been accommodating and playful with the new guy – though I notice that Jasper does get on his nerves at times with his relentless wrestling. Jasper has warmed up to Jesse and I, but still hisses at us when we walk by. But then he’ll immediately rub against my leg. So I don’t really know what to do with those mixed signals. What’s most important is that the two cats get a long and seem to have bonded. While we had some meddling moments, for the most part we let them get to know each other at their own pace. Their personalities are compatible, so it didn’t take very long at all. We’re very lucky to have these two in our home.