I qualified for a service dog a year after my injury but by the time it came to working with one to assist me, I soon realized I would actually lose the independence I had gained and create more work for both me and my mom. So, I chose to let him go to someone who needed him more.
Yet, I still felt I wanted the companionship of a pet. I always had cats growing up and loved them. I also knew my mom loved cats as well and missed not having one. So in the spring of 2016, I went with my mom to the Richmond SPCA – just to look at kittens. I found one that was really cute and playful and thought I might like to get her. But mom encouraged me to sleep on it first before deciding. Well, 24 hours later I still wanted the kitten – but she was gone. However, my mom found an eight-week old kitten while we were there that was quite spunky and full of personality. She quickly put my name on the list to get to know him as it seemed so many visitors there were also admiring him. He charmed us both immediately and this time there was no waiting on making a decision – he came home with us that very night! He also left with a name – Stormy. We were soon to find out how aptly named he was!
Stormy jumped right out of his box as soon as he got to my apartment and acted like he owned the place! He was incredibly wheelchair friendly right from the beginning and loved to go on rides with me throughout the apartment. Stormy even slept in my chair!
Though Stormy was very loving and affectionate, when he wanted to play – watch out! Fortunately for me, it was my mom he would go after. I don’t know how many times he scratched and bit her while having fun. Of course, she did not find it fun at all! Stormy would also run frantically through my apartment like a crazed kitten! My mom began to think something was wrong with him. She had grown up with cats all her life and had never seen one act quite like Stormy did. It turns out that many kittens/cats display this type of behavior. The answer to the problem according to the vet was to get another kitten. We decided one crazy kitty was enough! Mom soon let Stormy know she was the alpha cat and began to work on some of his bad behaviors. Sometimes it worked – sometimes it didn’t.
But as wild as he could be, Stormy’s antics kept us entertained and laughing! He is notorious for climbing into any open drawer or cupboard door. I don’t know how many times he got shut in the refrigerator because he was so quick to get in it while our heads were turned. Or he would jump in a kitchen cupboard and get shut in. But his meows would always let us know exactly where he was. One day he even jumped into the washing machine. Thank goodness it was front loading and very apparent he was in there! Stormy also loved to turn on the kitchen faucet and play in the water coming out of it. Who knew cats loved water?
Stormy matured over time but he never warmed up to other people and still played rather aggressively from time to time with my mom. However, he learned very quickly that he would get squirted with water if he tried to attack. After a few squirts, all mom had to do was hold up the water bottle and he would run! Though Stormy did not like people to pet him, he was curious enough to be interested in whomever visited. But it had to be on his terms. There was a friend of my mom’s that (for some reason) he really warmed up to. The two times she has visited us, Stormy immediately let her pet him. She has no animals and we could never figure out what it was about her that he liked so much. Yes, she is sweet and kind but most of the people that visited are as well. If only he would act that way with all my guests!
One night, I had friends over to play a board game. Stormy decided he was going to plunk himself right smack in the middle of the board and would continually jumped back up every time we took him off. Finally, I just banished him to my bedroom. There was so much noise coming from that room you would have thought he was back there throwing a temper tantrum! Then it got quiet and the next thing we knew he was parading down the hallway quite pleased with himself. That darn cat had figured out how to open the bedroom door!
While Stormy would visit me after I went to bed, he slept with my mom until she moved into her own place. After that, he began to sleep in my bed more and more – waking me up in the early morning hours with his meowing and “getting into trouble “antics. Most anything on a dresser or countertop he would push off onto the floor creating a loud noise! Stormy even learned how to turn on my Roomba vacuum and would do that at about 4:00am! It now sits disconnected from its charging station.
Living with Stormy has definitely been quite an adventure. There is never a dull moment with him around. Stormy has not only been a comfort to me but to my mom as well. He is a handsome cat who will likely always be full of mischief and trouble. But the love and companionship he gives supersedes his naughtiness! If you love animals, pets can be extremely therapeutic after an injury or illness. I have never regretted getting him and hope he is around for many years!
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0518/0661