It has been over 18 years since we’ve had a kitten in our lives. It’s also been that long since we adopted an animal solely as a household pet, and not a “working” pet as part of Teaching Creatures. For almost a year, our son has been asking for a kitten, having only experienced older cats, and wanting something youthful and exuberant to play with. Our sweet cat Small turned 18 in August, and prefers to spend his days quietly lounging on the furniture, nibbling a few morsels, and getting snuggles, NOT playing.
I am a firm believer in serendipity, and many of my animals have come to me in fateful ways. Bolt is no exception. Our first opportunity to adopt Bolt came back in early September, shortly after our cousin found him under her deck in Brooklyn, NY. The pictures she posted on Facebook were adorable: He was a perfect mix of two of our beloved cats, Slyder (8/17/1992 – 3/29/2010) and Small. It seemed meant to be, but in the end we decided we weren’t ready for a new kitten yet, and Bolt was adopted by another family.
Small (L) and Slyder (R)
Slyder and Small shared a special bond.
Fast forward three months. Once again, our cousin posts pictures of Bolt on Facebook, explaining that the family that adopted him discovered an allergy and need to give him up. Kismet! This time, there is no doubt in my mind that Bolt is meant to be ours. And so our Christmas this year has been blessed with a wish come true in the form of a little black and white ball of energy and fun. Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Bolt and Small. Happy Holidays to all!
Bolt and Small. New bonds to be made!
People often ask me if I grew up in a home of “exotic” pets. Did I have a snake, turtle or lizard as a kid? Did I bring home frogs and newts from the local pond ? Did I keep bugs in jars in my room? The honest answer is “no.”
I had cats and a dog. I caught grasshoppers and fireflies in my yard, but always released them by the end of the day. I did try to “keep” a wooly bear caterpillar for a while, but other than that, I had pretty run-of-the-mill pets.
Isis, a snow corn snake (1992-2006)
I didn’t adopt my first snake until I was well into my 20s. He came to me as “Elvis,” a name given to him by his previous owners. “Elvis” quickly turned into “Isis”, when I discovered that he was a she. Isis was a two year old corn snake, and she remained my only exotic pet until I started acquiring animals for Teaching Creatures in 2003. She was one of the original Teaching Creatures.
Terra, a ball python
Another was Terra. Terra was a four-year-old ball python when I adopted her in August of 2003. It was a classic story: A family had purchased her at a pet store for their 12 year old son, and after three years or so, his interest in her had waned. He was driving, working and otherwise occupied with his high school career, and his parents noticed he wasn’t taking her out, cleaning her cage or feeding her on a regular basis, and decided it was time they found a new home for her. She was the first animal I adopted for Teaching Creatures, and after 10 years, she remains a very active part of my programs. With good care and a little luck, she will continue to be so for years to come.