Cat Family Story #33: Ava
What is the name of your cat?
Where is your cat family located in?
We are in Missouri, USA.
What is the breed of your cat?
Ava is an American & Oriental Shorthair Mix.
How old is your cat?
She is 3 years old.
Where can we find your cat on social media?
On Instagram @patch.upwith.ava
In a few short words/sentences, tell us about your cat's personalities.
The best way to describe Ava is sweet, loyal, and trusting. She's very much a one family cat, and selective about what guests she'll allow into her inner circle. But, if we're out on walks/hikes/road trips, she happily accepts admiration and chin scratches.
Ava's definitely not a lap cat, but she must be involved in overseeing everything happening around the house. She sleeps above our heads every night - and if you need a gaming buddy, you can bet you'll find her curled up next to you! If she sees we're busy, she'll simply hang out and nap. But as soon as we get up - she'll yawn, stretch, and essentially ask, "What're we doing next? And do I get to be involved?"
Strangely enough, Ava absolutely does not like other cats - but dogs are a different story. As long as they're friendly (and respectful, so mind where the nose goes), she'll happily go on walks and share the house with her drooly buddies.
While Ava is not naturally confident, she is amazingly trusting. That trust has been built up through all her adventures with us, and it's been wonderful watching her confidence grow!
How has your cat transformed your life from the moment you've met her till now?
When we first got Ava, I worked day shifts and my husband worked nights. Some days Adam and I would only see each other 30 minutes in a day, and only in passing. Ava would keep us company until the other person was able to come home. She's been our de-stressor buddy since Day 1, and a reason to go out for more walks and build her (and our!) socialization and adventure skills.
Exploring the outdoors with her, we've had to work on our powers of observation and change our perspective. Cats are capable of so much, they are adaptable and so very intelligent. But, we also became so much more aware of our environment. We live in a city, and it suddenly became our responsibility to keep her safe and happy in an environment made for people - not cats and dogs. Exploring with her has taught us to be more observant about how she's feeling and has made us so much more aware of the environment around us.
Ava views the world from a whole different perspective, and she brings that perspective with her when we go outdoors. Indoors, weekly chores are so much more enjoyable with her company, and she brings this element of fun to even the little things. She is present at every moment, and she is still teaching us how to slow down and connect.
What does your cat mean to you?
Ava is our first family member. When my Adam and I married we moved to a new city, which was hours away from our family and friends. While I brought my handicapped turtles and an antique hedgehog to the marriage, Ava was Adam and my first family decision together.
Ever since then, Ava's been an integral part of our lives, and she's included in everything from building furniture, selecting house decorations, and indoor gardening to our hiking, camping, and road trips. After long days of work, she's the first one to greet us at the door, and the first one to tell us it's time for bed. She's our little buddy, whether we're gaming, working, or studying. She simply wants to be with us, and that's a gift that we want to return to her in the fullest.
How did you and your cat first meet? Tell it to us in the form of a short story.
Nothing good happens after 2 AM. At least, that's what we're told. This may be the exception.
Adam and I moved to a new city shortly after we got married. I brought with me my handicapped turtles and antique hedgehog, but if you've ever tried cuddling a hedgehog (or a turtle for that matter) ... it's a little difficult. And our hedgehog was a grumpy old lady, so forget the cuddles.
I could barely remember a time in my life that our family didn't have a cat, but here I was in a new city with my family cat hundreds of miles away (it didn't help that I worked at a veterinary hospital and saw all these adoptable kitties every single day).
Unfortunately, Adam is allergic to cats. He sees a cat and wait for it ... and ... Ah. Here comes the itchy eyes, the congestion, and oh yes, the sneezing. We had looked into hypoallergenic cat breeds, but we wanted to look at adoption options first, and honestly, as newlyweds it simply wasn't in the budget.
So we told ourselves we could wait.
Well, Adam told us we could wait. So I did. Kinda. I'd wait till he went to bed and THEN search every shelter website. I technically waited.
Then one night, one very special night, bingo. I saw The Kitten. Well, kittens, there were two - a black kitten and a tortie. The kittens were labeled "Oriental Shorthair Mix" and were the most bat-eared, lanky awkward-looking cats I'd ever laid eyes on. And why was I falling head over heels? Oriental shorthairs were known as one of the most hypoallergenic cat breeds in the world ... and if somehow the stars aligned and there was a litter of little oriental mix kittens available? While the breed may have just been a cute guess by the shelter workers, I was willing to take the chance.
I slammed through the adoption application right away then rolled over and shook Adam awake.
Now, no one wants to be woken up at 2 AM. But, it's the perfect time for a sales pitch.
"As soon as you get home tomorrow, we're going straight to the animal shelter"
"We're going to see a cat."
"................Fine. Can I go back to sleep now?"
The next day we both got home from work and headed straight to the animal shelter. It was ten minutes to closing when we arrived, they were just locking up. I rushed up to the doors and asked if we could please, please, oh pretty please just take a quick look at two kittens we'd seen on the website. Did we fill out an application already? Yes, just last night! Reluctantly, they let us in and took us to the cattery - but "you only have ten minutes!"
It took us less than that. Adam was handed the black kitten, I was handed the tortie. Oh, that tortie, she was just so sassy, so sweet, and the way she looked at me, oh she was a heart breaker alright. After a minute with our respective kittens, we traded. I didn't want to give up the tortie, but would Adam feel the same way? The black kitten was so playful and adorable, and we had talked about getting a black kitten after all.
He shifted the little tortie kitten in his arms, and as he looked down at her, the little sassbucket reached up a paw and smacked him. Point blank. Right on the nose. Then she gave a little cat grin and tucked herself into his arms. He looked up at me, zero hesitation, "This one."
And that's how we first met Ava.
Though, we almost didn't get to adopt her because the next day when Adam went to pick her up from the shelter he asked for the "calico kitten". He will never forget their shock and horror when they corrected him and said "SIR. She is a TORTOISESHELL."
What do you think your cat thinks of you?
We definitely think Ava views us as her family members.
Your cat is part of your family. What are some things they do that make you think that she considers you part of theirs?
Ava is the first to greet us at the door, she wants to be involved in everything that's happening - whether we're potting a new plant or putting away groceries - and even if we're busy working or studying, she'll be somewhere nearby just spending the day with us.
What are some accounts your cats like to follow on Instagram?
Why do you feel that it is important to show the world that Cats are Family?
I think it's important because I've had family members ask, "Why do you even have a cat?" or people say "Cats don't care about you." I also think it's important because there is a stigma to cats and people who care about cats.
The reality is, cats are better at boundaries than most people, and they have higher expectations as to their well being and self-care. This means that cats don't settle. But, if a cat loves you - that's it. You've won the lottery. You can go home. Loving a cat shouldn't be something someone has to be ashamed of talking about - after all, we aren't ashamed of talking about how much we love our dogs. Let's change up our "normal".
Over to you...
YOU can start making a difference to Cats and their families everywhere!
Join the Cats are family campaign and SHARE your cat family story with the world.