Usually, we ask Humans to type words on our behalf but today we are going to make an exception and let a Human speak! Elena is an inspiring Lady and we are so very lucky to have met her. We would love to share her heart warming story about Nike. If you are considering adoption vs. breeding, this might help you make the decision.
THERE ARE NO UGLY KITTIES!!!
The Tail of Nike
On a chilly December morning in 2009, we – my parents, my godmother / aunt, and myself – made a pilgrimage to the Lowell Humane Society in Massachusetts. We’re Greek folks, and we often travel in packs. In fact, our Greek fleet that day was considered to be smaller than usual. We all wore our thick winter jackets, braced for the cold, and the tough decision in front of us.
My previous cat had passed away the summer before. Claudia, a purebred Turkish Angora, had been literally dropped on my family’s doorstep after being rejected from a hectic, multiple pet home. Though she remained timid all her life, Claudia proved to be a wonderful, regal companion – all by chance! So while I wasn’t overly suspicious, not exactly, I was prepared to look for signs. That day at the shelter, I felt as though the universe would tell me when I’d found the right cat.
There’s no way to walk into an animal shelter and not experience heartbreak. Wonderful pets, eager for a home, stare out at you from sparse cages. I wanted to adopt them all. My adoption seemed especially meaningful at the humane society, where unclaimed pets are killed. I’d read an online article saying to pay attention to how a cat acted in its cage; the most desirable cats, the article argued, would be clean, bright-eyed, and responsive.
One after another, I held different cats in my arms. “How about this one?” my aunt would ask. “How about this one?”
I found myself terribly allergic to a friendly tortoise shell; a beautiful white kitten pushed me away, uninterested; a black kitten with a white dot on its nose just didn’t feel right.
While surveying the cages, my aunt received a phone call. My cousins and uncle were in Rhode Island that day, wrestling in a high school tournament. During a match, another wrestler had broken my older cousin’s arm, and he had to be rushed to the hospital. For several minutes, my aunt ducked into a corner between the cages, talking quickly but softly into the phone.
At the news, my parents and I were ready to leave. “No, ” my aunt said. “I think it’s better that I’m here -- to take my mind off it.”
All of us, troubled, resumed the search. I started to give up hope. My poor cousin! Meanwhile, other shelter patrons held their newfound feline partners to their cheeks and lined up by the adoption desk.
Then I noticed a black and white kitten curled in the shape of a cheese wheel sleeping right next to the litter box. “How about this one?” my aunt asked. I started to protest – though the room was packed with people and noise, the kitten seemed lethargic. I thought of the article I’d read. But my aunt pried the kitten from her sleep and plopped her into my arms. A moment passed.
Then the kitten started to heave in its chest as though it had a hairball. In the tense aftermath of learning that my cousin was injured, her throat hiccups made us all laugh as I hurriedly set her back down in the cage.
Just then, a dog from the canine section of the shelter had to walk through the cat room with its new family. We all had to wait while they passed. Surprising myself, I said, “I’d like to hold that cat again.” I adjusted the kitten in my arms so that I could look at her face. Her paper collar read Jasmine.
I held Jasmine for several minutes, examining her. Her left eye was completely closed; when I asked what had happened, the shelter volunteer explained that Jasmine had a cat version of a cold, which spread quickly through shelter populations.
You can’t condemn a cat for one hairball. I considered Jasmine more carefully.
With comedic timing, Jasmine let out a deceptively delicate sneeze, spraying kitten snot all over the shoulder of my jacket. My mother, horrified, immediately reached out to wipe the mucus off me, but I stopped her.
Simultaneously charmed and grossed out, I shifted Jasmine in my arms, feeling how little and soft she was, and how warm. I touched my lips to the space between her ears. She purred -- after wiping her nose on my jacket and letting out a few more sniffs. Covered in kitty snot, my heart began to sing.
When I held Jasmine out to my aunt, she leaned forward and planted a kitty kiss on her cheek. That was the final sign; any cat who instinctively loved my aunt would be loved by me.
Even though I enjoy jasmine tea, as well as the Disney character from Aladdin, the name “Jasmine,” seemed all wrong for this kitten. No, this little sneezer seemed smart and sly as a fox; I had no doubt that no matter what battle she fought, she’d always win and get her way.
Nike. Nike was the goddess of victory, and a close deity to the goddess Athena, who reigned over wisdom, warfare, and crafts. Moreover, the Greek word for cold is pronounced “see-nike.”
According to the article I’d read, this kitten was all wrong. As I held her, she blinked her good eye gave another sweet “achoo!”
I looked to my parents.
“I think this is the one,” I said.
To find out what happened next and what Nike and her Human are up to now, you can follow them on Twitter @NikeTheCat
Or check out their awesome blog: This Might Be True !!!