One summer afternoon in May of 2017, I was casually browsing the adoption page of my local animal shelter website. I often pass the time looking at adorable animals on the internet. Their cute furry faces always make me smile when I am feeling down.
I never expected to see the loveable face of a cat that I could not bear to live without.
I read his bio. I looked at his pictures. I was lost in the depths of is beautiful green eyes. Eyes that seemed to evoke an almost otherworldly sense of wisdom. Before I knew it, I was filling out an adoption application and calling the shelter hoping he was still available for adoption.
That was three years ago, and adopting Graham was the greatest decision I have ever made. I signed the adoption papers on May 29, 2017.
Graham is a domestic shorthair brown tabby who was born on August 15, 2011. At the time of his adoption, he was six years old and was considered to be an older cat. As the wonderful women who worked at the shelter explained it to me, potential pet parents in favor of younger kittens and puppies often overlooked older animals. To me, Graham was perfect. Nothing would dissuade me from making him a part of my family. Not that anyone was trying to. The people at the shelter were thrilled that I took an interest in him because this was his second time at the same shelter. He was adopted by an older man a few years ago who at the time had recently passed away. As Graham had nowhere else to go, he was brought back to the shelter.
During his time at his previous home, Graham experienced a unique situation. It was by no means ideal. Graham’s previous owner was a hoarder, and one of the things that he hoarded was cats.
Graham was well fed—perhaps a bit overfed—and had no illnesses, but that did not mean he left that environment completely unscathed.
Graham is very reserved and timid, and living amongst the chaos of twenty or more cats left him with lasting emotional scars. The shelter workers explained to me that they believed he suffers from PTSD. Every time he was placed in an enclosure with other cats, he would try to hide and make himself as small as possible. Wide pupils displayed the depth of his fear. He would be better suited to a home without other animals. He was in luck; Graham would become the first and only indoor cat I had ever owned.
I have written at length about my struggles with trauma and PTSD. Hearing Graham’s story broke my heart and made me even more determined to help him. In a sense, I hoped we could help each other to heal from our traumatic pasts.
In the three years since adopting him, I feel we have both made great strides toward healing. At my lowest points during my ongoing battle with depression, it is him for whom I do my best to survive. I live because he needs me to. He needs me to love him, feed him, and take care of him, so even on my worst days, I reach out to him as my reason for staying alive.