a 2nd cat-adoption story


June is National Adopt a Cat Month.

All three of our cats are rescues.

Our dear Lila (Princess Lila Crankypants) was born in a friend’s barn and came home with us — sixteen years ago — when she was just eight weeks old. In last week’s blog post, I shared the adoption story of our sweet Leo (Emperor Leopold the Magnificent).

This is Olive’s story.

Olive kitten loves stretching out and getting comfy.


About six weeks after saying goodbye to little Max kitten, we went away for a few days, on a trip we’d been planning for several months. Whenever we’re out of town, a friend who lives nearby stops in once a day to take care of our cats. But, of course, they get a lot more “alone” time than they normally would.

When we came home, we realized that our super-high-energy Leo kitten hadn’t been getting his usual hours (and hours and hours) of interactive play time. No mousie fetch, no wand toy, not even mom and dad to jump on and climb on.

He was, quite frankly, desperate for someone to play with. We tried our best, but he needed a fellow cat companion during the hours we weren’t home. And Lila wanted nothing to do with him.

We realized that our initial theory about the ideal number of cats had been correct, and that we needed to find (another) second kitten.

Coincidentally, and thankfully, a friend happened to ask whether we wanted a kitten, as she had recently rescued one from the barn where she boarded her horse. I admit that I hesitated at first because this kitten was a girl, and we’d been hoping for a second boy kitten. But A.J. said, “Let’s adopt her!”

So just a few weeks after realizing that one elderly cat and one overly energetic kitten in the same house would definitely not work, we brought little Olive home.

All we know about her life before she found us is this: she showed up — a teeny, tiny baby — at our friend’s barn, right after a severe thunderstorm blew through the area. Whoever found her kept her at the barn, but left her cooped up in a crate without much proper care. When the weather turned cold that winter, our friend rescued her from the crate and took her home, but she had to be confined to one room most of the time, as our friend has two dogs and is allergic to cats.

When she came to us, Olive was about six months old but was still a scrawny little thing.

We kept her in the guest room for a few days, took her for a checkup (despite everything, she was perfectly healthy) and her shots, and then took her back to the vet a few days later for her, um, procedure. After another week in the guest room while her stitches healed, she and Leo were anxious to meet each other. They had, of course, been playing footsie through the space under the door for most of the time she was shut away.

Within a day of being introduced to each other, the two kittens were playing together and seemed to have become immediate best friends.

They go on galloping rampages through the house together and share their toy mousies and ambush each other for intense bouts of wrestlemania. When they wrestle, Olive often grumbles (it’s not quite a growl) and then “bark” at Leo. We think she learned to do this because her first playmates were our friend’s dogs, but regardless of where or how she picked up the habit, it’s really funny and doesn’t deter Leo in the least.

Where Leo is a sweet-tempered people-pleaser, and a bit of a sensitive soul, Olive is a fearless, independent little cat.

She sits in the tallest windows and at the top of the tallest cat tower, and she jumps up on the tops of bookcases. Her favorite places to be are usually up high, where she can watch everything going on below.

Olive kitten, a beautiful, exotic-looking cat, loves to be tall.

She’s not a snuggly girl, but she’s the only one of our three that will allow us to pick her up. And at least once a day, when we’re lying down, she’ll sit on someone’s chest and purr while we rub her face. She also loves to sleep on her back, completely stretched out, with her fuzzy, spotted belly exposed to the world. In her case — unlike her brother, who loves belly rubs — this is most definitely not an invitation to rub her tummy. Rather, she helps make the case that cats who do this are feeling safe, comfortable, and contented in their surroundings. I’d say she’s found her happy place.


Hi, there! I’m Jennifer, and I help too-busy-to-read bookworms and those who want to *be* readers maximize life’s simple joys — like reading a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (mentally and physically) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

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W. Somerset Maugham

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Marcel Proust

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Helene Hanff

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Elizabeth von Arnim

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Neil Gaiman

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Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim