Happy 8th Birthday, Jolene!

Happy 8th Birthday, Jolene! The queen of our castle brings so much life and love to all of our lives. We are so fortunate that she chose me to adopt her. She had no way of knowing that Jude and Simon awaited her at home.

Jolene was 5 years old when she was found dumped in the parking lot of the animal shelter with a box of her kittens. She was quite literally dumped – when shelter staff arrived for the day, they found her trying to put kittens back into the box that had bounced out when the box was presumably thrown from a vehicle.

Jolene nursed her kittens and raised them well. One by one, Jolene watched her kittens be adopted. Everyone wants a kitten. They are fluffy and cute. Jolene was in the shelter for 5 long months before I came in. I wasn’t even looking for another cat. I had been looking for a cat friendly dog.

I had been visiting the animal shelter for about a year in search of a cat friendly dog that I thought would work well with Jude and Simon. I even had a name picked out – Benny. It was going to be Benny and the cats. Each time I visited the dogs, I would also visit the cats to socialize them. 

One particular day, I walked into the cat room to socialize them when I noticed a tiny orange cat in a lower cage in the corner aggressively pawing the glass. That cat wanted attention. To be honest, I tried to ignore the tiny orange cat for two reasons. First, I am heartbroken over the passing of Kip in 2013, who was orange. I had been avoiding orange cats because they reminded me of Kip. Second, this orange cat was tiny. I thought the tiny cat was a kitten. I was purposefully trying to socialize and pay attention to the shy cats and the older cats who tend to be overlooked more at shelters.

Well, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. That tiny orange cat in the corner was persistent. I walked over to see what all the fuss was about. Much to my surprise, the tiny orange cat was not a kitten at all, but a 5 year old mother whose kittens had all been adopted. I was surprised to see an orange female.

I took Jolene (known in the shelter as Mamba for how good a mother she was to her kittens), out of the cage. She hugged me immediately and would not let go. I took her to the front desk and they were surprised to see me out of the cat room with her. That is how tightly she was holding onto me. We were given a private room for some socialization and together time. I put her down – much to her protest. She did not want to be down. She wanted to sit in my lap. She just wanted to be with me. She wanted to be held. She wanted to be loved.

Jolene picked me out. I never planned on a third cat. After raising 4 boys – Kitty (OTRB), Kip (OTRB0, Jude, and Simon, I never expected a girl. Here was Jolene. Jolene has my girl baby name. 

Jolene had some health problems. Specifically a genetic disorder that effects her teeth and some issues with her ears. She had three surgeries before I brought her home. Due to the surgeries, her introduction to the boys was much slower than we normally do. We favor the slow introduction for new cats to the home to set them up for success for the best, loving relationship possible. We typically spend several weeks working on the slow introduction process.

With Jolene, it took several months to introduce her to the boys due to her surgeries. I wanted to be sure she was fully recovered before introducing her. I didn’t want the boys to play too rough with her or for the introductions to go poorly and for it to effect her recovery. We took the introductions very slowly. 

I’m glad we did. The boys both love Jolene and are very gentle with her. Jolene is truly the heart of our household. She brings so much life and joy to all of us. Jolene is exactly what we needed to complete our family. We didn’t even know it until she arrived.

Jolene is our head bird watcher and loves chattering away at the chickadees. She is with me constantly. She knows her name and comes when called. She is constantly bringing me her babies – stuffies that look like small kittens. She makes a noise when she is “transporting” her stuffies to my location. If I leave the house, I come home to a stuffie near the door. When I wake up in the morning, I find she has put her “babies” in bed with me.

Jolene is loved by both Jude and Simon. Jude and Simon can play rather rough with each other at times. However, they are both gentle when interacting with Jolene. They play and chase her, but do not tend to be as rough with Jolene as the boys are with each other.

While Simon is bigger than Jolene, he is younger. Sometimes it seems like Jolene tries to mother Simon. The way Jude interacts with Jolene reminds me of how Jude was with Kitty when Kitty had cancer. Jude will play with Jolene, but not rough, and leaves her alone when she has had enough. Jude is loving but respectful of Jolene. Jude may be the man of the house, but Jolene is truly the Queen of the castle.

I’m so glad I took a chance on the “orange kitten” who turned out to be an older mom. Jolene brings so much love and joy to all of us. She truly picked me out that day at the shelter. Yes, it’s possible she just wanted attention. Maybe she would have pawed and acted all freaked out to anyone who had walked into the room that day. Yet I can’t get over the way she hugged me when I took her out and would not let go.

I am so blessed to have Jolene in my life. The boys and I both love her. At age 5, Jolene was the oldest cat at adoption for me. I am so glad I did not overlook this older mom who has so much love for us.

The next time you are in the shelter looking to adopt, please take time to consider the older ones, the shy ones, the mothers. Everyone wants a kitten. They all have so much love to give. I’m so glad this older mom picked me out to be her forever home. 

Happy 8th Birthday, Jolene. We love you so much. 

Please remember that until August 30, you can use our code JSJR10 at happyandpolly.com to save 10% off your purchase. For every purchase using our discount code, 5% will be donated to our local rescue to help other cats just like Jolene. 

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