Let me begin with a tale of a young girl who was very allergic to cats and of a cat named Mobotse. Being around cats, or even just their dander, made her itch and sneeze to no end. The poor girl realized that petting cats was out of the question. Luckily, she preferred dogs and was not allergic to them. Around high school, her cat allergy miraculously subsided! She even lived with a cat owned by her roommate for a few months. Then, around 25, her cat allergy began to return, culminating in an interesting night visiting her former roommate and cat where both eyes swelled up like balloons. From that point on, she avoided cats as much as possible. Later, she eventually found herself living with another roommate with a cat, but luckily Amor spent most of her time outside. She requested that her new family in Peace Corps not have a cat. She probably should have realized then that she was obviously going to get a family with a cat.
Mobotse was adopted as a young kitten by a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). She lived a different life than most of the cats around her. In the village, cats typically lived entirely outside and ate leftovers. This may sound strange to some, but please remember that here, cats and dogs serve to protect the home and keep away pests rather than to only be pets. It’s a much better life for a dog or a cat to have a family than to live alone on the streets.
The golden-and-white kitten lived well on dry cat food, sleeping and eating in the PCV’s room and spending her days wandering around the yard. When that PCV left, she was instantly adopted by the next PCV. She grew into a beautiful cat with a loving mom and family. Then, along came a new PCV who was allergic to cats. She was unceremoniously booted from her warm home to live outside full- time because the PCV’s allergies were too bad to risk her coming near her bed. The host family still continued to pet her and feed her a mix of dry food and leftovers, but the new PCV mainly avoided her. Chickens and dogs from around the village would eat her food.
One night, the PCV heard her crying outside her door. She had curled up inside a tiny cardboard box, mewing pitifully in the cold air. The PCV felt terribly guilty, and built her a larger, insulated cardboard home the next day. After a little coaxing, she finally got Mobotse inside. Over the next few weeks, the PCV slowly began to warm up to the cat. She ordered some allergy medicine and began to spend time petting and playing with Mobotse, always making sure to wash her hands thoroughly afterward. The PCV’s host mom had the brilliant idea to bring Mobotse’s food bowl inside the main house, where the chickens and dogs wouldn’t go, and Mobotse began to gain some of her weight back. The PCV began to look forward to spending time with Mobotse after a long day and grew very fond of her.
And that’s the story of how Mobotse the cat decided that, despite my allergies and initial hesitations, she would adopt me as her human. It’s still a challenge some days. Cats are cats, and that means she does things that drive me batty at times. But I’m still grateful that this little one decided I was worth it!
Have any thoughts on this post or want to share a story about your pet? Write it in the comments!