Banks County Opinions...

JULY 14, 2004


Column

By:Kerri Testement
The Banks County News
July 14, 2004

Adopting a cat can be rewarding
It had been years since a cat was in my home.
But after ending my years as an apartment-dweller and purchasing a new house, I felt it was finally time to have a cat again. My husband, who also enjoys cats, was just as eager to have a cat.
We decided to get a kitten, because it had been years since we had the joy of raising a young cat. My husband and I have both had older cats throughout our childhoods and raising a kitten seemed like a new challenge.
We knew that the PetSmart in Buford only adopted its cats on Saturdays through a Winder-based humane society called Pup & Cat Co. Volunteers keep the cats and kittens in their homes until they are adopted, since Pup & Cat Co. doesn’t have a shelter.
My husband was instantly drawn to a spunky kitten playing with her siblings. While her fur wasn’t the prettiest among the litter, the little “mutt cat” certainly had charm.
We thought selecting a cat through the charity-driven organization would be simple — pay a fee and walk out with your new pet. But, the volunteers at Pup & Cat Co. wanted to ensure every animal was being adopted to a loving home.
A lengthy questionnaire asked us about our animal ownership past, our views on giving animals up for adoption and whether we owned a house or rented an apartment. One family, who was adopting from the same litter, was told to get a copy of their renter’s policy before Pup & Cat Co. would approve the adoption.
Pup & Cat Co. doesn’t want these adopted animals returning again, one volunteer told us. For that matter, the organization also spays and neuters its animals before adoption day.
After paying the $100 adoption fee (which covers Pup & Cat Co.’s costs to house, feed and send its animals to a veterinarian before adoption), we bought more toys, food and supplies for our kitten, named Biscuit.
Biscuit is indeed a frisky cat. She’ll chase shadows on the walls, stomp on any bug in the house and gnaw her toys raw.
It certainly wasn’t easy with a new kitten in the house, at first.
Biscuit used to paw at the bedroom door around 4 a.m. every morning, demanding to play with us. She constantly craved our attention, even if we were in the bathroom. She would cry horribly the instant we closed the garage door to leave the house.
In just a few weeks, I’ve taken her to the Jefferson Animal Hospital for her follow-up shots and check-ups. She’s also had her first cold and now she’s being treated for ear mites.
Indeed, having a kitten gives one a small sense of what having a child is like.
But, the little kitten is growing quickly. She’s no longer that awkward kitten who couldn’t run in a straight line down the hallway. She doesn’t scratch at the door in the early morning anymore; instead, she’s learned to quietly stay in our bedroom at night.
She’s now learning how to beg to be let outdoors in the most cute way possible — meowing a few times, then tumbling in front of the door and if that doesn’t work, she’ll still climb the curtains (that usually sends me running to her).
I still manage to go home for lunch on most work days, just to play with her for a few minutes.
Cats and kittens aren’t for those who can’t manage enough time every day with their pet, won’t commit to providing the necessary health care for them or view them only as “cute play toys” and send them back to an adoption agency when they can’t deal with their pets’ habits.
Having a cat, especially a kitten, requires all of that and more. Just think wisely before adopting a cat.
Kerri Testement is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

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Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
July 14, 2004

Tricycles and blocks
“I’m right behind you. I’m catching up with you.”
I hear him yell as we round the corner. He’s on his little John Deere tricycle. I’m on my big adult tricycle.
My 2-year-old nephew, Jake, and I have a new favorite past-time. We go for rides on our tricycles. I’m sure it’s a funny site to see us racing around the yard on our “trikes.”
The only problem is that Jake never gets tired of riding round and round the yard, while I do. My legs start to ache after a few laps. Not Jake. He never gets tired.
I was so excited a few years ago when I discovered adult tricycles. I’m one of the few people in the world who never learned to ride a bicycle. I realize that little granny ladies and toddlers can ride bicycles, but not me.
It probably won’t be too long before Jake outgrows his tricycle and leaves me behind and moves on to a real bicycle. Until then, I’ll be spending as much time as possible on my tricycle. Jake knows I’m always ready to play with him. When he sees me pull up from work, he starts doing his happy dance and heads for his tricycle.
Another childhood activity I’ve gotten really good at is building blocks. It’s been at least three decades since I’ve played with wooden blocks but I’m making up for lost time now. I build houses with the blocks and then Jake gets on his tricycle and knocks them down. He loves it.
We’ve also spent a lot of time this summer in the garden. Jake has inherited a love of gardening. My Papa Clark (Howard Clark) loved gardening. I have many memories of seeing him out in his over-alls working in his garden. My mother also loves gardening and freezing and canning those fresh vegetables. Jake has inherited this love of gardening and spends lots of time in our garden gathering squash, tomatoes and cucumbers. I have never seen a child get so excited about squash. It’s so funny to see.
Jake even enjoys shelling butterbeans. He helped me with a pan over the weekend, although he kept calling them “peanuts.” I would shell them and he would take a handful and add them to our pan.
Spending time with young children is one of the many joys of life. They can make you laugh and forget your troubles in no time at all. Whether we’re in the garden or building blocks or on our tricycles, Jake and I are enjoying our time together. You can tell from the smile on my face and the happy dance he does when he sees me.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.


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