Adopted Cat Brings a Family Together—Even When They’re Thousands of Miles Apart

Michael didn’t plan to adopt a cat. Then Matzah Ball changed everything.

Michael + Matzah

A chance visit to a cat café changed everything for Michael —and Matzah Ball. Thanks to his adopted feline friend, this family has forged new friendships and deeper connections with each other.

"Everything is better in our lives because all roads lead to Matzah Ball. Knowing that he will be home to greet and snuggle us makes a tough day at work better, returning from a vacation sweeter, and gives us all the reasons to stay in to watch movies together."

We never intended to adopt. On a whim, we were enticed by snoozing cats in a window and macarons so we walked into a cat café. We had a great time, but as we were leaving, we saw him. A ball of fur trying to shrink out of existence. When I reached out a hand to pet him, he began to play. I was taken aback by his response. Before I knew it, I whispered to him, “You don’t know it now, but I hope we’ll be friends for many years.” But we weren’t there to adopt a cat.

Adopted Cat Matzah

We had zero cat experience, but we couldn’t stop thinking of that scared cat. We learned his name is Matzah Ball. We returned several times to see him, but each time we were told that he was in a foster home. So we continued thinking about him.

I thought a lot about my last words to him and decided to start fostering to help other scared cats. We learned during the interview that Matzah Ball needed to be relocated so we jumped at the opportunity! The moment we took him home, the game was over. It didn’t matter that we never had a cat before, our foster experience immediately became an adoption.

Adopted Cat Matzah

Today, Matzah Ball lives as a king and we worship him. Everything is better in our lives because all roads lead to Matzah Ball. Knowing that he will be home to greet and snuggle us makes a tough day at work better, returning from a vacation sweeter, and gives us all the reasons to stay in to watch movies together. Even when he’s up to mischief, he sneaks into our bed in the wee hours of the morning and all is forgiven.

He’s a people’s cat. When we are stressed or upset, he holds us with his small paws and purrs to improve our mood. This sweetness has turned him into a marriage counselor. My wife and I compromise more and have fewer disagreements because Matzah Ball encourages us to work together for him. We even find ourselves spending more time together just so we could snuggle with him.

Adopted Cat Matzah

My toddler niece lives 7,000 miles away and I used to worry that we wouldn’t have a close relationship. She FaceTimes Matzah Ball daily and as she tells him about her life, I get to know more about her. He’s brought us closer to our family on the other side of the world — it turns out that cat stories transcend distance.

Adopted Cat Matzah

Matzah has even helped us make new friends. By coincidence, we met fellow cat parents in our apartment building. Talking about our cats turned into visiting said cats, then cat sitting, which has created genuine friendships.

We never planned to adopt a cat but are so glad that adopting has improved our relationships with our family and brought us new friends. As promised, Matzah Ball is going to be my friend for many years and so much more.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Michael won Meow Parlour Cats, Inc. in New York, New York a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.