Adopted Cat Gives Nurse a Dose of Unconditional Love

Bob helps Alexa find balance through play, snack-break reminders, and comforting cuddles.

Alexa + Bob

Bob, a middle-aged tailless cat, is the best friend Alexa didn’t know she needed. Now he helps encourage his pet mom, an essential worker, navigate her nursing career during COVID-19.

"Bob and I may get less time together than a kitten I may have adopted, but he’s definitely making the years we will have together count by filling my days with joy, excitement and companionship. Even on the days I feel like I can’t go in to work, all I need is an encouraging meow from my boy Bob to make it out the door."

Being a nursing student is stressful. Being a nursing student during a global pandemic and transitioning to a full-time registered nurse? Nearly impossible. Starting last year, my friends and family noticed a decline in my mental health as more schoolwork piled up with what seemed like less and less time to complete it. During an impromptu trip to the Kzoo Cat Café and Rescue to cheer me up, I didn’t expect to fall in love with a 7-year-old orphan cat who immediately begged for my attention (and treats), and who happened to be missing almost his entire tail: Bob.

From the beginning, Bob was undeniably mine. Since the day I brought him home over a year ago (after the owner of the cafe pointed out with a laugh that his full name would be Bob Ross now), he’s never failed to give this tired nurse a break. He snuggles up to my chest when it is time to sleep (night shift for us!), or flops over an open book and demands attention when it’s time for a much-needed study and snack break. I’ll never forget the day I lost my first patient during a grueling 12-hour shift at the hospital. When I returned home, feeling empty and utterly defeated, I opened my apartment door expecting to be greeted by an energetic Bob as usual. Instead, my uncharacteristically calm cat led me to my bedroom, leapt up on the bed, and chirped softly at me until I curled up under the covers with him, allowing my tears to become absorbed by his coat of fur. 

In this unsteady time in history, it isn’t easy being an essential worker, whether you are a nurse like me, working at a grocery store, collecting garbage, or many of the other tasks our society would truly not function without. Despite the hardships and struggles, I’m lucky to be able to come home to my tailless cat for a rousing game of laser pointer or a quick snuggle before heading off to work. Without the Kzoo Cat Café, I’m not sure I would’ve given an older cat a chance, but through the last year with Bob I’ve come to realize that a cat’s age doesn’t define their ability to pick up on your moods or play with the spirit of a kitten. Bob and I may get less time together than a kitten I may have adopted, but he’s definitely making the years we will have together count by filling my days with joy, excitement and companionship. Even on the days I feel like I can’t go in to work, all I need is an encouraging meow from my boy Bob to make it out the door. He may have no tail, but that doesn’t stop him from being my little encourager, my snuggle bug, or the greatest blessing this nurse needed to get through both good days and bad.

Each year, the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Alexa won Kzoo Cat Café and Rescue in Kalamazoo, Michigan a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.