Adopted Cat Hears the Call of the Wild

This nature-lover met her match the day Pima walked into her life.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Carolyn + Pima

I moved to Arizona for the beauty of the desert. I’ve always been a nature lover; nature is how I relax and find peace. The cat I adopted, Pima, has a bit of the wild in her. She was rescued after running with a pack of cats on the streets of Tempe (for how long I’m not sure), so she had been surviving outdoors. 

"Once home, Pima paced the house like a small mountain lion. She loved all our windows and glass doors and watched the birds, squirrels, and lizards for hours."

Pima is a small, beautiful ring-tailed torbie cat with a fiery spirit. When I was at Fearless Kitty Rescue, she was the last cat to reveal herself and walked a wide circumference around the room. The caregivers said she was almost unapproachable. But when I sat down on the floor and called to her, she came right to me and put her front paws on my lap. 

Once home, Pima paced the house like a small mountain lion. She loved all our windows and glass doors and watched the birds, squirrels, and lizards for hours. But it was clear she was tightly wound and pent up. If I had to live the rest of my days never experiencing the outdoors, I would suffer deeply. I could see that Pima needed what I need. She chose me for a reason. So I decided I would try harness training her.

The first couple attempts were stressful, so I started by just sitting with her on the patio furniture. Eventually, we began taking walks together on our one-acre property. When I bring out the harness and leash now, Pima comes running. She sits on my lap like a well-trained cat and lifts her left paw up as I slip the harness around her.

I am aware that there is danger out there in our yard. Rattlesnakes, coyotes and bobcats are not uncommon in these parts. But we go as a team, and I am the extra set of eyes. I walk stealthily and quietly, because walking a cat is nothing like walking a dog. It requires a meditative attitude. It is more about waiting, watching and listening.

On our walks, Pima and I disappear into the environment and become one with it. I squat as she crouches or lies, and we both silently watch the world go by. Sometimes there is a lizard to chase, but I never let her catch them. She is just so deeply grateful to lie under a bush, roll in the dirt, and smell the scents around her.

And then I see it happen: she mellows in the stillness. She relaxes her gaze and takes that deep breath and slips into a zone of utter and absolute contentment. I get teary-eyed sometimes, knowing that we are sharing something so special. Because I am giving my cat what she needs to be fulfilled and happy, it makes me feel the exact same way.

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 Carolyn Weinhold won Fearless Kitty Rescue in Arizona a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.