Adopted Kitten is 10-Year-Old’s Constant Companion

A kitten named Haven brought her new family comfort, security and love.

Terri + Haven

After their military family relocated, Terri’s daughter struggled to feel at home. An unexpected bond with a foster kitten helped ease that anxiety and give Terri’s family an extra dose of unconditional love.

"During the time we were fostering the kittens, Kimmy formed a special bond with Haven. They spent hours snuggling together while Kimmy read or played games."

Our family has fostered animals for years. When we brought six 4-week-old kittens home from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in May 2019, we already had two dogs and two cats of our own and no plans to add to our family. We had the “H kittens” (Hummus, Hula Hoop, Hooter, Havana, Ham and Haven) for six weeks while they grew big enough to get adopted. We delighted in every kitten milestone, from learning to use the litter box to being able to climb to the top of the cat tree.

Adopted Cat Zelda

Throughout the summer, our 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter had many friends over to the house. Each child picked their favorite kitty and carried it everywhere with them, incorporating the kittens into all of their games. These six kittens were so sweet and patient with anyone who picked them up.

Adopted Cat Zelda

My husband has been in the Army for 16 years, so our children have been through multiple moves and deployments. Our daughter, Kimmy, had an especially hard time moving from Texas to Mississippi a year and a half ago. She has anxiety and struggled to fit in with kids who had known each other most of their lives. She has made some good friends but still does not have the confidence that she had before the move. She is already dreading the next time the Army tells us it’s time to relocate, and how it will feel to leave another set of friends.

Adopted Cat Zelda

We didn’t notice at first, but during the time we were fostering the “H kittens,” Kimmy formed a special bond with Haven. They spent hours snuggling together while Kimmy read or played games. When it came time to take the kittens back to the shelter to get adopted, Kimmy did not want to let Haven go. She cried and told her she hoped that whoever adopted her would love her as much as Kimmy did. After her initial round of crying, she would not even talk about the kittens because she said it hurt too much to think of not seeing Haven again.

Adopted Cat Zelda

Haven was at the shelter for five days before we returned to bring her home for good. My husband and I recognized that the bond between our daughter and this little kitten was special and could not be broken. The joy on Kimmy’s face when she saw Haven and knew that she was not leaving again was immeasurable.

It has been two months since we adopted Haven. Kimmy feeds her and cleans her litterbox. They still snuggle most of the day together, and Haven sleeps with her at night. We know that they will be constant companions for years and that when we have to move again, Haven will provide support and stability for Kimmy. Haven is a precious and perfect addition to our family.

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 Terri won Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, Mississippi a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.