Joanne + Freddie

Adopted cat becomes companion and local celebrity to all who live in the retirement community

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Joanne + Freddie

When Freddie and I go for our daily strolls around the retirement community where we live, people love to ask “How’s Freddie?” They pet Freddie, and he loves the attention.

So, how did I become the assistant to such a local celebrity? Like many cat adoption tales, it begins with loss and grief and ends with love, joy and much purring.

"When Freddie turned those stunning green eyes on me, I felt my heart melt, and I knew this was the cat for me."

First the sad part. I lost my beloved cat Ozzie in August of 2015 after a short illness. I was devastated. For many months, it was hard for me to even look at another cat without crying. Anyone who has truly loved a pet can relate to the pain of my heartbreak. Despite this, I told all my friends I was determined to adopt again once the hurt had subsided.

After a couple of months, I set January 1 as the day I would start looking. Mind you, I was only going to look. I still wasn’t ready to commit. So, I started scrolling through the internet after the new year. There were plenty of endearing balls of fur, but all I could think of was the cat I had lost.

Then by chance, I happened to stop by a local pet store, which has a cat adoption center run by CatPAWS. And there he was, my next true love. When Freddie turned those stunning green eyes on me, I felt my heart melt, and I knew this was the cat for me. I was sure that finding a forever home with me would change his life; what I wasn’t prepared for was how much my life would change because of him.

I was warned by the volunteers at CatPAWS that Freddie could be “feisty” and tended to be a “door darter.” Over time, with patience and encouragement, I convinced him to wear a harness and walk on a leash. I thought this would channel his energy and satisfy his desire to see the great outdoors. That was how we began our daily walks.

I am by nature a stereotypical “cat person”–private, shy and introverted. Before Freddie, I knew the people in my neighborhood enough to wave at them, but that was it. I sometimes felt lonely and isolated since my mother passed away. However, there is something about a cat on a leash that makes people open up and talk about the felines in their lives.

Being in a retirement community, I noticed that many of the residents had given up pet ownership because they were physically unable to care for them. Seeing and petting Freddie gives them a great deal of joy and reminds them of pets they once had. Because of Freddie, I now have a wide circle of “cat people” friends, and my life has been immeasurably enriched. I am always more than glad to stop and answer the question: “How’s Freddie?”

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 Joanne Gobbi won CatPAWS in Seal Beach, California a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.