My beloved childhood companion, Mr. Whiskers, had to be put to sleep in 2009. I felt so empty afterward. His sister Belle survived him, and Izzy and Geno, two rescues, came into my life as well. I love all three of my cats but I still missed Mr. Whiskers so desperately. He was an insanely friendly, wonderful Maine Coon cat who helped me survive some deep and torturous bouts of depression in high school. He was almost doglike in mannerism, and a true companion. I became content with the aloofness and beauty of my three cats.
Then, while working in Petsmart, I saw an amazing cat up for adoption. A 20+-pound Maine Coon tuxedo. I went into the cat room and petted him; he climbed right up into my lap and gazed up at me with those huge green eyes. I named him Kirby. Donna was absolutely amazing through the thorough, yet speedy, adoption process. She made it so convenient for my boyfriend and I to pick up Kirby, and even lent us a large carrier to take him home (because our normal cat carrier couldn't fit him!). She gave us her number and told us to call with any problems.
Kirby gets along great with the other cats, and is extremely playful and friendly. Every night before bed he sits on my chest as I read a book, and every morning after I wander into the living room, I find him sitting on my boyfriend's chest as he drinks his coffee. Kirby cannot wait to greet us when we come home from work, and he never misses an opportunity to climb on someone's lap or chest, giving "hugs." Our youngest cat, Geno, who is just 9 months and a tuxedo, loves to groom Kirby. The two often end up falling asleep together.
I know I can never replace Mr. Whiskers and that each cat is truly one of a kind, but Kirby is the absolute closest thing to having another exact copy of my childhood pet. I feel so much joy when I am sitting with all my wonderful feline friends, and I feel especially whole now that I have found Kirby. Start II was a great shelter to work with, especially since I work at Petsmart and get to see and talk with all the amazing volunteers! They all ask to see pictures of Kirby and everyone asks how he is doing. I feel so lucky that I met such caring and amazing people, who take such wonderful care of animals in need of help.