Successful stories of Adoptions at the Gastineau Humane Society
Happy Tails - Lucy
The poet T. S. Eliot once wrote in his poem, “The Naming of Cats,”
“The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.”
Thus he wrote, a cat must have one name that the family “uses daily,” a second name that is “more dignified” or “peculiar,” and a third name that “the cat himself knows and will never confess.” In that vein, this is a story about Lucy---or Lucille--- and we’ll see whether her story reveals her “deep and inscrutable singular name.”
In October of 2017, a sweet 1 ½-year-old black and white cat was relinquished by her owner to the Gastineau Humane Society (GHS). Her prior family had a newborn baby and said they “didn’t have time for a high energy cat.” Lucy was a spirited and lovely young cat, so her chance of finding a home was very good. Her new family just needed to find her.
Lauren had grown up along with her childhood cat Edith, a stray kitten from Haines. At first sight, Lauren knew she must have this kitten, and her parents, Martha and Dan—also cat lovers-- agreed. Edith lived a good long life and died at age 17 in the summer of 2017. The family missed her very much.
Summer moved into fall, and Lauren was really feeling the need for a feline. Her rental house didn’t allow animals, so she knew she had to talk her parents into adopting a cat. She says she essentially “badgered them” until they agreed, but it wasn’t a hard sell.
After a walk one day, the family decided to go by GHS to visit. They had been looking at the animals that were available, and one cat in particular, Major Tom, intrigued them, as they had a good family friend named Tom. However, they learned that Major Tom already had an application, so they knew they’d have to look further.
In the meantime, the family decided it was Dan’s turn to select the next cat that would join their family. Martha had selected the family cat, Fernando, back in the 1980s, and Lauren had picked Edith, so it was now Dan’s turn. With this great responsibility, during their next visit to the shelter, Dan decided he would just “watch the cats mingle.” While doing so, Lucy caught his eye. She had a nice regal walk and “looked like she had personality.” She was also a shorthair, which they wanted, and she was black and white. They had never had a black-and-white cat and this one was beautiful, with her lovely symmetrical markings. That combination of traits sealed the deal, and they submitted an application, which was quickly approved.
Once in her new home, Lucy fit right in. An inside cat, she quickly discovered an array of activities to entertain herself. Their neighbors have a nearby bird feeder, and Lucy loves to sit on her special perch to watch and chatter at the birds. She is very playful and loves her little fishing pole toy with feathers on the end. She has even been known to drag this toy to bed at night where she likes to sleep, right between the pillows, with Dan and Martha. Although a good nighttime companion, Lucy can also be a bit aloof and feisty. For example, if she doesn’t want to be held, she lets you know with a wiggle and a swat.
She also has an unusual affinity for water—watching it, swatting at it, and drinking it. After finding Lucy playing with water in the toilet bowl, the family is now careful to always put the lid down, but Lucy still monitors it looking for opportunities. Her favorite water location is now their bathroom sink. If someone is in the bathroom, she waits outside and then jumps into the sink to play with any remaining water droplets. They sometimes put water in the sink just so Lucy can play in it and drink it.
Lucy also likes to burrow. She has been known to burrow completely under their blankets and also likes to hide under their front door rug. Dan almost sat on her one day when she was hiding in bed. They now know that a crumpled blanket or rug likely means that Lucy is in there, and if they ever can’t find her, looking under something is a good place to start looking.
Lauren comes to visit her family and Lucy a couple of times a week. Whenever she comes, Lucy runs jauntily to the door to greet her and is very vocal, which Lauren loves. Dan says he loves Lucy’s energy around the house and how she like to “run and chase things.” Martha loves that Lucy sleeps with them.
Dan and Martha are long-time cat lovers, and their two prior cats had lived very long lives, so for many years, they were mature or senior cats. Until they got Lucy, Martha says she had forgotten “how frisky a young cat is.” Lucy has certainly brought energy and playfulness to their home with her unusual antics.
Some things in life will always be mysteries, and Lucy’s special secret third name is likely one of those things. We suspect, however, that in the mysteries of cat language, her third name is a word that describes a being who is quirky, playful, and packed with personality. And one thing that is definitely not a mystery is how lucky Dan, Martha, Lauren and Lucy are to have found each other!
Story and photos by GHS Board Member & Volunteer Kerry Howard.
Lucy is the second cat that Dan and Martha Hopson have adopted from GHS. They adopted their first cat Fernando from there in 1981. Dan says they really liked the GHS adoption process and appreciated all the info the shelter provided them.