By now I’m sure most of you have seen the viral video of the day we adopted our new cat, Gracie I Love You Brooker. In the week we’ve had her she has brought us tremendous joy. She is a lap cat, very playful, and even seems to have almost puppy-like characteristics. But how she became a member of our family isn’t an easy thing for me to talk about. That’s because it took years for me to decide to adopt a cat again after the heartbreak of losing my first cat, Moby.
Even now writing his name there are tears that well up in my eyes. I loved Moby with all the love that only pet owners would understand. My husband (then fiance) got him for me on my birthday in 2000. He was only 5 weeks old. I was immediately drawn to him at the shelter where we adopted him. He was chatty, sassy, and had clearly picked me before I had picked him. We brought him home and to say I was smitten would be an understatement. I adored him.
After many happy years together Moby started getting sick in late 2012 when I was newly pregnant with my daughter. Ultrasounds, blood work, an a biopsy would reveal his liver was failing. We spent thousands of dollars to try to get him treatment but ultimately his little body just couldn’t take the illness anymore. He passed away two days before my daughter was born.
Funny how life works. Moby had been my baby for 13 years and it was like he knew his work was done. My heartbreak was quickly overshadowed by the birth of the most precious and vivacious human being. But it didn’t replace my love for Moby, or the feeling of loss I had. If anything it prolonged it because my hormones were going bananas. I would still hear his meow, or catch a glimpse of his tail going around a corner.
Many people offered advice to just get a new cat right away but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was a new mom who was overwhelmed and started bawling every time I thought about him. So I decided to wait. I didn’t know how long, or if the time would ever be right to get another cat. Adopting a cat is a big commitment. They are part of your family for ten years or more in most cases. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Plus I wasn’t sure I could allow myself to love a creature so profoundly, knowing they would leave me again some day.
For the past few months Channing has been talking about cats. Asking questions about them, giggling when she sees one on TV, and talking about how Santa was going to bring one to her house. The more she talked about it, and Chris and I talked about it, the more I found myself opening up to the idea of getting a cat again. We started visiting our local rescue groups and shelters to find out the process and cost, all the while I was still nervous about it. We took Channing with us to meet some of the cats at the shelter and her pure joy is what convinced me.
So I put out a call on my Facebook page to friends who have adopted to find out where they’ve been and what they recommend. One of the places mentioned several times was the Sante D’Or Adoption Center. I stopped in the Friday before Christmas and that’s when I locked eyes with Gracie. She was beautiful, sweet and curious. And suddenly all my reservations, hesitations and nerves were calmed. The process was easy. I filled out a form, the Center sent Terri (Gracie’s foster mom!) to do a home check, and then I set up a time to pick her up.
We had planned to surprise Chan on Christmas morning which didn’t go as planned, but as I’ve said before turned out even better. The joy Gracie has brought into our home and in particular into my heart has been immeasurable. I know she will never replace my Moby, but she is showing me that I can open my heart up again to a new furry family member. So because of that I want to give back to the people who gave her to me.
I have decided to donate a percentage of the money I’ve made from the viral video to the Sante D’Or Adoption Center so that they can continue to bring families and fur babies together. The work they do there, at all shelters and rescues, is tireless and thankless. So this is my way of saying thank you. Thank you for helping this mama to embrace a new future, and still honor my past.
If you would like to help me, you can share the Christmas Cat video with your friends and followers, and watch it as many times as you can. And you can donate directly to Sante D’Or on their website-just mark the donation as “Christmas Cat” and it will go into the right place.
But wait, there’s more! When I told Sante D’Or about my plans they shared it with their board members and I’m told a private donor has stepped forward to announce they will match the Christmas Cat donations, dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000! That means if we all join forces, we could raise as much as $20,000 for Sante D’Or so they can continue to give homeless and abandoned animals a safe, healthy reprieve from life on the streets or euthanasia at a shelter and the chance to experience the lives they were meant to live: in loving, forever homes.
To make a tax-deductible donation to Sante D’Or visit www.santedor.org/donate
To watch/share my Christmas Cat video, visit my Motherhood in Hollywood YouTube channel.