Posted by: Kimberly J. McCloskey | January 1, 2011

Miss Polly Esther


Miss Polly

Polly’s story is a special one… well, a little more special than the others.


There was a time I worked for a woman who was a director for the local humane society and occasionally I would go on the humane society’s website to see which animal my boss was currently sponsoring. One day it was Polly… and a year later, it was still Polly. Her human had died and the human’s daughter didn’t want Polly, so she landed at the shelter. The biggest problem was that Polly was 10 years old at the time!

About this time, we decided we would foster some young kittens from the humane society until they were grown enough to be adopted. We figured we wouldn’t get attached to kittens because we knew they had a better chance for adoption at the shelter. When the time came to return the kittens to the shelter, Rob wanted to get a tour of the facility, to see where the kittens would be when people came for adoptions. Then we got a tour of the adult cat room… it was all over for me at that point. We were in a room full of cats in cages and it torn my heart wide open. But I held it together long enough to ask, “Where’s Polly?” I figured I was there, I might as well meet the poor kitty who had been on the website for a year.

The volunteer pointed me to the correct cage and as I stuck my fingers through the bars the volunteer warned that Polly bites. But I’ll tell you what. I believe Polly heard me walk into that room and ask for her, and she knew this was her chance. She came right to the front of her cage and rubbed her body on it like the most lovable cat you can imagine. My heart melted.

Who was going to adopt a, now, 11-year-old cat? Especially one who was known to bite people? And just looking at her… she looked mean! She had a square forehead and a heavy brow that made her look like she was grumpy all the time. Not to mention her war paint! Her striking calico colors were patterned in a way that made her look fierce. So who was going to adopt this cat? Ever?

I’m sure I bawled my eyes out when we left there.

It was either later that same day or the next that I returned to the shelter to inquire about adopting Polly. Yes, she was standoffish in the visiting room with me, but I didn’t care. She was coming home to live out the rest of her life with me — biter or no biter. She deserved to have a home – not a cage – so she could be comfortable in her old age. She could only benefit from having people around her to serve her and spoil her. It wasn’t her fault her human died!

So into our home she came. Even though she was accustomed to being an only cat, she settled in fine to our home and the existing kitties. She eventually became very fond of Boris and even though no fighting ever took place, she slipped right into alpha female position. We ended up calling Polly “the police” because she was so much older than the others that she didn’t join in, or appreciate, their antics. Often we would see her give the rowdy young ‘uns the squished-down-forehead-look like she was going to come after them with a wooden spoon if they didn’t just settle down right now!

The moral to this story, however, is that Polly turned into a very lovable cat! Yes, she nipped at us a few times in the beginning but it was purely out of fear. She wasn’t a “lap cat” as her preference was to be on the sofa next to you, as close as possible. She loved being covered in soft blankets and getting kisses on her head. And what’s more? She knew who rescued her, without a doubt.  I was her human and she always liked to keep tabs on me. When I sat on the sofa, she joined me. If I read in bed, she joined me. Her attention to me was so endearing! Bringing her into our lives was one of the best decisions we ever made.

It also opened my eyes to the fact that not all cats looking to be adopted are kittens! I really wish people would be more open to adopting an older cat. That’s something to be worked on in the future – educating the public about the benefits and rewards of giving a forever home to senior kitties.


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