By Isabella Barcellona
I’ll always remember when I first saw Holt. My mom texted me a picture of him to show me the “regal old cat” FieldHaven had rescued from the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. He was staring straight into the camera, looking like a grumpy old man with wild hair. It was love at first sight. The vet said he was between 11 and 18 years old, so we averaged his age out to 14.
I knew that senior cats have an uphill battle getting adopted. While I loved his angry face, I was afraid others would be put off. I kept in touch with FieldHaven about him and learned that all of the volunteers were quickly falling in love with him.
I was coming to Folsom to visit my family for Christmas. I landed and we went straight from the airport to the transfer station. I made a beeline for his cage. He had to be shaved and looked like a bald old man with a pot belly. He looked at me and gave a meow that sounded like a mix between a frog croaking and a haunted house’s door opening. I asked to hold him and he cuddled up in my arms. I was smitten.
Of course we took him home that day and fostered him at my parent’s house through the holidays. He was suffering from PTSD from the fire and would hide from any loud noises or sudden movements. Otherwise, he was a big fan of laps and was super chatty. His voice sound more like human talking than meowing, which just added to his character.
After six weeks, several vet visits and lots of teeth removed, my parents flew him to Oregon to join me. Holt and FieldHaven Alumni Arya bonded quickly. She sees herself as his protector. She sits in between him and my roommate’s dog and grooms Holt whenever he gets stressed from loud noises.
Holt’s fur has grown back into it’s massive fluffy gloriousness. He loves to spend his days hanging out in the window or his hammock and every evening joins us in the living room to cuddle on our laps while we watch our favorite shows. I didn’t realize that there was a little hole in my heart until Holt filled it and completed our furry family.