Cat Mom,  Exploration & Adventure

How I met my first cat, March

Since my childhood, I had always yearned for a furry companion, whether it be a cat or a dog. My mom, however, is a clean freak who loves to keep everything neat and tidy. Having a cat or dog in the house would undoubtedly lead to some mess, and there was another hurdle to consider: my health. Back then, I was a child with asthma and was prone to allergies from a variety of triggers, including pet hair. Unfortunately, cat and dog dander are among my allergens.

My First Dog

Rae and Anthony the Pomeranian

Despite these challenges, my dad was determined to fulfill my wish. The first attempt took place when I was quite young, probably in kindergarten. He brought home a Pomeranian pup and named him Anthony. He was a big fluffy ball of energy, and I always wanted to hold him close, no matter how much I sneezed and coughed. Each time I returned home, Anthony would greet me by bringing my indoor slippers to me.

In the end, my mom couldn’t tolerate it any longer and believed that Anthony’s presence made me sicker. She made the tough decision to let one of her friends adopt him. I was hysterical when I learned that Anthony had left our home, even though my mom assured me that I could visit him anytime. Deep down, I knew she was lying to make me feel better.

Second Attempt

A few years later, my dad made another attempt by bringing home a Taiwan Dog pup. However, this pup didn’t even last a week at our house. My mom didn’t want to take any chances with my health, and she also felt bad that the pup stayed indoors all day. We sent the puppy to my grandparents’ house in the countryside, where he could enjoy the freedom and outdoor adventures. My grandma named him Lucky, but there were so many dogs with the same name in the area that my dad changed his name to Money. He was quite proud of the new name, and whenever we called the pup, we would say “Money come, Money come.”

Up until my teenage years, these were my only experiences with dogs as pets. Afterward, I had various small pets like fish, birds, and turtles, but they didn’t quite provide the same level of companionship that dogs did. Like most people, I perceived cats as loners; I never imagined I would become a cat owner since I wanted to companionship that dogs are known for.

Third Time’s the Charm

It was when I turned 16 that my dad decided to gift me a dog for my birthday to help me cope with our immigration journey. Adjusting to life in the USA had been challenging, especially with my limited English skills and difficulty making friends. My dad believed that a dog would motivate me to do better in school and help me adapt to our new environment, given the country’s dog-friendly environment with plenty of green spaces and backyards.

He promised that we would go to Petco to adopt a dog over the weekend. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait. Once there, we found a multitude of dogs in need of homes. My mom still had reservations about this decision. She was mainly worried that a dog might trigger my allergies or asthma again, and being in a foreign land, she wouldn’t know how to handle it. However, my dad was less concerned, as I was now a teenager and in better health.

I searched for the perfect dog, but I couldn’t make up my mind. Then, my mom spotted an adorable German Shepherd puppy and suggested we adopt him. I rushed over, thinking it must be my dog since my mom was on board. However, when we reached the spot, the adoption lady regretfully informed us that the puppy already found a new home and was no longer available. I was left without a clear choice.

Fate Intervenes

I suggested to my dad that we go home and try again next time. Just as we were about to leave, a lady asked me if I was interested in a kitten as well or if I strictly wanted a puppy. I hesitated but decided that a kitten could also work for me. My mom encouraged me to check it out, while my dad was resistant, stating that he wanted a dog because dogs were known to be loyal and loving companions, unlike “selfish” cats.

The lady then introduced us to a tiny, adorable kitten. I immediately fell in love and wanted to take him home. My mom held the kitten as I filled out the adoption paperwork. I had no experience with cats, but the lady was very helpful. She assisted me in selecting all the essentials my new kitten would need and provided feeding instructions. She explained that she really wanted to keep him, but she already had too many cats and needed to find homes for some of the kittens.

Finally, I brought him home. We first named him Tigger, but my dad decided to rename him March, which sounds like the Chinese slang Ma-Gi, meaning “best friend.” March was not just my first cat; he was my first true friend in the USA. I watched my brother grow up with him, and I couldn’t have asked for a better cat. With zero experience, March required little training; it was as if he had figured everything out on his own around the house. He even managed to win my dad over and convinced my mom that she was also a pet owner. 

Another fun fact: I didn’t have allergies with March at all. I’ll share more of March’s stories in the future, but for now, here are pictures of him. Until then, see you next Monday.

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