To The Cats I've Fallen For But Couldn't Adopt

To The Cats I've Fallen For But Couldn't Adopt

I'm sorry I couldn't give you the home you deserve.
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For years, my post-career goal has been to rescue/foster/adopt cats of all shapes, sizes, and situations. I want to give a loving home to as many cats as I can. Unfortunately, I'm at a point in my life where I can't. My boyfriend and I plan to adopt a cat in autumn, but it doesn't feel like enough.

Every time I visit a shelter or cat cafe, I fall in love with all of them. I feel a deep connection with cats, as insane as that sounds. The cats who end up in shelters need patience and understanding, similar to myself. I believe that this is where my connection to cats stems from. I share many traits with them: independence, a need for affection, sassiness, and a love for naps.

(This is not some weird confession about being a furry or otherkin. I'm simply a person who adores cats.)

To the cats who I have fallen for,

I'm sorry I couldn't adopt you. I wanted to, I promise. You became part of my family as soon as you rubbed your face against mine. My heart continues to expand to fit the love I develop for all of you. Even though I am unable to adopt you today, I will continue to think about you once we have parted ways. When I am swiping through the photos on my phone, the selfie I took with you will appear and the sadness will return.

I will hope that you found a warm and loving home. You are the ones who got away but are never forgotten. The short time we spent together is something I will cherish for a long time. Being able to meet you and get a taste of your personality is enough to get me through bad days. Animals are very healing for me. Thank you for being part of my recovery.

I want to meet and fall in love with as many cats as I am able to. I want to flood my Instagram feed with images of the cats I wish I could have. Whether they are in a shelter, a foster, or stray, they all deserve respect and love. If I'm walking or driving and I spot a cat on a windowsill, or in someone's yard, I will always become giddy with excitement. My day will have been made.

It may sound like an actual crazy person wrote this, but it's just coming from a place of passion. Many people hate cats, and I do not understand why. They're not dogs, and I think that's too difficult for some people to comprehend. By the way, I do love dogs just as much.


Cover Image Credit: Talie Cederwall

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From my first fall to my last lesson, I learned more in that arena than any classroom could ever teach me.

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My trainers taught me so much in and out of the arena and even though I no longer ride, the lessons that I learned will stick with me forever.

1. Keep your heels down, and your eyes up

My trainer always told me to keep my eyes fixed on where I want to go, and unless where I wanted to go was the ground I better keep my eyes up. Just like in riding, I always remind myself that unless I want to end up on the bottom I need to keep my focus on where I want to go in life.

2. Sometimes less is more

There are times when riding a horse when less is more, as riders, we sometimes think we need to go faster or pull on the reins more but ultimately that can cause more harm than good. There are moments in life when we assume we need to go all out in order for something to work when we really just need to find the right balance.

3. If you fall down get back up

The first time I fell off my trainer asked if I was ok and when I said yes she said: "ok good, get back on". I was confused assuming I would just stop for the day considering I just fell off a horse, but she made me get back on to finish my lesson. I honestly think that if she wouldn't have made me get back on and finish I wouldn't have become the rider or person I am today. Just because something goes wrong doesn't mean you give up, it means you try again and fix the mistakes you made the first time.

4. Practice makes perfect

When I started riding I was by no means talented. There were multiple times I wanted to quit because why would I do something I'm not great at? For some reason, I continued to ride, and when I say there was blood, sweat, and TEARS I mean it. There were times I would be on the horses back for 3 hours bawling my eyes out, but my trainers refused to let me quit. I started practicing more and more and it began to pay off, I started winning more and more 1st place ribbons.

5. There is always something new to learn

When I first started riding I thought "How hard could it be? All you gotta do is stay on the horse", but boy was I wrong. Even after years of riding thought, I had learned all I needed to know. I figured from that point all I had to do was perfect what I knew, and you bet I was shook when my trainer started talking about techniques that I had never even heard of before.

6. Life isn't fair

Sometimes life sucks and there's nothing you can do about it. There were multiple times when I rode to the best of my ability with completely clear rounds and still got 2nd or 3rd place. I had to learn that my placing didn't always mean I rode bad, it just meant that someone was simply better than me, or there was a fancier pony or something out of my control that I just had to accept.

7. Sometimes you need to let go

Something I heard a lot while riding was "let go" it was usually referring to someone who was holding the reins too tight. When you're holding the reins too tight it is hard for the horse to do it's job and makes it difficult to get where you need to go. When you let go and give the horse a little freedom it makes both you and the horses lives easier. It's the same way with people. sometimes it's better to let go.

8. Respect

My parents always taught me to respect the people around me, but when I started riding I gained a whole new meaning of the word. I had always correlated the word respect with adults, " respect your elders" or "Show your mom/dad some respect", but riding taught me it extends so much further than that. When you're riding a 2,000lbs animal there needs to be a certain level of respect towards it. At any point that horse could throw you off and do some serious damage.

9. Tough Love

There was a point in my riding career when I was so scared to fall off I would literally be curled up in a ball on the horses back. My trainer would beg me to do something and I would literally ignore her because I thought my way was better. It got to the point where she was so fed up with begging me that she got the other scary trainer to try and teach me. Now I'm a hard-headed person, but I have nothing on him. He would have me in tears every lesson (which sometimes lasted hours). At some point during the yelling and tears, he managed to make a decent rider out of me and I realized that sometimes a little tough love is all someone needs to breakthrough.

10. Let the sunshine in

Something I will never forget is the song Open Up Your Heart. My trainer used to play it as a joke to remind us to sit up and "open up (our) hearts and let the sunshine in". Most of the time he played this song and it meant that we had to drop our stirrups (if you're a rider then understand the torture) so it was only ironic that the next lyric of the song is "face it with a grin, smilers never lose, and frowners never win". Even though we were doing something most of us despised it was something we needed to learn and sure enough learning to ride without stirrups saved my butt so many times.

P.S. If you are looking for a hunter/jumper barn in the New Orleans area I recommend Tavia Equine Center they offer lessons for all ages and abilities.

To all my TEC friends past and present, I love and miss all of you. You all taught me so much throughout the years and I'm so thankful for each of you.

With love,

Thoody

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12 Purr-fect Reasons Owning A Cat Is The Best

Ah, cats. You either hate 'em or love 'em.

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Cats are ranked as the number one pet in America. I happen to have two cats myself at home. They're both devious yet adorable.

Here I list why owning a cat is great — despite their difficulties.

They're clean.

Unlike dogs, cats clean themselves. They're extremely clean and hygienic animals, cleaning themselves by licking their fur. This can lead to fur balls, but it's much easier to deal with than having to clean dogs.

They use litter boxes.

For those who don't have the time. cats don't require walking every day like dogs. They can just poop or pee in their litter boxes, and it doesn't take a long time or great effort to potty train them. This can lead to far less stress and time that a dog would take to train.

They're quiet.

I love dogs just as much as the next person, but certain dogs, especially Beagles, are known for their howling. Howling and barking may not be that big of a deal in a house, but in a college student's apartment, it can be highly disruptive to neighbors and cause a noise complaint. This is the last thing a stressed college student wants to deal with.

They purr.

Nothing is more relaxing or comforting than hearing a cat purr. It's both soothing and calming. Studies have even shown that cat's purring helps in healing bones and tendons due to their vibrations.

They're small.

Cats are smaller than dogs (usually) and therefore are perfect pets for apartment style living. Because they're so small, they don't take up much space and are easier to manage (despite their difficult personalities).

Reduced stress and anxiety.

This poses true for dogs as well, but owning a cat can reduce stress and anxiety. Having something furry to pet and cuddle can relieve stress (something every college student deals with). It's always nice coming home to a furry companion.

Finding a partner.

Although this may not seem intuitive, studies have shown that women are attracted to men who have cats. Cats are generally more comfortable around women, so when a man owns a cat, it's highly attractive.

Sleep better.

Studies have also shown that owners sleep better when they sleep with their cats. I personally highly enjoy it when my cat sleeps with me, curling up at the end of my bed. It's nice having that companionship, and my cat won't be annoyed by my sleep-talking like a human would.

Boost immunity.

Since cats have lots of fur and dander, owning a cat can boost someone's immunity. Exposure improves one's immunity.

Less effect on environment.

I love dogs very much, but studies have shown that owning a cat leaves less of a carbon foot(paw?)print on the planet. They generally require less food and are more likely to eat fish products rather than beef, which can benefit the environment.

They catch mice or other vermin.

Cats are famous for their mouse-catching antics. This can be beneficial, especially if you suffer from mouse invaders or other such invaders.

You'll never be bored.

Cats are notorious for being troublemakers. Know that if you own one of these little critters that you'll never be bored with them around.

Cats are fantastic companions. They offer comfort and provide numerous health benefits for their owners. Make a lifestyle change and adopt a cat today!

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