Nino: I swear it’s the name he came with.

It took me FOREVER to decide whether or not to adopt a cat. After going back and forth for months, multiple pro/con lists, a sympathy trip to the shelter and hours spent online researching adoptable cats, I just went for it. On a very gloomy Monday I was home sick from work and decided to get in my car and drive to the shelter.

I knew I wanted three things [in one cat]: an older cat that no one would adopt, a cat that was already neutered and a cat that wasn’t mean [like most of the cats I had growing up].

After playing with multiple cats I was a little disappointed [and slightly relieved] that I didn’t find the one for me. But one of the shelter’s staff members kept urging me to go see “Nino.” “He will give you a hug,” he kept saying.

Finally I asked, “He’ll give me a hug?” The staff member said, “Yes. I’m not kidding.” So I gave in. I walked into the clear glass room at the entrance to the shelter. Nino’s name was plastered on the front with an “adoption fee waived” sign. I wondered what that meant and when I asked why, they told me it was because he had been there so long they needed to get him a good home soon. That’s when I realized that he was on the list [the kill list].

Nino was sleeping on the highest perch of the cat tree. I started to pet him, and he immediately started purring. He arched his back, slowly got up and turned around, and then he literally gave me a hug. Without any encouragement [or any physical help] he climbed off of the cat tree, onto my chest and wrapped both his paws around my neck.

I couldn’t put him down. But literally, he wouldn’t let go so I couldn’t put him down. I had to get down on the floor before I could finally pry his paws off of me. The staff member stood outside the glass room, laughing. “I told you,” he said.

So I adopted him.

He was an older cat, already neutered and obviously very sweet-natured. When I asked what steps I had to go through to complete the adoption, the only thing the administration said was “fill this out.” They micro-chipped him, and I was out of there in 15 minutes.

Nino was sick for the first two weeks I had him and my vet told me that the shelter I got him at doesn’t adopt out very healthy animals. I thought about changing his name, and even did for a few days, but “Nemo” just didn’t feel right. I finally decided that it wouldn’t be fair to change his name after everything he went through.

Plus, Nino just kind of suits him.

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