Falling in love with cats

Louis the cat sleeping on his side with a person's hand petting him
Sara had only had dogs, but an orange cat named Louis is showing her how much fun it can be to share a home with a cat.
By John Polis

Sara Woltz wasn’t quite sure about adopting a cat. Dogs were always her thing. And, she thought, cats had that reputation for being distant. But she and her partner were ready to adopt a pet. And since he previously had a cat for 15 years, she was keeping an open mind.

Sara, who’s deep in research for her Ph.D. dissertation, decided she needed to do a little more of it — specifically on cats. That involved around 10 trips to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City to meet some cats and learn more about them.

She told the staff she was interested in adopting an affectionate — and “dog-like” if possible — cat. She says with a laugh, “Everyone was so kind and answered all of my questions.”

Rose Marcin, lifesaving and care specialist for Best Friends, remembers Sara as very thoughtful in her approach to getting a pet. “She collected a lot of information,” Rose says. On one of those visits, when Sara was feeling ready to take the plunge and bring a cat home, she met Louis.

Orange cat with a sunny demeanor

Louis is a 5-year-old orange tabby who is always happy, craves attention, enjoys belly rubs, and is always up for excitement.

Louis came to Best Friends from a shelter with another cat, and while the other kitty was adopted right away, Louis needed some additional medical care. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill, and that means working together with other animal welfare organizations to save pets’ lives, giving each one what they need to move out of the shelter and into a happy new life.

Best Friends veterinarians removed a tumor from one side of Louis’ face and sent it out to determine whether it was cancerous. Even with all the changes in his life, the 12-pound orange fellow seemed to be holding his own.

[Miracle cat's healing journey]

“I think he had spent a lot of his time hiding behind his brother,” says Rose. “And now that his brother was gone, surprisingly he did a lot better. He seemed to come out of his shell.”

Louis’ sunny appeal was evident from his first meet and greet with Sara. “Finally, I met Louis,” she says. “He would explore, but every 30 seconds or so he would come back to rub against me. This gave me the feeling he liked me. And when my partner came to meet him, Louis immediately jumped in his lap.”

Everyone, including Louis, seemed to hit it off right away. Sara and her partner were smitten. They decided to adopt him even without the results from the pathology. They’d take a leap of faith and go from there.

Good news and a happy home

Louis took to his new surroundings right away. And in the process, he showed that he had a healthy appetite — for both food and fun. He brightened up the lives of his new people. “We cannot imagine a better cat,” says Sara. “Like he showed us in the shelter, he loves to rub up against people and hang around us wherever we are in the house.”

Louis was off to a great start, but there was still the matter of those pathology tests. “We didn’t care,” Sara says. “We were ready to give him the best life, no matter what the challenges.”

Two weeks later the tests came back, and it was good news. “Although the tests were inconclusive, they were fairly certain Louis does not have cancer,” says Sara. “It was such a relief.”

Louis is now clearly in charge of the new place he calls home. Whenever Sara gets up, he follows closely behind, and sometimes he even tries to stay one step ahead or behind her. “I have to be a careful walker,” she says.

Already immortalized in photos

To say that Louis has become the star of the show in his new home is an understatement. “We already have a dozen pictures framed of him on our mantle and bookshelves,” says Sara.

Because his people work from home and Louis is a social cat, there’s plenty of interaction and never a dull moment. “He’ll come right up to you and plop himself on the floor for a belly rub — just like a dog,” says Sara. “He’s totally verbal, and it’s nice to hear him respond to us.”

Louis has a lot of favorite things: He loves to soak up the good life by lounging in the sun. He enjoys being brushed. Playing with a feather on a stick is a treat. And finding a good spot to watch birds is another must-do.

[Nine “aww”-worthy moments with kittens and other pets]

Everything about Louis delights the rest of his family. His “Superman” pose is a big hit. Louis stretches out — limbs extended and paws spread — like the Man of Steel in flight. “We think it’s adorable,” Sara says.

The orange guy has effortlessly stolen two hearts and in the process has etched his personality into the fabric of his new family. And it’s all because Sara, who’d never had a cat, took some time to learn about them and didn’t flinch when she learned Louis had a possible health issue.

It’s truly been a time of discovery for Sara, learning all the joys a cat can bring to one’s life. And Louis, she says, shows his appreciation by walking happily around the house with his tail straight up.

“He is such a delight,” she says. “We smile about a hundred times a day extra because of him.”

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Louis the cat sitting on a wooden floor in front of some furniture

Be a hero for homeless pets

Adopt a cat or dog from your local shelter and provide the happily-ever-after all shelter animals are eagerly waiting for.
Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

Help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

Let’s be friends! 

Connect with us on social media to stay in the loop about the lifesaving progress we’re making together.  

Facebook logo    Instagram logo    icon