Young Adopter’s Anxiety is No Match for Adopted Kitten
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Young Adopter’s Anxiety is No Match for Adopted Kitten

Nothing to fear, Happy the kitten is here!
Maya + Happy Featured Image

Since 2013, Petco Love has celebrated the love that we share with our pets through our annual Love Stories campaign. In partnership with BOBS® from Skechers®, we’re excited to celebrate the special connection between Maya and Happy, an adopted kitten from Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare. Their story, written by mom Namoi, earned lifesaving funding for Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare, BOBS® from Skechers® shoes, and a Petco shopping spree! 

Read Maya + Happy’s Winning Love Story

Whenever Happy comes to me for a cuddle I whisper my thanks to him for all he has done for Maya. In 4th grade, Maya began to have debilitating panic attacks. They started suddenly – the first at a restaurant when we were traveling. I looked at Maya across the table, utter fear and terror on his face, sitting immobile. I frantically looked around to see who or what was threatening my child, but there was nothing to see. We rushed back to our hotel where he laid down and rocked himself to sleep. 

The next morning, we were relieved to have our sparkly Maya back. We didn’t understand that it was the first of many panic attacks. Maya had developed an extreme phobia of vomiting and even the hint of nausea caused him to panic, which in turn exacerbated the nausea, trapping him in an ever-escalating cycle. Our pediatrician called it a terrible biofeedback loop.  

Maya missed days of school at a time, refusing to eat, drink or talk. He wasted away. We were told that hospitalization would be inevitable if he wouldn’t drink. Our days became consumed with coaxing Maya to eat and drink, and we dreaded our nights– we’d wake to find Maya standing next to our bed, rocking back and forth in his silent pain. We walked him back to his room and held his hand until he slept. 

When Maya was distracted, he was much calmer, so we decided to try feline friends. We visited the Brooklyn Cat Cafe and saw a group of five kitten brothers. We fell in love and brought our foster boys home. They were tiny, fitting into one carrier. Four brothers quickly ran out to explore. The lone kitten left was Happy, the smallest and weakest of the bunch. Maya’s heart melted as he joined Happy on the floor to coax him out of the carrier. In that moment, our child, who needed such patient, gentle caretaking, began his own journey as a caretaker. 

Maya + Happy 2

Maya started special play sessions with Happy to make him stronger. While Happy was smaller and weaker than his brothers, he had a fierce, determined spirit. He quickly took to his play regimen, running and jumping for various toys, quickly gaining in strength and speed, eventually leaping higher than his brothers. He was the first to reach Maya’s top bunk as his brothers looked on enviously. Maya’s devotion and unconditional love for Happy became mutual– they became inseparable. As Maya worked to get Happy stronger, so too did Maya. He stopped rocking, gained weight and his sparkle slowly returned. 

Maya + Happy 1

In 10th grade now, Maya recently told me about waking up at night nauseous and panicked. I expressed surprise that he didn’t get me. “I remembered to do my breathing and I went and got Happy, he stayed with me,” Maya said with pride, a stark contrast to the fear and terror those years ago in the restaurant. I whispered extra special thanks to Happy that day.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Maya’s mom Naomi won Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition in New York↗ a 2024 Love Stories award.  

Want to share the story of how an adopted pet changed your life with Petco Love Stories? Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page to be among the first to know when applications reopen!  


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