Adopted Cat Has a Thirst for Adventure

From leash-walking to kayaking, this kitten never stops exploring.

Kim + Ruger

Our story starts like thousands of others. We met at the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Society on a busy day in May of 2015. My attention was drawn to a crate carried by a foster parent as he brought in a litter of kittens who were finally ready for adoption. I peered through the crate to see the little ones. Of all the kittens piled together, there was one that immediately caught my attention. Maybe it was his wild eyes or his tiny “tuxedo” coat. Whatever it was, I felt an instant connection with that cat. There was a strong feeling in my heart that this kitten was meant to be mine.

"We began the outings on the front porch and graduated to the backyard, but soon I knew he was ready for more. "

The foster dad took the litter home with him that night and I thought long and hard about the commitment of adopting. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but my heart yearned for that confident and curious little kitten. The following morning I called the foster and asked if I could become that kitten’s new parent. We finalized the adoption paperwork and I was on my way home with my new family member that evening.

I named the little tyke Ruger because he was a “pistol” of a kitten. His confidence never wavered, even when meeting our German Shepherd Zoey for the first time. In fact, as soon as he saw her he puffed up and charged after her like a bullet, sending her away in fright. A tiny two-pound kitten was bossing around a 70-pound dog! It sure was a sight to see.

This little cat had a BIG personality. He kept me on my toes by always getting into trouble. His mischief-making had me coming up with unique ways to keep him happy, both mentally and physically. We started by harness training indoors and once he got a knack for that, we started to venture outdoors. We began the outings on the front porch and graduated to the backyard, but soon I knew he was ready for more.

It didn’t take long for Ruger to get comfortable enough to start exploring new parks and hiking trails (with Zoey by his side, too). He has even recently taken a liking to kayaking. I find the most peace by being outdoors and it has brought me great joy that my cat enjoys the same leisurely strolls, hammock naps, and paddling trips that I do.

Ruger has helped me adopt a new patience and appreciation for our time together. When we hit the trails or the lake, we take things at a slower pace. This allows for the stress of day-to-day life to melt away, even if only for an afternoon. When we go out together, nothing else matters but what is happening in the moment. His companionship has encouraged me to take a step back from the stress of everyday life and to take a deep breath, enjoy the little things, and explore just a little bit more.

Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Kim Randolph won Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Society in Michigan a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.