Adopted Kitten Brings Mother and Daughter Together

With an empty nest on the horizon, Willow the kitten helped Heidi and her daughter strengthen their bond.

Heidi + Willow

As Heidi’s daughter prepared to depart for college, an adopted kitten named Willow gave mother and daughter a chance to reconnect. Now they remain in close contact over the miles and are sure to enjoy some “cat therapy” when both are home together again.

"Willow attracted us like a magnet; we couldn’t stay away from her. The time my daughter spent alone in her room became less and less as we found ourselves together enjoying every minute of our baby cat. "

I began fearing the empty nest when my daughter was an infant. Each year, the fear became a little more intense. By her high school years, it was hard not to get caught up in anticipatory grief. Even though she was still with me, my fears were so strong it took enormous amounts of energy to keep them under control. Some days were better than others.

Trying hard to hold on to my daughter and make her last years at home wonderful, I took her to pick out a kitten through Lucky Dawg Animal Rescue. I really wanted a long-haired brown tabby, but she wanted a grey kitten. So, we adopted a grey kitten, and my daughter named her Willow.

Willow attracted us like a magnet; we couldn’t stay away from her. The time my daughter spent alone in her room became less and less as we found ourselves together enjoying every minute of our baby cat. If one of us was not at home, we could count on getting a picture of the kitten and a message about something adorable she was doing, which was everything. That kitten brought joy into our lives and made our home such a happy place.

Little did I know that within a few months our world would be dramatically punctuated by the loss that characterized the COVID-19 pandemic. Battling my own emotions and trying my best to help my daughter proved to be almost more than I could take. Where I was ineffective, our cat stepped in. Some days I could barely see the point in getting out of my bed. My daughter and I logged countless hours in cat therapy that year. The healing power of a cat purr carried us along and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Willow was a bright spot in a very dark year.

No sooner did we start living our lives a little, than it was time for that day I had been dreading. Those first few days after my daughter went to college, I felt lost and sad. Once again, Willow comforted me and got me through it. We have an unspoken agreement between us that if I feel the need to go to bed in the middle of the day, she will gladly join me until I feel like getting up again.

Willow continues to bring me and my daughter together despite the distance. When I am missing her, all I have to do is send a picture of our cat. It lets her know she’s on my mind and I always get a reply. I knew bringing that kitten into our home was going to be great, but I had no idea that she would end up rescuing us.

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 Heidi won Lucky Dawg Animal Rescue Inc. in Avondale, Pennsylvania a 2021 Love Stories award.