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For years, I adopted “mature” shelter cats because they are like many of us: getting older, but still worth the time and effort if given a chance. This time, though, I was seeking a youngster to grow into the position of Animal Assisted Activities (“therapy”) Cat.

While there were many worthy adoption candidates at CAT in Sherwood, OR, Spenser had me at first mew. He was adorable – eight weeks old with long silky fur, light blue eyes, and dark tabby markings that appeared to be painted in watercolor on his sweet face. I brought him home and he fit right in with his five adult siblings, although the not everyone was enchanted by his kitten high jinks.

Spenser became an adored visitor at Memory Care where he would recline in his hot pink carrier, wearing his little blue harness, while everyone ooohed and aaahed. He was a star.

Spenser was learning to tolerate the car, but that changed during a traumatizing ride. He was hiding in his carrier, wary but resigned. We were on noisy, busy Route 101 when a huge truck passed with its horn blasting, followed by a car with its radio on full blare. Spenser panicked and frantically tried to get out of the carrier, which landed upside down on the floor. After rushing to park, I lifted the terrified little guy out of the carrier to soothe him. He clawed his way out of my arms and propelled himself under the seat where he remained for hours (only time and tuna could get him out).

Now, the therapy kitten needs therapy for his motorphobia. He runs the other way when he sees his formerly beloved carrier, and he is so fearful and anxious that it would be cruel to force him back into service, even for such a good cause. We’ll work on it as he grows up, but for now I have to be satisfied with a beautiful, playful, affectionate, happy young fluffball who prefers to be a homebody. Hey – it could be worse!

Lincoln City, OR

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