When I think of all that’s happened between last Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving — wow, I have a lot to be grateful for! Gratitude is a great practice for me to cultivate. Somehow, when I remember to be thankful for things, everything else instantly improves and becomes easier. Naturally, my cats are in the thick of my gratitude.

I’m grateful for many cat-related things this year, and the goodies keep coming.

1. I’m so grateful that a certain kitty near me just got adopted — YES!

I wrote about this sweet older cat on Catster. He’d been at the shelter for one-and-a-half years. Mr. Bates had a home there for as long as needed, and it is a wonderful shelter. I wanted this guy in the worst way. His sweet and quiet personality just stole my heart. But we’re maxed out now with six kitties, and the dynamics are still being worked out after our Zorro joined the household earlier this year. However, I learned that this great cat was adopted a few days ago. Yes, I am very very happy about this.

2. I’m grateful that Zorro has settled in

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, Zorro was “quasi-feral” and hiding in our unheated garage; he wouldn’t let me near him. Still, for all that, he did make sure we could see him right through our window, and he raised his paw as if begging for affection. (I think that’s probably a correct interpretation, because Zorro turns out to be very affectionate. He is a Velcro cat.) Zorro had a wild year being captured, moved across the country, and tamed — thankfully, the great cat god was looking out for us.

Zorro tamed up quite quickly, though I had no idea that it would happen. He was a bit of a bully at first, but that is settling down, too. Jamie Bluebell is now confident in the entire house, and no longer feels she has to hide in the office from Zorro. Zorro and Norton have become great buddies, and Zorro shows less and less aggression and is fitting in. (Zorro is not naturally aggressive — my theory is that he was just trying to find his place in the hierarchy of five other cats.)

3. I’m grateful that everyone is healthy — right now

This is always an immense source of gratitude, and it reminds me to stay in the present. It reminds me that my cats are healthy now, and that’s a good thing. I can’t worry about the future and the past is over. But I can pet a kitty, tell him I love him, and pick up a crinkly ball and throw it. I can be, and am, extremely happy for what is available now.

4. I’m grateful for animal-loving friends

In our new locale, I’ve met fantastic veterinarians, amazing animal shelters and the people who run them, humbling nonprofits that make a difference in the life of cats, and friends and neighbors who I would trust to watch my babies if I need to travel. At this year’s Cat Writers’ Association conference, I met new members with inspiring writing about feral caretaking, cats as a source of inspiration, and getting through the loss of a pet. I met old and new members — all passionately concerned about the welfare of cats, and all contributing in unique ways. It continues to inspire me.

5. I’m grateful for those precious cat moments

At the risk of sounding schmaltzy, here are some concrete pieces of wonderful, which only a passionate cat lover would understand. These are personal examples:

  • Zorro’s big soft paws gently touching my face.
  • Chester quietly jumping on to the couch next to me and hanging his paws over my leg.
  • Rama making throaty quasi-crabby noises into my ear, when he’s happy.
  • Jamie Bluebell going “Woo woo!” through the window when she’s happy and animated.
  • Kieran planting his butt on the piano keys and making me laugh; then, hitting a key that is somehow just right as I play a song.
  • Norton looking adorable, as only Norton can, and breaking the ice with Zorro. Norton and Zorro are now great buddies — Zorro has a cat who can stand up to his strength, and the wrestling is good for them both. They follow each other constantly.

There’s so much to be thankful for, cat-wise, in the past year. I’ve barely scratched the surface. What are you grateful for this year? Let us know in the comments!

More by Catherine Holm:

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.