Did Your Special Cat Choose You? How Did It Happen?


Years ago, I volunteered in an animal shelter in northern Minnesota. I had my eye on a buff tabby named Chester. He was sweet and sociable. He started out in a cage, but as his gregarious nature became apparent, the staff moved him into a cat room that he easily shared with several other cats. I hesitated for a few months (we already had several other cats), and then I gave in and adopted him. When I opened the interior door to his cat room, he walked right up to me, and then he walked right to the door as if he was saying, “Well, come on. Let’s get on with life!” He knew he was going home with me.

My Chester — a sweet buff boy.

I think about that often, and I wondered if others have experienced the sensation of their cat choosing them. Turns out that plenty of people have experienced this. Here are some of their stories and the circumstances under which cats made the choice.

1. Cats up for adoption

Cat blogger Sierra Koester was drawn to an orange kitten in a bottom cage during an adoption event. She knew that “when Carmine curled up and purred in my lap that he had chosen me to go home with.” Carmine has been with Sierra for nearly 11 years, and he is not a lap cat.

Sierra says, “It’s a real treat when he chooses to sit in your lap. This confirms that he wanted to make sure I got the message the day I met him.”

Carmine 3-14-16
Carmine photo via Sierra Koester

Artist, writer, and filmmaker Bradleigh Stockwell had lost his companion animal of 16 years. Sooner than planned, he and his wife Diana visited the San Francisco SPCA adoption center. One young kitten reached out for Bradleigh and squeaked.

“When he was set in my arms that first time, he crawled up to my face and began chewing on my glasses,” he said. “I was happy, in tears, and told Diana, ‘I want this one — he’s eating my glasses.'”

Jules Joubert photo via Bradleigh Stockwell


Cat mystery author Clea Simon didn’t believe she was ready for another cat after her beloved Cyrus died. But a friend who worked at a shelter called and said, “There’s a kitten you have to meet.” As Clea talked to her friend at the shelter, Clea’s husband approached the cages.

A little black-and-white kitten — the same one my friend had told me about — reached out and grabbed his finger,” she said. “She chose us, and it was love at first sight.”

Elizabeth Robert reports that many cats have chosen her. She and her husband had just moved, and “Heaven forbid, I only had one cat, so off we went to a shelter. She was NOT the cutest, nicest, youngest, funniest; she was NOT what I wanted … but she followed hubby and I for more than an hour.”

Every time they stopped to play or pet a “possible” cat or kitten, a cat named Gaia would smack them with her paw.

“Hubby said she was mean,” Beth said. “But I realized she just wanted us to notice her.”

Beth said that they adopted her from a shelter in El Paso, Texas, and “to this day, she loves anything with hamburger and chilies.”

Gaia photo via Elizabeth Robert

Free roaming strays

Michelle Wolff (who I interviewed about “compassion fatigue” in rescue work) has long rescued animals. A black outdoor cat named Juniper Hoot began following her adopted stray Tonka inside our house.

“We’d come home, and he would bolt out so fast I actually didn’t know which of the alley cats had decided to explore indoors,” she said. “Over time he would run to the yard and stop, then to the back door and stop, into the kitchen and stop, until eventually he stayed.”

The first time Juniper saw the TV he panicked and ran — “I didn’t see him again for several days,” she said, “but then one morning I heard his chirruping hoot noises playing with the cloth mice under the dining room table.”

He stayed in longer and longer.

“It took eight long months before he would let me touch him and another six months or so before my husband could,” Michelle said. “A year later he would get on the bed. He is the sweetest cat and has sold me on the personality of black cats. He even forgave me for getting him neutered.”

Tonka and Juniper Hoot. Photo via Michelle Wolff

Cats who choose us in less obvious ways

Sometimes cats choose us every day, with their intentional actions. Mary Hunt’s cat “chooses me every night when she walks over my boyfriend’s face to sleep on my chest, so close that her whiskers tickle my face. My old girl is now about 15; I love her to pieces.”

Jennifer Slater, author and writer for Catster and Dogster, reveals that her cat, Norma Jean, chose her dog. Ruby. The two were inseparable friends. From the time she could walk, little Norma Jean (who arrived with a litter of kittens) followed Ruby around like the dog’s shadow — eating with Ruby from her bowl, playing together, and sleeping snuggled up together.

“When Ruby passed away a few months ago,” Jennifer said, “I was honored when, after some time, Norma Jean finally decided to sleep with me instead of waiting for her friend to return.”

Ruby and Norma Jean — inseparable friends. Photo via Jennifer Slater

Rescued cats who choose us

Elizablest Catmom Moonrose and her boyfriend were coming home at night from a shopping trip and saw a car ahead of them speed up a bit and suddenly stop. She saw a kitten being tossed out the window onto the road. The kitten stood there, stunned, then headed toward the berry fields, crying as only a confused kitten could cry.

“I answered him in reassuring mama cat tones as best I could and scooped him up into my arms and into the car to take home,” Elizablest said. “He was skin and bones, filthy dirty, and covered in fleas.”

Elizablest had five cats and was bottle feeding three ferals. She named the kitten Boy George for his eyeliner look.

boy george
Boy George has natural eyeliner. Photo via Elizablest Catmom Moonrose

I have immense gratitude for anyone who rescues or adopts cats and gives them a good home, but I love the added element of a cat making it clear the pairing is a good fit. Cats know how to choose us when they decide what they want. Do you have a compelling story of how your cat chose you? Tell me in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Did Your Special Cat Choose You? How Did It Happen?”

  1. I haven’t adopted them yet, but I went to the humane society with my 6 month old son who is interested in animals so much he trys to pet them and his aunt. And he does good with not pulling. I am teaching him the proper way to pet nicely. Well, we walk into the first cat room and immediately this orange tabby cat walks up to me and I started petting him. I looked at his name tag and his name is Percy. Which I love that name because of the book Percy Jackson that I read over and over as a kid. Then he didn’t even mind my son patting his head and feeling his ears. Then I went to go to the other cat room and Percy tried coming out the door with us as if he wanted badly to go home with us. The shelter volunteer had to stop him. After we were done at the shelter, we walked outside and there is Percy on the lodge of their indoor/outdoor area where the cats can enjoy the outside just watching us. I went up to the cage and said, “I will be back for you. I promise.” He leaked his head up and watched as well went to our car. Poor Percy was so sad to see us go. I was sad to leave him there as well. There was also a orange tabby kitten named Tyrion that was the only kitten that wanted anything to do with me. My son has never seen a kitten before but he just watched him. So I think that I am going to be coming home with two orange tabbys. Maybe even the talkative Cali the calico. Otherwise, I know my sister in law who came with us would adopt her. We are currently trying to convince the rest of the family. I am going to visit the cats I like at the shelter tomorrow again.

  2. I had been feeding an orange tabby for months. I’d heared that his people left him behind when they moved away, and he was hostile and suspicious. Eventually, he decided we could be friends and that was that. Or, so I thought. Early the next year, I began seeing a skinny, obviously young, dilute calico slinking about. She was fast, and she was totally horrified by people. Macaroni & Cheese (we gave in and named him!) clearly adored her, and I was beginning to, also. She was gorgeous and dainty, but super skittish! After several months of consistent care (albeit from 10 arm lengths away), she grew more plump and slinked slower. One day, I crept down to the bottom of the steps to where she was eating. Slowly, cautiously, one step at a time. She never looked up. I stealthily sneaked out a finger and touched the top of her head. An ear twitched. She kept eating. Finally, I got bold and applied a full-on head scratch. She stopped eating at that point – but to lift her head into the wonderful new sensation. Like Mac, I was struck fully, deeply in love. She sealed the deal when she came up the steps and sat down right next to me to take a bath. From that day, Sushi parked herself on my front porch, eventually bringing out two orange kittens that she and Mac had been hiding. She ruled from the steps, bringing me rabbits and other rodents and chasing off anyone or anything she perceived as an interloper – including Macaroni & Cheese! She discovered “lap” and invented “cuddles”, both with a vengeance. Sushi walked the neighborhood with me, stopping when I stopped then leading the way home with her tail high. The kittens (Cheshire and Cheddar) found new homes and so did Sushi; the formerly slinky beast now rules from inside the house, where she is incredibly loved and cherished.

  3. It was tough getting out of the most abusive relationship of my life. The last person left in my “circle”. I was lonely feeling one night, walking home from the bust stop. I looked up and begged god for a boyfriend. How weak. Almost immediately, I heard a kitten meowing for his life… or so I thought.

    I found this all black, baby kitten peeking out of from under a storm drain, in front of a busy road. The mother in me could not let this child wander into the crazy world all alone. Especially on a night that only grew colder. The cat trusted me. It chose me. She, yes its a girl, allowed me to carry her home.

    Her tail was badly inured & ended up falling off. Well, the tip of it. My tail bone had been injured by my abusive father when I was 8 & I’m still healing. I bathed her in lavender soapy water and used turmeric for her wound. I named her Luca. Shes all black with green eyes & no eyebrows. She claws them off. She also loves water.

    Because of Luca, I am have no fear. I am a cat now too & it is quite hilarious.

  4. I am blessed that I have a second story to tell. Zoe: I was working at an animal shelter doing some community service for a traffic ticket. I walked into the second cat room to clean cages – let the cat out, wipe the cage, refill litter, food and water, put the cat back in and do the next one. In the 3rd cage was this tiny siamese kitten, meowing as loud as an adult and never taking her eyes off me. I got to her cage, opened it and she jumped to me and climbed up and sat on my shoulder while I worked. She didn’t want to go back in her cage and cried the entire time that I was cleaning the other cages. She would paw at the door, paw on the floor of the cage, meowing this pitiful meow, watching me. I would go back in every chance I got the rest of the day and by the end of the day, I put in an application for her. She was my velcro kitty, my shoulder was her favorite spot when I was awake and the top of my head when I slept. She fetched anything I would throw, she got in the bath with me and she had a habit of stealing my hair ties. And 15 years just wasn’t enough with my honey girl.

  5. My Missy: A little while after my Petie had passsed, I was ready for another so I went to the shelter intent on giving an older cat a home. Walking along the wall of cages, I stopped and reached in to pet an adult tabby. She didn’t seem all that interested in me and just as I started to talk to her I felt a tug at my shorts. A tiny kitten in the cage below was clinging to the wires and reaching for me with all she had. She was a tortoiseshell calico, she looked dirty and meowed until I put my hand in for her to rub. The cat room attendant came over to open that cage door and the 3 other kittens rushed out into the room but this one, she jumped to my shorts and climbed up to my shoulder and as I held her, she started licking my cheek. And she was my baby girl for 17 years.

  6. I was given a kitten from a friend of my daughter who had a litter. She is a lynx Siamese. My husband and I decided she needed a friend,and went to the shelter to look. From the moment I walked into the male kitty cat room, a tabby jumped in my lap, and climbed up onto my shoulder. I petted him for a time, but wasn’t sure he was what I was looking for, when I left the room, he immediately jumped on the window ledge and meowed and meowed. We went into the girl kitty room, and when I left there, the boy kitty was still on the ledge meowing loudly. I turned to my husband and said “I have to take him home.” He is my special boy.

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