Nefertiti, a long-haired gray tabby, and her owner have been inseparable companions for 13 years, since she was a kitten. But her owner was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, and his dying wish is for her to find a new companion.
He has no friends or family who are willing or able to take Nefertiti in, and he didn't want to leave Nefertiti to an uncertain life after his death. So, he gave Nefertiti to the Humane Society of Utah (4242 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City), where she's currently waiting for her second chance at a forever home.
Carl Arky, director of communications at the Humane Society of Utah, says Nefertiti's plight is "representative of a larger overall problem." Though there are now attorneys who specialize in setting up trusts so that there is a plan for pets when somebody dies, more often, a dog or cat might be left alone in a house for days after a death, or left dependent on the family or friends of the deceased individual to care for them.
This man's forward-thinking, Arky says, "was very exceptional, considering his current state. Most of us would be focused on ourselves, but he's thinking about his companion for the past 13 years. His hope is that he'll know that she's been adopted."
Nefertiti is no kitten, but Arky points out that cats who are well taken care of can live a good long life. And since Nefertiti is declawed, she'll need to be an indoor-only cat—which live nearly twice as long as their outdoor compatriots.
There are many pets who've had to leave a life of comfort and companionship for an unknown future at the Humane Society and other shelters. "Every day there is someone who leaves here crying hysterically because they had to drop off their animal," Arky says. "But we never judge. This is a great opportunity for the animal to find a new home. We work every day to place these animals into good homes. For five years, we've not euthanized a single adoptable dog. And our success rate with cats has gone up about 30 percent since we've opened Kitty City."
Senior animals like Nefertiti don't get as much attention as wriggling puppies and kittens, but they're no less good pets, Arky says. "There's no way to prove this, but in my heart, I know that they're grateful, and somehow they understand that you have done them a good turn," he says. "They're so loyal, so grateful, and so happy to be out of the shelter. They do know that they've gone to a better place. We've got a great shelter, but shelters are shelters. It's loud, it's noisy; it's not a home. It's just supposed to be a way station on the journey to getting a home. They deserve it."
And that's what Nefertiti's former owner is hoping that she'll find at the Humane Society of Utah. People interested in adopting her should call the HSU at 801-261-2919.