Lessons I Learned From My Rescued Cat | Lola The Rescued Cat
Friday, January 8, 2021

Lessons I Learned From My Rescued Cat

Ten years ago this month I adopted Lola. Well, it’s probably more accurate to say that Lola adopted me. My life has changed so much over the past ten years, and everything that has happened is because I instantly fell in love with a skinny little cat with a snotty nose (that she wiped all over me) who was so sick she couldn’t even meow.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat

How can a decade fly by in a blink of an eye? It seems impossible, yet it happened. Lola and I have been through so much together over the years. In year one we probably had at least 15 vet visits to address her chronic respiratory issues. During year two it was determined that she has chronic sinusitis because of the horrible upper respiratory infection she had as a young cat, so the visits slowed down considerably. I learned to tell the difference between her “regular sneezes” and sneezes that required a vet visit.

After her canine teeth were removed she experienced a regression in her health, which led us to experiment with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. This treatment turned her into a different cat and she is healthier, happier, and more energetic than ever. People sometimes ask me how much money I have spent on her medical care. The answer, is I have no idea; it never crossed my mind to add it up because it never mattered.

After the first couple of years, Lola’s health stabilized and she was just a “sneezy” cat. On Facebook she would often write about her “sneeze accidents”, which included sneezing in my coffee, on the walls, or in my face. I’ve also been asked over the years about Lola’s “special needs.” Lola doesn’t have any special needs, she’s just sneezy and often has a stuffy nose. Overall, she’s a healthy cat.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Achoo! Oops, 'scuse me. 

What is special about Lola is the effect she has on people. She can wrap a person around her paw in a matter of seconds. She has a calming, healing ability that can soothe a person almost immediately. She has a knack for knowing just when someone needs her attention, and she has calmed many of my anxiety attacks throughout the pandemic. She possesses more love than I have ever seen or felt in a living being. It's a love that reaches your soul; a love she willingly shares with the world. The more people she can love, the better. 

Lola is resilient, determined, intuitive, and loving, and she has been one of my greatest teachers in life. Today, to celebrate a decade of life together, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned from her.

Lessons I Learned From Lola

The Power of Forgiveness

Lola has taught me that it’s okay to forgive those who have wronged you. Humans let Lola down in the worst way possible. The truth is that nobody knows exactly how she ended up in that dumpster, but at one point she was definitely somebody’s cat. And then she wasn’t. After the dumpster experience, becoming so ill in the shelter she couldn’t even eat with a face full of mucous and food that nobody cleaned, and knocking on death’s door, it would be understandable for Lola to be distrustful.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
My poor little girl sick in the shelter. 

But that’s not her. Lola has nothing but love to show people, and her trust is unwavering. When the doorbell rings she runs to see who is there so she can greet them. If we have more than one visitor, she finds great joy in jumping from lap to lap, soaking up all the attention she can get. She has no reservations about being vulnerable and will roll over and show her belly to anyone. Lola holds no grudges and trusts everyone.

She has made me aware of the emotional freedom that forgiving brings. When I stumble on the path of my own journey of forgiveness, I look at her and see how happy she is living in the moment, not dwelling on any of the negative memories she may have.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola napping. 

Never Take No for an Answer

When Lola wants something, she won’t stop until she gets it. When she wants to be picked up she will follow me around the house meowing, until I finally scoop her up. If I’m busy and I put her back down, the sequence starts over until I pick her up again – and again. If I’m working on the computer and she jumps on the keyboard and I put her down, she jumps back up. This repeats a few times until I finally stop and give her the attention she wants. Zoom work meetings? They’re no competition for Lola. She will continually step on the keyboard, touch my face with her paw, or block the camera until I finally turn it off so she can be the spotlight of my attention.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola demanded attention from the very beginning. 

The word “no” is not in Lola’s repertoire. She has taught me that if I don’t get the answer I’m looking for on the first try, then I should try again. Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and she inspires me to try again when the outcome I’m looking for doesn’t happen immediately.

Your Past Doesn't Dictate Your Future

Lola has taught me that anyone can rise above their humble beginnings and past traumas. I was totally prepared to have a timid cat who hid from the world, but Lola had bigger dreams for herself. It was such a pleasure, and so heartwarming, to watch her slowly start to come out of her shell and it was amazing to see her virtual overnight transition once she allowed herself to fully experience the world. One day she was a frightened little cat, and the next she was bossing Lexy around, letting her know there was a new sheriff in town.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola, in the hospital, beginning to recover.

When I allow past experiences to hold me back, I reflect on Lola’s journey. She may have been considered a “dumpster cat”, but she made sure the world would see her as so much more.

Be Bigger Than Your Fears

When I first brought Lola home, she was afraid of her own shadow. Someone making a noise in the hallway of our building would send her running to the bathtub to hide. Any sudden movement, the rustling of plastic bags, or someone walking towards her with shoes on would frighten her into her safe space under the radiator in the living room. Anytime I would enter the apartment she would hide behind the TV. The towel rack in the bathroom was one of her safe places for some time (or as long as she was able to fit there, anyway.)

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola on her towel rack. You can see her eyes were still healing. 

And if the doorbell rang she’d run under the bed, and visitors would say “I thought you had two cats, where’s the other one?” Not many people saw her.

Little by little, as she stood up to those scary situations, her fears subsided. It was wonderful to watch her go from hiding, to tentatively staying in the living room when the doorbell rang, to running to the door so she can greet visitors. She refused to let her fears stop her from living a full and happy life, and faced them head-on.

I have often let fear hold me back from pursuing dreams, participating in activities, or trying something new. When this happens, I think of Lola on her first day at home compared to the cat she is now, and I push myself to step outside of my comfortable box. If she allowed her fears to dictate her life she would still be living under the radiator or behind the TV. She knew there was so much more to experience and didn’t let anything stop her from doing it.

Don't Be Afraid to Try Something New

Lola had many "firsts" after her adoption. They started with bathing and grooming herself, which she finally took interest in after a couple of weeks. 

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola taking her first bath. 

Other new things she tried were sleeping on the bed (which she now owns), looking out of the window, 

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Lola sees her new world for the first time. She was so skinny!

playing with her beloved brown mouse, 

exploring the dried flowers, 

letting Lexy sniff her, 

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
One of my favorite photos of the girls.

playing with Lexy, and a host of other things. 

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
The girls work together to catch a bug.

Through watching Lola I've learned that pushing trepidations aside and embracing new experiences can be very exciting, can increase your self-esteem, and can open doors to opportunities you never knew were there. 

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
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Lola, my sweet girl, I am honored that you chose me to be your person. You have been the best life coach anyone could ask for. We have accomplished so many things together, and I look towards our future with excitement as I wonder what comes next. Happy gotcha day, pretty girl! Here’s to ten more years together.

Lessons I learned from my rescued cat
Not our best photo, that's for sure!

Lola is planning her own post for her special gotcha day. I hear it involves a giveaway or two since we are also celebrating our tenth anniversary on Facebook. But I’ll let her tell you all about that in her post. 

What lessons have you learned from your cat? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.


About the Author:
Dawn White is an award-winning writer/blogger and the author of Lola: Diary of a Rescued Cat.  Dawn has been writing in the pet industry for over seven years and has been a contributing writer for the Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Pro Program, BlogPaws, and Chewy.com.

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  1. Happy Gotcha Day beautiful Lola and we'll say that again on your special post. You deserve every bit of happy you found sweet girl!

  2. wavez two ewe lola...what a grate post two day and grate mooveez az well, we gived ya 984 pawz UP for both over ther at de moovee place....we iz glad ya dinna eat de burd skinz ;) we look for werd ta reedin yur gotcha day post ! :) ♥3

  3. What a sweet post for a sweet girl. It is amazing to see how different cats (and other animals) can become once they know they are home and safe.

  4. Dawn, thank you for telling us Lola's story and about the strength of her personality. With you, she has become the cat she was meant to be! Have a Happy Day!

  5. Awww, what a nice post and portrait in words of your Lola! Beautiful photos of her too!

  6. What a lovely story. It is remarkable how Lola transformed with love and security after such a bad start in life.
    Happy Gotcha Day, sweet girl.


  8. Lola is a special girl. I am glad you found each other. You are the perfect mom for her. XO

  9. What a lovely post! Lola is a very special girl.

  10. This blog was very affecting to me and Katie. We are, yes, Katie too, emotional about the love kitties do have for their mom's and dad's and wish everyone realized that. I have written blogs about that topic in my own blog, Katie hasn't approached that topic in hers. But I put this particular blog down as the best I have ever read about the healing and love that does exist between bonded pets and parents. Thank you for this today.
    Katie Isabella at Blogspot

  11. We really enjoyed this post. Loved the video of the mouse she has SO MUCH energy! We are all rescues and Miss Fitz is a failed foster (who wants a kitty who is immobile for a whole adoption event. 5 times over!) who have given me so much and more than I can ever repay. 10 years! Wow! Time flies

  12. What a wonderful post this is, about the important life lessons that wise Lola has taught you. She found the perfect forever home there with you, Dawn. XO

  13. This post is so inspiring and sweet. I love Lola! I am so happy she adopted you, Dawn. And clearly she has taught you many lessons along the way!

  14. She's such a special little angel, loved by so many! You were destined to be together.


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