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Adoption counselor Jan Mulford studied the form before her.  A man named Mark Hazlett was applying to be a pet parent to the loving and playful calico named Miss Kitty.  Although she loved all of the pets in the Humane Society, Jan did occasionally find favorites, and Miss Kitty was one of them.  Jan had secretly been considering adopting Miss Kitty herself, even though she already had a cat.  Jan wondered why this Dr. Hazlett wanted a cat.  He was 35 years old, around her own age, and he had never owned a cat before, only dogs.

Absently, Jan twirled a finger around a strand of her brown, curly hair while studying the form.  Dr. Hazlett taught English at the University.  He presently had no other pets except for an aquarium of fish.  Miss Kitty would certainly be interested in that!  Jan finished reading the form by checking to make sure the applicant had carefully considered the cost of owning a cat.  She went out of her office with a cat carrier and walked to the cat colony area, where she found a tall, pleasant-looking man who was watching the cats through the glass windows.  “Dr. Hazlett?” she asked.

“Call me Mark, please,” he said, stepping forward to shake her hand.  His smile was broad and friendly, and his green eyes were kind.  Jan thought he looked like he would make a good cat owner.

“I'm Jan,” she told him, “Would you like to meet Miss Kitty in one of our socialization rooms?”

“Yes, please!” he said enthusiastically.

Jan led Mark into one of the socialization rooms, then she went into the cat colony, where all her feline friends ran up to her with excited meows.  “I've come to get Miss Kitty,” she told them, “It looks like she is going to get a new home!”

“Come, Miss Kitty,” she said  to the cat as she set her into the carrier, “Come meet the man with

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the nice smile.”  Jan hadn't noticed that the other adoption counselor, Gina, had entered the cat colony also.

“Nice smile, hmmm?” echoed Gina.

Jan blushed.  “I didn't hear you come in,” she complained.

Gina asked, “Is Mr. Nice Smile married?”

Jan frowned at the teasing and shrugged her shoulders.  “You know that information is not on our forms,” she said.  Then she took a deep breath, let it out, and left before Gina could tease her any more.

“Here she is, Mark,” Jan said, closing the door to the socialization room behind her.  She set the carrier on the floor and unlatched the door.  Miss Kitty, head and tail held high, came out and rubbed against Mark's leg.  Mark kneeled down on the floor and ran his left hand down Miss Kitty's back.  Jan noticed he wasn't wearing a ring.

“What made you decide to adopt a cat?” Jan asked him.

Mark laughed.  “I guess you did,” he said.  “I came here last week looking for a dog.  I could use a furry friend, since I live by myself.  Anyway, I spotted you in here petting this cat.”  He reached out above Miss Kitty, and the cat went up on her hind legs to reach his hand.  “When I saw how much this cat loves attention, I thought maybe she would make as good a companion for me as any dog.  I gave myself a week to think it over and to read up a bit on cat care.  I'm lucky no one adopted her in the meantime.”

“I can see that she really likes you,” said Jan.  “And you are lucky she wasn't adopted before

 

today.  In fact, I had been thinking of adopting her myself!”

“I'm sorry to take her away from you,” said Mark, “But I've already bought food and a litter box.  I even have a carrier out in my car.”

Jan told Mark she approved of the adoption.  While Mark went out to get his carrier, Jan waited

with Miss Kitty.  “You sure know how to charm a guy,” she told the cat.  She let Miss Kitty leap up to her outstretched hand.  “I'm going to miss you,” she told the cat sincerely.

Gina slipped into the room.  “Where's Mr. Nice Smile?” she asked.

This time, Jan refused to be ruffled.  “That's Dr. Nice Smile, for your information,” she said, “And, before you ask again, no, he is not married.”

The doorknob turned and Mark entered the room.  Gina said to him, “Congratulations on your adoption, sir.  If you ever have any questions about owning a cat, I'm sure Jan would be happy to answer them.  Maybe she'll even give you her phone number.”

Jan rolled her eyes at her friend's attempt at matchmaking.  Gina left the room.  Mark asked, “Do you own a cat, Jan?”  When she nodded, he said, “Since I've never owned a cat before, I could use some advice.  Maybe I can take you out to dinner sometime.”

Jan smiled nervously and replied, “Sure.  I'd like that.”

Mark asked, “Are you free this evening?  I know a great place to meet.”

Later, Mark and Jan sat at a table at Wildcat Cafe, a local restaurant that was popular with the university crowd.  Jan asked how Miss Kitty was adjusting to her new home.

“She's doing great,” Mark assured, “I really have you to thank for bringing us together.  If I hadn't noticed the attractive woman with the brown, curly hair, I never would have been drawn to the cat colony.”

Jan had a feeling she might not have said her final goodbye to Miss Kitty after all.

End

My biography:  I enjoy writing poetry and stories for adults and children,  I recently had a poem published in Humpty Dumpty magazine.  I am 51 years old and have two grown girls.  I have one cat, Felice.

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