Happy Tails: Nixie (Formerly Whoopee) and Panda

Adopting Nixie and Panda was the natural course for Sarah, who grew up in a family that always had a dog or a cat, along with lots of other animals. “I was starting to miss having an animal friend around,” she said, looking back at the days before two furry creatures stepped into her life.

Nixie and Panda

But for her live-in boyfriend Eric, it was a different story. He had never had a pet before and didn’t know what to expect, and was initially a little hesitant. Sarah’s earnest pleas, however, won him over, and he eventually agreed to adding new family members.

Sarah’s friend recommended she try Annex Cat Rescue. It didn’t take very long until Nixie captured her attention. The tabico, or tabby-calico mix, reminded Sarah of her favourite kitty, Hannah, from her childhood. Found in a mechanic’s shop with her sibling and their mother cat, Nixie was surrendered to ACR after the owner of the shop decided to keep the other two.

Unfortunately, Nixie was already in the adoption process, so Sarah had to move on. A few days later, though, she got the news that Nixie’s adoption had fallen through. Sarah was back in the game!

In the meantime, another foster family contacted her about Panda. The unique markings Panda has on her mouth made a big impression on Sarah because it makes Panda look like she’s always smiling. Despite the permanent smile, this runt of the litter, who was likely part of a colony rescue effort, was very shy at first.

Nixie moved in first. The chatty tabico sniffed around her new environment and quickly settled in. Panda arrived two days later, showing a sharp contrast to Nixie. “Panda was a ghost cat for a few weeks,” Sarah said. They heard Panda eat at night and play with Nixie, but she hid under the couch every time people came in. “Eric and I just kept talking to her and trying to make her feel as safe as possible,” she said.

It has been two years since Nixie and Panda became the part of the family. Nixie hasn’t changed since day one. “She’s a very vocal cat and sometimes I swear she speaks English,” Sarah said. “She’s the alpha, and she’s extremely affectionate and a little bit bossy.”

Happy tail - Nixie and Panda

Panda is still taking her time, but is gradually coming out of her shell. “I’m happy to say she is much more affectionate toward us now,” Sarah said. Though still shy, Panda doesn’t miss her chance revealing her personality. “She is definitely a little foodie,” she added.

The biggest change, however, came from her boyfriend. Sarah said, “Eric has a much greater respect for animals and nature. He cares more about animal welfare in general now.”

And of course, the proud owner of two cats has been cherishing the rewards of a life bonding with animals. “Soon after we brought Nixie and Panda home, our apartment felt more like a home,” Sarah said.

— Alex Kitayama

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