Happy Tail: Valentine (formerly Cersei)

When Annex Cat Rescue adopter Alyson told her husband Nathaniel she wanted to get a cat last year, he was reluctant at first. “He was more of a dog person,” Alyson explains. But they couldn’t get a dog due to life circumstances, so Alyson began browsing the ACR website. One bio caught her eye in particular. It was for a one-year-old tortoiseshell named Cersei.

 “The description said she was very chatty, and I was like, ‘I’ve never seen that before,’” Alyson recalls. “And it said she followed her foster mom everywhere in the apartment… and that she didn’t mind being picked up. I like picking up cats, I pick her up all the time. So those things really caught my eye.” 

Happy Tail: Valentine

Soon Alyson and her twin sister were off to meet Cersei in person. Catherine, Cersei’s foster mom, was apprehensive at first. A seasoned foster, she had had Cersei for three months, and knew that she had some socialization and overstimulation issues. 

“People come and their instinct is to interact with the cat and play with them, and for a cat that gets overstimulated, that’s when they’re going to nip,” Catherine says. “I was a little bit nervous about that. But Alyson and her sister, they had a history with cats. So, Cersei did nip a little bit, but they took it in stride, which was delightful.”

Happy Tail: Valentine

Coincidentally, their meeting took place on the twins’ birthday. And before the end of the day, the cat would have another birthday connection. “Alyson mentioned that she was going to call her Valentine, which was fun, because it was the first meeting. She was like, ‘There she is!’” Catherine recalls. The reason for the name? Alyson explains that her husband’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day. “So, we called her Valentine.” 

The adjustment period went smoothly on both sides. Unexpectedly, Alyson’s husband instantly fell in love with their new friend. Nathaniel was “totally captivated with [Valentine], following her around, watching her, asking ‘Is she OK?’” Alyson remembers with a smile. Meanwhile, Valentine quickly took to her new home. Within two weeks, she was sleeping in the bed with them. 

Happy Tail: Valentine

In the year since she has come home, more of Valentine’s personality has emerged, revealing a funny, curious, and playful cat. “She has her spot on the couch, and if you’re sitting in it, she’ll come and look at you, like, ‘That’s my spot,’” Alyson laughs. Valentine also has a favourite toy named Squirrely, which is now part of hers and Nathaniel’s morning routine. “She’ll wait at the bottom of the stairs for Nat to come down in the morning and play with her.” 

Valentine was so loving and sweet, it was hard for Alyson and Nathaniel to understand why anyone would ever give her the name of the evil queen, Cersei. But on a trip to the vet, they discovered why.

Happy Tail: Valentine

“She immediately was growling and hissing. And the vet was like, ‘Have you ever seen her like this?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’ve never seen her hiss or growl,’” Alyson says. “She was really stiff and angry. It’s because she was at the vet. I think she just doesn’t like to be around other animals, other cats. So that’s why they called her Cersei. Because she was evil! But she’s not like that with us.”

Happy Tail: Valentine

It seems clear that adoption turned this once-evil queen into a true loving Valentine. 

-Aleks Kandic

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