A letter about an orange tabby named Zucchini arrived in the mailbox of the Community Animal Rescue Effort last year. The letter read:
"Dear C.A.R.E., I have thought about you so many times in the last several years. I'm happy that I finally tracked you down on the Internet so that I can share a story about one of your former guests.
"Back in early 1992, you had a young orange tabby visitor who went by the name of Curtis. He came to you once, was adopted by a family, and then was brought back to C.A.R.E. in March. At that time, I was a graduate student and missed feline companionship, so I headed out to you in April and fell in love with this orange boy the minute I saw that his cage had been marked with a Post-It that read, 'Super Nice!'
"It is about the truest thing anyone has ever said about a cat. I took him home, renamed him Zucchini, and gave him space to jump, run, and watch the birds in my Chicago courtyard. Within a few days, Zucchini had settled in and became the social center of attention of every gathering.
"Zucchini adores people, loves rubbing up against them, watching them, playing with them, and most of all, washing their hair.
"Today, nearly 19 years later, he has slowed down just a bit--only just. He still loves to play with his catnip toys and to walk out on the deck of the house where we now live in New York. He also still loves to bathe visitors, especially ones with short hair.
"Thank you, C.A.R.E. for taking a chance on Zucchini/Curtis (twice) and for keeping my super nice companion healthy for me until I arrived.
"All my best, Andrew Ross
"PS- I still wonder why Curtis/Zucchini was returned to C.A.R.E. the first time. Do you have records that would help shed some light on that?"
Long story short, several C.A.R.E. volunteers went through reams of old documents to track down Zucchini's record and answered Andrew's question.
And fast-forward to spring 2012. Zucchini passed away after a long, happy 20 years with Andrew. And Andrew again contacted C.A.R.E.--this time to set up a special fund in Zucchini's name to help other people find their forever cats.
"Zucchini’s Gift" will decrease the adoption fee for select cats to only $15, down from from $100, hopefully inspiring potential adopters to think about giving home to special needs cats—those who may be older or have medical considerations.
Zucchini’s Gift has come at a perfect time. C.A.R.E. has found itself with a much higher than usual cat population and is having difficulties accepting new cats due to space limitations. Turning away cats in need is heartbreaking, but without cats getting adopted, the shelter finds itself doing just that.
C.A.R.E. cats--including the lucky 10 Zucchini's Gift cats--can be seen online at the C.A.R.E. website.
To meet the cats, please visit the shelter during adoption hours and talk to an adoption counselor. Adoption hours run Monday-Thursday, 6-8 p.m., and weekends, 12-3:30 p.m. (closed Fridays). C.A.R.E./Evanston Animal Shelter is located at 2310 Oakton, just east of McCormick.
This blog was posted courtesy of CARE for the Evanston Animal Shelter. You can learn more about C.A.R.E. cats and dogs by 'Liking' CARE on Facebook, or by following C.A.R.E. on Twitter--@CAREevanston.