By Crystal Harrell

There’s a distinction that comes with being labeled as a “cat person” and a “dog person”—with the former finding preference in the cool aloofness of a feline friend and the latter wanting the affectionate loyalty of a canine companion. Then there are those who meet in the middle, finding comfort in the company of both kinds of pets.

I grew up only ever having rescued a Chihuahua, a Terrier-mix, and a lovable German Shepard/Pug hybrid. So when my husband—who had a family kitten during his childhood—suggested we adopt a cat after our wedding in October, I was a bit uncertain of how I would adjust to having a third member of the household that was of the feline persuasion. Would it sit on my lap just like my dogs would? Would it retaliate with claws? Would the cat adjust to the litter box? Would I adjust to the litter box?

On November 28, my husband and I rescued a two-year-old tabby cat from the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. My family had adopted most of our dogs from this shelter in the past, so I was familiar with the space as my husband and I entered the building. But instead of heading toward the dog cages, we stopped at the clear windows with cats available for adoption.


We had stocked up on our cat supplies the weekend prior—knowing we were committed to bringing home our furry plus-one that day. So with a cat carrier in hand, we looked through the windows to see which cat took an interest in us. Even in the early morning, the shelter was already bustling with people (mostly families with excited children in tow) wanting to take home a pet. My husband scanned through the selection of cats to see which ones hadn’t already been claimed, until we saw a gentle candidate with a crescent-shaped smile.

After going behind the class to interact with our new feline friend, she instantly purred and rubbed her furry cheeks against our hands—showing us that she wanted us to give her a home outside of her cage. We named her Mochi, after the Japanese rice cake-covered ice cream dessert, because of her sweet disposition and small size.

When my husband and I brought Mochi home for the first time, she had an ardent need to be around us and was very vocal about it as well—clinging to our side as we sat on the couch and mewling indignantly whenever we had to step away from her. This habit went on for the first couple of days, and I chalk it up to her finally being happy she has a place to call home and humans to provide the affection, playtime, and nourishment she needs.

Mochi is honestly the perfect addition to our nest. Although being two-years-old, she still has the gentle curiosity and delicate demeanor of a kitten—finding joy in pouncing on her feather toys and mewling for attention. Mochi was also litter box trained when we got her, so my paranoia about that was gone quickly. The way she perches at the top of her cat tower like a princess surveying her kingdom, and her operatic range of cat meows, only punctuate her unique personality.

Mochi has her own unique language—whether it be a short chirp in agreement or long, high-octave mews of lamentation whenever we venture too far away from her. We may still be in the process of becoming fluent in Mochi-speak, but every time she purrs and nuzzles her head against us, she tells us “thank you” in her very own special way.

Although we rescued Mochi just prior to the holiday season, my husband and I planned her arrival knowing she was not just a Christmas commodity. I stand by this sentiment with anyone wanting to adopt a pet during the holidays as a gift or new family addition. Adopting a pet can be an over-a-decade-long commitment, and as our little family continues to grow and change, my husband and I are very grateful we have Mochi to witness it for years to come.

To learn more about the Coachella Valley Animal Campus or to make an appointment to adopt, visit their official website at, or call (760) 343-3644.