Family of pets4/6/2022
Strolling the streets at night, Oliva the cat scavenged for food from humans. As a skinny small kitten, Oliva had free range of the outdoor world… until she met Bethany Mott.
Mott found Olivia outside her home in 2007, and the pair bonded. Olivia quickly settled in her new home with a comfy bed fashioned from a small basket. Yet the security of a stable home couldn’t keep her inside for long.
“Before long, she came home pregnant and had a litter of kittens,” Mott said. “She’s a little socialite.”
After a night of hunting, Olivia brings home “gifts” of the hunt to the family, dropping them off at their doorstep or outside a window.
Besides being an outdoor cat, Oliva learned survival tricks of obtaining food, which she still does indoors.
“The cat likes stealing food. I found her as a street kitten. She eats Doritos. She’ll eat anything,” Mott said.
Olivia steals food from their kitchen cupboards. One time she came out with a stick of butter and a sweet potato.
“We call her ‘rat’ sometimes,” Mott said.
Also in the family pet mix is Puff the Magic Dragon, a bearded dragon that Mott’s daughter Maddy obtained. Puff likes to jump on people and hang out with the family. Its favorite snack is live crickets, but it is also known to eat blueberries, broccoli and cilantro.
Puff and Olivia are buddies and often cuddle up to each other on the sofa. For Halloween, Mott dressed the cat and dragon in matching unicorn outfits.
As a dog walker for Auntie Abby’s Professional Pet Sitting Service, Mott has become passionate about all animals. So when she saw a notice about a rescue dog needing a home, she couldn’t resist.
“Someone gave her to us, looking to rehome. The dog had been clingy and thought she’d be better in a family setting,” she said.
So the family adopted Kalita — a pit bull, lab and German shepherd mix.
“We weren’t planning on getting a dog. It fell into our lap,” she said. “Most dogs are a lot of work, but she is low maintenance.”
The three animals mostly get along. The dog occasionally chases the cat, but as a social creature, Olivia likes the attention.
The Mott family takes all three animals on walks in their neighborhood. Olivia follows behind the dog, which is on a leash. Puff will hang out in a jacket pocket or sun itself on the top of a family member’s shoulder.
They have to be cautious with the bearded dragon. It has never bitten anyone, but the neighbor’s dog once snatched Puff while it was unattended.
“The dog stole the lizard in her mouth. We were chasing her around, trying to get the lizard. The kids were crying,” she said. “He survived. He was perfectly fine.”
Mott’s daughter Milly would like her own pet and declares she’d take 15 cats and 15 dogs if she could hide them under her bed. But, for now, a dog, a cat and a bearded dragon will suffice for the Mott family. Besides, Olivia might not welcome any other pets into the Mott home.
“The cat is a queen. She doesn’t get along with other cats,” Mott said. “She’s content with the family.” ♦