[PEOPLE AND PETS] DeHarpporte recounts misguided cat lady

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Melissa Nie

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[PEOPLE AND PETS] DeHarpporte recounts misguided cat lady

Sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte with her cat Fen.

Sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte with her cat Fen.

Adeline DeHarpporte

Sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte with her cat Fen.

Adeline DeHarpporte

Adeline DeHarpporte

Sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte with her cat Fen.

The world of stray cats can be messy, especially when humans get involved. Sophomore Adeline DeHarpporte knows this first hand.

DeHarpporte has plenty of pets on her own: three dogs, two cats, two guinea pigs, and a fish. She interacts with animals on the daily and has a lot of love in her heart for them. But when her family tried to help out a stray cat, things started to go wrong.

“We had a stray cat in our backyard and we kept her for a little while and found her owners two blocks away,” DeHarpporte said. “We were talking to this woman about how we had found the cat to try and figure out if it was hers.”

The woman became convinced that the stray cat was actually her cat, who had been lost sometime before. But there was a problem with that.

“Our cat was a girl cat and her cat was a boy cat,” DeHarpporte said. “She said, ‘I think I would know my own cat. You stole him.’ Then she sued us.”

Despite testimonials from a veterinarian that the stray cat was, in fact, female and could not possibly be the woman’s cat, she persisted, even trying to intimidate DeHarpporte’s family into giving up the cat.

She showed up to our house three times in the middle of the night with the police and would wait outside our house for us.”

— Adeline DeHarpporte

“She showed up to our house three times in the middle of the night with the police and would wait outside our house for us. It was super creepy. The police put a restraining order on her,” DeHarpporte said.

Eventually, her family decided to give the woman the names of the stray cat’s actual owners, since she clearly wouldn’t believe them.

“We were like, ‘If you think it’s your cat then go talk to them. We don’t want to talk about it anymore,’” DeHarpporte said.

These events, while unpleasant, deepened her appreciation for her own pets.

First, there’s Matilda, an Australian Shepherd beagle mix.

“We got her from the Humane Society. She’s small and she’s obsessed with food,” she said.

Then there’s Milo and Gus, Mastiff mixes and former foster puppies.

“They’re really big, and they kind of ruin everything,” she said.

That statement is reinforced by a comical baking mishap that happened over break.

My mom’s a little bit obsessed. She couldn’t have any when she was a kid and she’s trying to make up for it.”

— Adeline DeHarpporte

“Last week we were making Christmas cookies and we left the flour and sugar on our counter. [Milo and Gus] ripped the bags open and spilled flour all over our carpet. Then they licked the carpet trying to get the sugar out, so it was just baked into the carpet. Their faces were all covered in flour. It was cute,” she said.

As for her cats, there’s Fen, who prefers a sedentary lifestyle.

“Fen’s just a fat cat. He doesn’t like to do anything,” DeHarpporte said.

Despite that, he does like to cuddle.

“Fen will come up and curl on your chest and just lay there. He also crawls onto my dad’s shoulder to ride on them all the time, which is really sweet,” she said.

Then there’s Bella, a typical scaredy-cat.

“She is super scared of everything. She spent an entire year under my parents’ bedroom and wouldn’t do anything. She wouldn’t even come downstairs,” she said.

But she’s not afraid of mice. During her time in DeHarpporte’s family, she has killed fifteen mice.

Why does she have so many pets? DeHarpporte attributes it to her mother.

“My mom’s a little bit obsessed. She couldn’t have any when she was a kid and she’s trying to make up for it,” she said.

DeHarpporte wants the world to know about the importance of adopting rather than buying from breeders.

“You should adopt. There are so many cute dogs and if you want a certain breed of dogs you can wait for them. Our aunt works at the Humane Society and she says you should never ever breed dogs. There’s just no reason to,” she said.

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