Shy black cat heals grieving military family

Shy black cat heals grieving military family

After losing two beloved pets within the same year Kathryn felt like a hole had opened up in her heart and household. Grief-stricken, she and her husband began searching for a new family member to fill the void and serve as a companion to their surviving cat.

As it turns out, a tiny black feline named Luna was the perfect remedy for their heartache.

Companion pets deliver love and comfort to a military family

Kathryn and her husband are both Air Force veterans living in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

“I was active duty Air Force, and he was also active duty in the Air Force,” she shares. “He was also in the Army Reserves and is a disabled retired Michigan Army National Guard veteran.”

Though the couple’s military careers have kept them busy over the years, Kathryn and her husband did find the time to raise a family. Together the pair have a 28-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter. Their brood eventually expanded to include some children of the four-legged variety. Shy black cat heals grieving military family

“We added to our family a dog named Buddy and two cats, Shadow and Merlin,” Kathryn says. “We found that our pets brought not only love to our home but comfort to each of us during deployments, depression, and many things that life would bring our way. They truly became members of our family.” 

In search of healing

Over time, the couple’s household went from a busy, joyful place to one of sadness and quiet.

Kathryn and her husband became empty nesters after their daughter left for college. They found themselves alone with their pets most days. Spending so much time one-on-one with the animals helped bring them all even closer together.

Ironically this closeness compounded a series of extra-tough losses that were on the horizon.

“Sadly, our rescue cat Shadow suddenly died one morning in March of 2016,” Kathryn shares. “Although she had a known heart murmur, we were all saddened by her loss. Then, in October, we made the heartbreaking decision to let our dog Buddy – who was almost 16 years old – go.”

The pair became increasingly sad and lonely as their once bustling military family dwindled. They focused their attention on six year-old Merlin, unsure if they should consider adopting another pet.

“We spoiled him and fought for his attention, but we could tell that he was lonely, too,” Kathryn says. “We began taking him to our local PetSmart to see how he would react to other animals, and he seemed to like them.”

Of pets and patriots

It was at their local Petsmart that Kathryn found a flyer about Pets for Patriots and our partnership with Michigan Humane Society.

The shelter maintains a permanent, off-site adoption center there and at other pet stores in the community. Since joining our shelter partner program in 2011, all Michigan Humane Society locations offer deeply discounted pet adoption fees and an ongoing 10% discount at their three veterinary centers.

Kathryn’s interest was piqued. The Air Force veteran discussed the possibility of a new companion cat with her husband. Shy black cat heals grieving military family

“We decided that until we retired, a dog wouldn’t be a good choice, and that a cat between the ages of two and six might be best for Merlin,” she says. “We were both so afraid of Merlin having to adjust again that we were apprehensive. However, I made the call and was guided on what information I needed for approval from Pets from Patriots.”

By the next morning, Kathryn had applied to Pets for Patriots and been approved. She and her daughter wasted no time starting their search for the next addition to their military family.

“Every cat or kitten my daughter saw, she loved,” Kathryn remembers. “I, on the other hand, was having a much more difficult time, as we traveled from one humane society to another.”

Finally, in February, Kathryn’s quest came to an end.

“I was about to give up when I decided to meet this tiny, two-and-a-half-year-old black cat named Midnight May. It only took a minute for her to warm my heart. My daughter and I knew she was the one.” 

From Midnight May to Luna

Kathryn finalized Midnight May’s adoption at Michigan Humane Society’s Rochester Hills location. She and her husband promptly decided to give the fetching feline a new name to go along with her new life: Luna.

The shy cat bonded swiftly with both her new people and with Merlin, and has become an indispensable part of the family.

“In two short weeks, Luna has adjusted to us and Merlin. She is still a little shy and afraid of noises but likes to both cuddle and play. Perhaps she reminds Merlin of Shadow, as we cannot even believe how much her personality is like Shadow’s.”

Kathryn and her husband still feel sad when thinking of Buddy and Shadow, but Luna’s joyful presence has helped ease their pain. She makes every day just a little bit easier. Her companionship has helped temper Merlin’s grief as well. 

“We have seen many changes in Merlin also,” Kathryn explains. “He has become more playful and follows Luna around, making sure she is okay and trying to get her to play. Luna and Merlin even cuddle together on our bed.”

The gift of love

The Air Force veteran appreciates our swift handling of her application and eventual adoption. Even more, she and her military family are comforted by the shy little cat with the stunning green eyes.

“Thank you to Pets for Patriots for the gift of our beautiful Luna,” says Kathryn. “Little Luna has brought us so much love already and has helped in healing the heartbreak of losing Shadow and Buddy.”


  1. Alyson

    So happy to see a black cat find a loving home – we have 2 wonderful black cats. And thank you for your service.

  2. Cheryl

    You did a great thing adopting Luna! You changed her life forever – Thank you!

  3. Christine

    Awww – love your story. Little Luna looks like my rescue kitty. Black cats are wonderful and always in need of homes.

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