A lot of pet adoptions turn out to be a win-win for the owner and the adopted pet. Sasha Holland’s adoption story of her second cat, Jujube, however, was a win-win-win: for Sasha, for Jujube, and for Sasha’s first cat, Jetson.
Sasha adopted Jetson in 2009, when she was living in a small town in Arkansas. A Petco had opened in her town, and Sasha and her mom, who had both emigrated from Russia the previous year, were eager to see what the big box pet store was like. Their greatest surprise: the display of adoptable cats near the entrance.
The duo fell in love with a 1-year-old black cat named Jetson in one of the bottom cages, who was rubbing against the door with his tail up in what would eventually become his signature “question mark” form. They took him home the next day, and Jetson spent the next several years as the family cat before traveling with Sasha, first to college in Missouri, then to Virginia when she graduated.
“I brought him to college with me; he got fatter,” Sasha said. “We moved to Virginia; he got even fatter.”
Time for Some Company
The gradual lifestyle change from living in a house with other dogs and cats to living in a one-bedroom apartment as an only-cat was a catalyst for Jetson’s weight gain, which eventually became a catalyst to adopt another cat.
“He wasn’t getting a lot of exercise,” Sasha said. “He was very lazy, and we also kind of were thinking that he was getting a little bit bored, because he had some self-destructive tendencies. He was biting at his fur and was just kind of anxious in general.”
Around 2018, Sasha and her now-husband, Devin, began talking about the possibility of getting another cat to keep Jetson company. At the time, Sasha had been volunteering for a local animal shelter, King Street Cats, for about a year.
King Street Cats had just gotten two kittens, Jezebel and Jujube, a bonded pair of black cats someone had found on the street. Sasha quickly fell in love with Jujube—Juju for short.
“Jujube, she is the fuzzier of the two, was this tiny bundle of fur, and immediately you wanted to hold her and pet her and when you picked her up she would just like melt into your arms because she’s so sweet,” Sasha said.
Despite her immediate connection with Juju, Sasha resigned to knowing that she couldn’t adopt her because she couldn’t take home two cats.
Not long after, however, Juju and Jezebel both got sick with ringworm and had to be isolated from the other cats at the shelter. Jezebel got better much sooner than Juju, and shelter staff determined it was best to separate the pair and put Juju into foster care until she was better and ready to be adopted. When Juju was finally healed several months later, Sasha was ready with an adoption application.
“Devin and I talked, and we had to consider a lot of things because of Jetson,” Sasha said. “We had to consider how we were going to introduce them. We had to consider what if Jetson doesn’t like her? What if they don’t take? It was a hard decision.”
Time to Go Home
Sasha and Devin ultimately decided to proceed with the adoption and took home Juju in January 2019, determining that she and Jetson would make a good age and personality match. The next challenge was introducing the two cats.
“You have to do an introduction period, which for cats should last, in an ideal environment, up to two weeks,” Sasha said.
They kept Jetson in the bedroom and Juju in the living room during the introduction period, slowly transferring blankets back and forth so that the cats could become familiar with the other’s scent. They also fed the cats at the same time on opposite sides of the bedroom door to encourage a positive association based on food.
Fast forward almost three years, and Jetson, now 13 years old, and Juju, now 3, are best friends. They cuddle, they bathe each other, and they play together. Jetson has even lost some weight. The two black cats still live happily with their parents, Sasha and Devin, in Virginia.
Follow along with their adventures on Instagram: @jetsonandjuju
“It was just the best decision that we made for both [Jetson] and for ourselves,” Sasha said. “They both bring us so much joy.”