Happy Tails | Groceries

Every single animal that comes through our shelter has a story. Some are complex, many are sad, but all of them get better the minute they arrive at the Virginia Beach SPCA. In October 2022, a tabby cat was found as a stray and transferred to the VBSPCA from another local animal shelter. She was so thin when she was found that someone remarked that she needed some groceries – and thus Groceries became her name.

Groceries had an open wound behind one of her front legs. The VBSPCA Clinic worked diligently to help her heal, but it took nearly a year for her to be medically cleared. In the meantime, Groceries made herself at home with the shelter team and was even promoted to join them in the cattery office during the day. She was even unofficially promoted to cattery manager.

It was bittersweet when Groceries was finally made available for adoption as she had become a staff favorite, but an animal shelter is no place for a cat to live permanently. It seemed like fate when a woman named Stella ended up adopting Groceries exactly one year after she had first arrived at the VBSPCA. We recently caught up with Stella for the rest of the story.

How did you know Groceries was the cat for you?

I had been looking at cats for quite some time and had finally picked a couple out from two shelters in Virginia Beach. I meant to go to a different shelter but I typed in the opposite one on my maps app and didn’t realize it until I was looking for the other cats. I noticed that Groceries (the only one I picked out from VBSCPA) was there. Immediately, I saw her and knew that she was my cat.

I had broken my left hip a year ago and it has taken me a year to get to a manageable level, whereas she had a deep wound on her left leg which took her a year to heal from as well. She took to me and brushed against my legs. While I was [waiting for my adoption to be approved], I would come by each day and stay with her for about two hours. I did this for two days until the [adoption] day came and we went home!

How is Groceries doing in the home?

She is doing fantastic. Considering the fact that she is a 6 year old lady, she plays like a kitten. Her favorite toys are a ball of yarn, a pickle, and a worm on a string. She currently has at least two beds in each room, as well as heaters right next to them. Bird feeders were promptly installed so that she has constant entertainment as well.

What sort of activities do you do together?

I would say that we really do any activity together, with Groceries’ part taking place from a distance. She’s a very curious cat and loves to watch me do just about anything, whether that is cooking a homemade meal, tending to my plants, painting/drawing portraits, and watching Scarface and Donnie Brasco together.

Does Groceries have any funny quirks?

There are endless quirks with this cat. The first that comes to mind is the fact that she squeaks but cannot meow – and most of the time nothing comes out at all. Every time she stands up she has to walk over to a scratching post and get the scritches out. She has a bit of RBF but don’t let that fool you as she loves belly rubs and head scratches and warms up as soon as she gets either.

How has Groceries enriched your life so far?

To be honest, little miss Sylvia Groceries Garland (though she still mainly goes by Groceries) has saved my life. I was going through an extremely hard and lonely time when I got her with lots of life changes happening. I felt like it was finally time to get a cat again after my childhood cat of 18 years passed two years ago. She gave me a reason to wake up at 6:00 am (to feed her) and a reason to fall asleep (with a cuddle next to me).

I want to add that the VBSPCA staff had been nothing but amazing to her. Her second family is one she will never forget, as she sleeps on the blanket [they] handmade for her. While the “cattery manager” has been relieved of her post, her supervisory tendencies have not ceased in the slightest as she watches over her new domain.