“Our philosophy has always been, ‘It’s not about us. It’s really about the cat.’”
Not a bad philosophy for John and Neota Bradley.
“We’ve adopted many, many cats none of whom actually came from shelters,” John said. “They were just picked up on the streets. Strays. So, Jack is our first shelter cat.”
Jack, an orange cat from the San Diego Humane Society, wasn’t exactly on the Point Loma couple’s radar.
“We do this,” explained Neota with a laugh. “We go out to buy tomatoes and we come home with a Subaru; and I was on Amazon for something and we adopted Jack.”
Neota’s Amazon shopping spree turned into a virtual adoption interview with a Humane Society counselor.
“Wouldn’t that be great to have a COVID cat. Just somebody who’s had a hard time and we’re feeling kind of lonely,” Neota recalled thinking. “We must have sounded rational on the phone.”
“That was an act,” joked John, a retired accountant who recently broke his leg.
The act worked. The Bradley’s picked up Jack this week, just a few days after the cat had eye surgery.
“Well, it made me feel better because I’m certainly not perfect,” quipped John.
“He had some problems with his eye, and he needed to have his eye removed,” explained Nina Thompson, the Director of Communications for the San Diego Human Society.
Thompson said they along with their partners have found homes for more than 400 pets during the pandemic version of the annual Clear the Shelters event. People adopted their animals virtually by scrolling through online profiles and speaking with one of the shelter's employees about the animal. If there’s a match, adopters drive to the shelters to pick up and meet their animals at several stations outside.
NBC 7 and Telemundo 20 are local sponsors for the annual event that looks to find homes for as many pets as possible that gathered in shelters during the summer months.
For John, Neota, and Jack, it was love at first sight. They didn’t care that Jack was now missing his right eye and wore a protective plastic cone around his neck.
“A lot of people feel this connection to an animal when they meet them,” Thompson said.
“I was standing there. I was so excited. I was like, ‘Where is he?’” remembered Neota.
“It doesn’t matter what the pet looks like. It’s all about the connections,” Thompson added.
“The problem was Jack is a lot more handsome than I am,” smirked John.
Neota smiled at her husband. He is recovering from a broken leg at their Point Loma home.
“They’re both on the same low-dose pain medication,” she explained. “So, they’ve been chatting about that.”
It’s one of more than 400 love connections made during the pandemic.
“We probably need Jack more than he needs us,” concluded Neota.
Thompson said the virtual adoption process has been so successful that it could be a model for future connection even after the pandemic ends.