Cat lover that I am, I feel compelled to note that June is Adopt-A-Cat Month, or Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, depending on the organization doing the promoting.

No matter what you call it, the idea is the same — to highlight the fact that this month marks the peak of kitten season, which means many more kittens, as well as cats, will be needing good homes in the near future.

I’ve been fortunate to have always had at least one feline in my life, dating back to when I was ten years old, and Mom and I came home from a trip to the A&P to discover the dog across the street had treed a kitten in our lilac bush.

My parents had resisted allowing me to have a pet until then, but I watched Mom melt when she plucked that terrified little fellow out of the bush and he snuggled against her, purring in gratitude.

Smokey went on to be our family cat for 15 years (except for occasions like the time he mistook Mom’s big potted plants for litter boxes — then he was strictly MY cat.)

That’s how I remember most people getting their pets in the 1960s — they either took in strays or acquired them from other people. I don’t believe the local humane society operated a shelter here at that time. The only shelter I recall is the Home for Friendless Animals which was located south of Noblesville on Horseshoe Prairie.

Thankfully, we have more options today when it comes to adopting four-legged friends. Not only do we have the Humane Society for Hamilton County’s shelter, but there are also a number of rescue groups in this area.

Of all the good arguments that exist for cat ownership, perhaps the best is that cats are good for your health. They’re great stress reducers. Studies show they can even lower your risk for heart disease by as much as 30 percent.

I know I’m healthier and happier because of Beau and Oliver, my “Martin and Lewis” cats. (If you’ve ever seen an old Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis movie, you’ll get that reference.)

Oliver, the Maine coon mix, is a laid back kind of guy and quite a lover. He likes to nap on my lap, arranging himself so that I cradle him like a baby.

By contrast, Beau, my long-haired tuxedo cat, could give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money. If Beau was human, I’d be living with an Olympic caliber gymnast. I’ve seen him make a flying leap, then decide against it and do a 180 in mid-air before touching down.

He’s also a goofy little free spirit who makes me laugh. I love watching him when my cousin, the Dancing Librarian, gives him a shoulder rub. He blisses out like a hippie who’s reached nirvana.

The DL has Beau so addicted to her massages, he barely lets her walk into the house before he rolls over on his back, announcing that he’s ready for his “treatment.”

Fortunately, the DL doesn’t mind. She says their sessions lower her blood pressure and she gets as much out of them as Beau does.

Lately, she’s been working on Oliver, too. Oliver has always been a bit slow to accept anything new, but even he’s starting to succumb to the DL’s magic fingers.

Celebrate Adopt-A-Cat Month by bringing home your very own furry best friend. You’ll be doing a good thing for yourself, the cat AND your community.

Note: I’ve been told O’Dell Lakes’ official retirement date is March 31, 2020, so you still have plenty of time to drop by Smith’s Jewelers to congratulate him.