Everybody likes kittens, but if you’re looking for out of the box character and pound for pound lovability, you need to consider the “unadoptables”—those awkward, furry rejects, who for whatever reason—older, clipped ear, FIV+, a paw short, shy or skittish—are deemed unplaceable by conventional adoption standards. Admittedly, they’re often a little funky-looking, but as with anything dismissed at first glance, there’s value for those willing to open their mind and search for inner beauty.

Take our Thomas. This lovable lugnut is like Thurman, the lumpy kid in the heartwarming Christmas classic, Bad Santa. He’s up for anything, will overlook your obvious social flaws and is blissfully ignorant of all the shady stuff you get away with in your day-to-day. When I visit our guest house for evening socialization—me lying on the floor providing head scratches and insincere affirmations—his chubby mug is first to the scrum. He’s a furry watermelon who likes to cuddle, gets along with everyone and has a motor that will warm even the coldest of souls.

Need someone to listen to your drama over boxed wine and takeout? Thomas. Need a little ballast on your bed to even out the wear and keep the dog honest? Thomas. Need a goofball to waddle into your office, flop onto your keyboard mid-meeting and instantly improve your Zoom cred? Thomas. His blood panel says he’s FIV+, but you (or any other critters) are not getting it unless you guys get into a full-on call the cops brawl, and I’m telling you, he’s just not that cat. So when you’re ready to graduate from the “OMG OMG OMG, they’re so cute!” sugar high of kittens and enjoy a genuine feast of furry awesomeness, consider an “unadoptable.” Like Thomas.

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