This has to be one of the most, if not THE MOST sincere and heartfelt videos I’ve ever been a part of.

I’ve always loved cats. Growing up, cats have always been a part of my life. We had two cats run away when I was 3. Then when I was about 5 until the age of 13 our family had a cat named Whiskers. After Whiskers there was Ebony and Shortcake. We got them in May 2000 and I had them both until 2008 when Ebony passed away in spring and Shorty died in August that same year. Interestingly, all my cats died of the same thing: kidney failure.

Shorty passed away in Aug. and my mother passed away a month later in Sept. It made for a really tragic year. Mom was actually in the hospital when Shorty died. At the time I was mostly concerned about my mother, so I couldn’t focus on grieving too much for my cats because I had other things on my mind.

My cats were really cool! I used to spend hours playing with and watching Whiskers. Whiskers never really liked my sister, but she did like me. They were so smart, too. They could open up doors. They could turn on water faucets when they needed a drink. And I swear they could read my mind or at least my health. Like the song ‘Soft Kitty’ from Big Bang Theory, my cat would literally lay with me and make me happy when I was sad or not feeling well. My cat was my close companion for years, until I left for university but that was life.

I arrived to Korea in March 2009. One of the hard parts about coming here was knowing I might not ever be able to have a cat here. Coming to live in Korea all by myself was hard enough. Learning how to buy and have a kitten here was going to have to come much later if it was ever coming at all.

Then I met Richard. Life with him overall (obviously) is good. He does, though have one super-sized hang up that I never liked about him at all: he is allergic to cats. That was depressing and devastating for me, because I really liked him and I really liked cats also. I had to choose. And yes, I do like cats that much.

But I did choose Richard, and in the last year or so we’ve been talking more seriously about getting a pet. He had a dog growing up that was a house pet, and he also had his own dog Trinity when he lived in California. He knows what a big responsibility it is to have a pet, so he’s been hesitant for a while about it, and pretty much totally against the idea of getting a cat. He’s never had good luck with them. They make him break out right away when he’s around them, itchy throat, watery eyes, and rash break outs are common for him. Even this summer I saw how cats bother him physically. He was around my aunt and uncle’s cat in their house and feeling uncomfortable pretty much the moment he walked in since the cat is long haired and really furry.

We had considered getting a dog, especially since he had had a dog before. But a combination of things made us realize that getting a dog might not be the best choice. We do lead really busy lives. I’m away from the house at least 4 days a week with classes and then I have a ton a homework some nights when I come home. We make videos regularly and I also want to have a bit of a social life. We also have some pretty steep stairs leading up to the front door of our third floor house. A small dog might have some serious problems going up and down multiple times a day to go out to the bathroom, and we’d also have to take it regularly for walks. It just didn’t fit our lifestyle properly at the moment.

So, more recently I introduced the idea of possibly getting a hypoallergenic breed of cat. Richard hasn’t hip to this idea at all at first, because of his severe allergy, but slowly warmed up to the idea. He’s been quite cautious about it, reading a lot about Hyper-allergenic breeds, including reading about peoples experience with them. The one night in bed we stayed up for about 3 hours watching cat videos on YouTube and he softened up enough to say lets do it! I was over the moon! I guess, in part, I have YouTube to thank since that was what put him over the edge to take the plunge.

Because we needed a special breed of cat, we couldn’t go through an animal rescue shelter in Korea. There are plenty of good ones here. I had decided on getting a Russian Blue since that breed seemed most appropriate for our situation. I asked my friend Seung Hee to help me find some places that were selling Russian Blues. We ended up finding the place featured in the video, which is both an animal hospital and pet shop in one.

This is our video of picking out and bringing Maki kittens home. We are now very happy parents. Though this video is not exactly a how-to buy a pet in Korea, it does highlight our experience and emotion well. That was a special day for me.

Maki was born on Sept. 16th, 2013. September 16, for those of you who do not know, is the day my mother passed away back in 2008. That first shot of me holding Maki in the video we did not actually know her date of birth. Richard saw it posted a bit after that and came over to confirm that that was in fact the day mom passed away. He asked if that would be okay with me, having a cat born on the same day my mother died. It made me realize at that moment that she was meant to be part of our family.

We continue now to have special days with our kitten Maki as she grows up in front of our eyes. It’s changed our life here in Korea over these past two weeks. I’m really happier than ever. Things happen for a reason I believe, and getting Maki after all this time in Korea not having a pet has made the experience even that much more special. I love this cat more than anyone could know, and she’s been a wonderful pet, settling in nicely to our home. She explores it more everyday. And one of the best parts: Richard’s not allergic to her at all!