I will start by saying something that some of you might not understand. My husband and I consider our cat, Shelby, as our first child.
We rescued her when we were freshly married and took care of her like a baby. I even felt emotional when we discovered that it was a … she. But really, when we got her she was in very bad shape. She was found dying in a wooded area around Geneva. She was so skinny that we could feel her bones. She was full of worms and could not breathe properly because of a bad pneumonia. So we went back and forth to the vet for over a year until she was finally healthy.
She became the perfect apartment cat, and showed us love every time since then. She did not care about going outside and never really asked for it. Sometimes she would go on the balcony but after 5 minutes would beg to come back inside, petrified. Shelby only loves us. If you come to our place you will not be warmly welcomed by her. For a long time, it was just us and her … until I got pregnant and Lise arrived. Like a jealous “big sister”, she would just ignore her and beg for love as soon as the baby was asleep. Then the time to move to Toledo came as well as the time for a second baby … our lives changed but so did hers.
In Toledo, we live in a house with a garden. Shelby went from being the perfect indoor cat to a real hunter. It took her some time to face the outside. But now, she is fearless. She brings us all kind of animals, like mice, dead birds, alive birds, dead rabbits, half of rabbits … Come on Shelby, it is not because we are French that we eat rabbits. I understand that it is a way for her to tell us that she loves us, but Really?!. WE ARE ANIMAL LOVERS and everyday we teach our girls to love and respect them but it is hard to explain to a 3 year old why there is a bird “sleeping” in the cat’s mouth. Naively, I try to explain to Shelby that it is not ok to kill other animals; however, her instinct is stronger and the next day she brings back a mouse. So I tell her that I am mad at her and I do not want to talk to her anymore and bla bla bla (she never seems to care). Of course, the next minute she is on my lap, purring. She loves us, she really does. Every evening we have our cuddling routine where she purrs, purrs and purrs again and gets upset when I stop petting her. Then she lays on my pillow and I feel her hair tickling my cheek. How adorable, isn't it? I do believe that cats reduce stress, anxiety and help with depression. When I am not in a good mood, having her purring on my lap relaxes me. So now, I will say the thing I am not suppose to say : Shelby has more privileges than our girls will ever have. She can sleep with us, go out late at night, eat whenever she wants and sleep all day long.
Shelby is part of the family and tells us (in her way) when she disagrees with us. All cat lovers will understand this feeling of having your cat judging you. You feel it looking at you and you would love to know what is going on in its head. I often have this feeling, even more when Lise is throwing a tantrum and I am trying to calm her down. I feel Shelby staring at me like: “really? My kittens would have never done that ! Bad mom”
Our Shelby is a great family cat. Sure enough, she is very patient with our two girls. Lise, our 3 year old, adores her and really wants to play with her and cuddle her; however, she can be a bit tough. So everyday, we remind her that it is not OK to climb on Shelby’s back because Shelby is not a horse. Shelby is a cat and we do not ride cats. Mickey Mouse is not allowed to climb on her back as well. It is not OK to chase Shelby with a tennis paddle nor with Mickey. It is not because Shelby is sleeping on the rocking chair that she wants to be rocked. Also, it is not OK to pull her tail, legs or her ears … and of course, it is not OK to eat her food. Just LEAVE HER ALONE. Yes, Shelby is patient. Despite everything she has been through she has never been violent. Shelby is more than just a cat, she is a real family member. Meowwww !!
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Claire, mom of two adorable girls. Montessori believer.
A few pounds overweighted and a few inches too short. Sometimes too French for Americans and most of the time too American for French people. Rarely down to earth but often out of my mind.