Cat Lady

Something amazing happened while I was photographing a new skirt for my shop: both of my cats crashed the photoshoot. So here’s a blog post all about my furry little companions.

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I had a lot of pets growing up, mostly small animals like fish, hamsters and mice but also larger pets including three dogs and a rabbit. I always wanted a cat but the closest I ever got was hanging out with the neighbour’s three legged rescue cat in the front yard after school. My mom was an animal lover but allergic to cats and my dad claimed not to like keeping pets at all, even after the couple of times my brother and I caught him bonding with our pets and mourning their passings.

I got my first cat, Tori, the calico pictured, on my 16th birthday. My parents had recently separated and while doing some errands with my mom on my birthday, she thought she would stop in at an animal shelter to pet cats and cheer me up. That’s where I met Tori. Our eyes locked and we knew we were meant to be together. Our bond was so instant and so strong that everyone in the room felt it. The people working the shelter insisted on letter her out of the cage. I sat down on the floor and she quickly climbed into my lap and refused to leave. She had clearly chosen me as her new owner. My mom broke her no cats rule and started filling out the paper work before I even had time to ask if I could take her home.

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A few days later, after the shelter had her spayed, Tori came home to live with me, my mom, my brother, our small dog and our ten year old rabbit. She came with only a name, given to her at the shelter, and an estimated ago of 9 months, but we suspected she was a little older. The name suited her so we decided to keep it. After a few weeks, she was responding to it and would come when she was called.

She was small and only had a couple of teeth left but she had a big personality. When the weather warmed up, she would stand at the screen door with her paws up to the window, waiting for me to get home from school. We learned very quickly how to communicate with each other and share a bond like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I had to leave her with my mom and brother when I went away to school. She never left my side when I came home on the holidays. When I moved out, there was no question that she would be coming with me. Now she lives with my me and my husband and he spoils her as much as I do.

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Tori is brave, sassy and sometimes lazy. She loves being held, carried and cuddled. She’s allergic to chicken and turkey and so eats nothing but the finest cat foods, but she’ll still try to steal milk, buttered toast and gold fish crackers. She thinks she’s sneaky, but she’s not. I’ve always said she could never survive in the wild without me. Then one night when I decided to go to bed early while my husband stayed up to watch tv, she caught the mouse that had been eluding us all winter and brought it to me, in bed, completely uninjured to my surprise and terror. She proved me wrong and I’ve never been more proud of her. We’ve had her for 12 years now and the vet recently estimated her age to be closer to 16.

We’ve been wanting to get her a kitty friend to keep her company and help her out in her old age but we worried she wouldn’t be welcoming to a new cat since she’s always been queen bee. Then last February, our friend had a four year old cat who needed to be re-homed. She was an anxious little kitty and he didn’t want to send her to a shelter. The next day after learning this, my husband sat me down and said that he thought we should take her, with a tear in his eye.

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We had known Zoe, the tabby, a little bit before we brought her home; we had spent time at our friend’s house and fed her while he was away but we were still nervous about bringing her home. We were worried she wouldn’t like us and that Tori wouldn’t like her. After a few stressful weeks of keeping them separated while they got used to each other’s sounds and smells, and a tense few first contacts, Tori started to tolerate Zoe and just the other day, they shared their first head bonk.

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We are still getting to know Zoe. She’s a former barn cat, has had one litter of kittens and is much more wild and independent than Tori. She’s shy but very playful and likes to cuddle when she’s sleepy. She’s getting used to being picked up but lets you know how much she hates it. She can jump way higher than Tori ever could and uses this ability almost exclusively to be an adorable little troublemaker. She has thumbs (polydactyly) and can open some cupboards and drawers. Her glorious ear furnishings make her quite photogenic, but she never sits still long enough for me to get a picture in focus. She’s warming up to us quickly and even came out to meet our guests last time we had friends over, which is a huge step for her. Tori and I are teaching her how to be a spoiled house cat but I hope I can preserve a bit of that wildness that maker her, her.

All photos by me.