Let's Talk Proudest Cat-Parenting Moments
I'm getting less and less shy about calling myself a cat parent (or guardian or companion or whatever -- pick your word). I don't have human children, but I know parents have their proud parent moments (the kid graduated, or achieved something big, or landed a good job), so I figure I can have proud cat parent moments, too!
Here are some of my proud cat-mom moments.
1. Kali lets herself be groomed by Chester
This may sound trivial to some, but I bet other cat caregivers will surely understand this. This moment was years in the making. Kali was adopted from the Humane Society many years ago, and I learned later that she was days away from being put down. She had lost a rear leg and it seemed that no one wanted to adopt a three-legged cat. Given all that she'd been through (abuse and abandonment), Kali quickly became an exceptionally sweet and fiercely passionate cat -- to humans. Although she'd suffered abuse at the hands of humans, she loved nothing more than jumping into a lap and giving us fierce headbutts.
Other cats were a different story, and we had three to four others when Kali came into the household. Kali had the heart of an alpha cat, but she (and the others) knew that she was at a disadvantage with a missing rear leg. I believe that might be the reason she never became alpha cat in the household. I introduced her very, very slowly, but she was extremely uptight for the longest time and for many years, would let no other cat groom her. She would groom only Karma, the other sweet female.
Then one day, my husband and I walked in to the living room. As if it was totally normal, Kali and Chester sat cuddled next to each other in front of the wood stove. Chester was grooming Kali's head -- Kali was leaning into him with her eyes slitted shut in bliss. I will never forget it.
This continued forever, until Kali passed last year. Kali and Chester (and Karma) were best of buds, and Chester grieved when both the girls left him. But I'll never forget that amazing moment.
2. Chester cares for Kali and Karma in their final months
Chester is really a phenomenal orange boy cat. Adopted from the same humane society as Kali, he'd worked his way into my heart during my volunteer time there. On the day I went to adopt him, he walked calmly out of the multi-cat room as if he knew that it was his time to come to his forever home. I always knew Chester was exceptional, but he really shows his stripes when caring for others. Chester seems to know if a human is feeling blue and needs some love. And I found out that Chester is a wonderful nurse. In the last months of Karma's and Kali's life, the girls (especially Karma) made it clear that they wanted to be cared for. He was always with them, constantly grooming them, or snuggling with them if they wanted more warmth. Chester touches my heart in a way I didn't think possible.
3. We successfully move six cats and a dog across the country, with no problems
This made me super proud! I had never undertaken anything like this before. Coupled with the stress of moving (and realizing that my cats pick up on our emotions), I was really worried about all the things that could go wrong. What if a cat escaped in a strange location? What if they were ill, or extremely stressed from the long three-day trip? What about Zorro, who we had just rescued and who I hardly knew? Could his temperament take it? I need not have worried. It WAS a big deal, and the cats were very cool about it. It all went just fine!
4. Jamie and Milo mellow with age
Jamie and Milo were two orange boys who lived to be 21 and 17, respectively. They couldn't have been more different. Jamie was medium-haired and had a more feminine looking face. He was persnickety yet loving in his own way. Milo was the classic short-haired orange boy, with the fat cheeks of a tom neutered later in his life (when I adopted him). Milo instantly bonded with my husband. It was not until Milo became 14 or so (years after his adoption) that he finally started enjoying being held by me. I'll never forget how amazing it felt to actually hold him and have him purr and relax. It was worth all the years of waiting. And Jamie pulled out all the stops at the end of his life. He showed affection in ways I'd never seen from this boy.
5. Zorro integrates (almost) seamlessly into the household!
This is the miracle that I'm still so happy about. Zorro, a feral that I once couldn't get close to, has successfully integrated into our house of five other cats. Better yet, I've seen Zorro and Norton playing. Bluebell is less afraid of Zorro. Somehow, I think she has figured out that if she doesn't run, Zorro won't take off after her. And here's another big cat-parent moment: Zorro and the other cats are sharing the bed during the day, and there's no fighting or scuffling happening. Progress!
So, what are your proud cat parent moments? Share your stories in the comments!
Read stories of rescue and love on Catster:
- The Story of Buzz and How He Got His Fuzz Back
- Chase No Face Is Just Like Any Other Kitty -- Except With No Face
- Breaking News, You Guys: A Study Says That Cats Can Love!
More by Catherine Holm:
- Um, Does Your Cat Flirt with You?
- Do Cats Really Get as Stressed by Change as We Think?
- 6 Reasons My Cats are the Luckiest Cats in the World
- 5 Ways Cats Improve my Marriage
- Some Vets Consider Rescue and Rehoming Cats Part of the Job