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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.