My beautiful and spoiled princess Freyja has been with us since she was only a few weeks old. She was found all by herself, meowing her poor little heart out, by the side of a busy road in a town not far from us. A friend of ours was out jogging and found her, not even six weeks old, and kindly took her home and started looking to rehome her.
My husband, Luke, and I had discussed finally bringing a cat into our home. We were finally ready, after the loss of his lifelong companion Smokey a few months before. The timing was perfect. We volunteered immediately to give the little kitten a home. I was in a bad way at the time — the only fond memory looking back is being able to give Freyja her forever home and spend every waking moment with her. Around that time, I was often found in fuzzy onesies and perpetually drinking coffee while watching trashy television and job hunting online. Freyja was a welcome addition to our lives, and even ended up dragging me right out my depression.
Our bonding started immediately. I’ve never had such an incredible bond with another living creature before. Within hours of meeting her, she had curled up in my lap. She trusted me instantly. Part of me wonders if it’s possible she somehow imprinted on me. She still had “kitten eyes” when we got her, little unfocused pools of blue-green. I talked nonstop right back to her, and she has grown up to be the chattiest cat I have ever known. I’d even bet she’s 10 times chattier than the average Sphynx or Siamese. All we know about her is she’s a “torbie.” And a princess, of course!
Because of our constant communication, it really feels like a conversation every time we chat. She even waits for answers back before her next meow. I can also interpret every single one of her very ranged assortment of meows. There is a distinct difference to me between “hungry,” “clean my box,” “play with me,” “I want to nurse,” “bed time,” etc. She also “leads” us around the house, making a fairly impatient and demanding meow first, then leading the way, ears cocked back, pausing occassionally to look back and make sure we’re following her to whatever she needs sorted or wants to do.
The fact Freyja began “nursing” from me — or more correctly, a certain type of pajama top I like to wear — and continues to demand it at least twice a day only serves to strengthen our bond. It’s an absolutely incredible feeling and a beautiful bonding time we spend together.
She didn’t begin the behavior immediately, but it was pretty early on in her life. It’s continued every day since, at least twice a day. She has a specific meow for when she wants her “nursing time.” She prefers once in the morning and once at night, but now that I’m working again, it doesn’t always happen at the times she prefers, as she spends at least 30 minutes a go.
The best parts of my day are when she’s lying on me and I’m holding her in my arms while she kneads and suckles at the poofballs on my pajama top, purring so deeply it sounds like a double purr. She gets completely relaxed and in the zone, and I know it’s bringing her SO much comfort and love, and it’s bringing me the same. I wouldn’t trade those moments with her for anything in the world. I also think it only serves to strengthen our incredible bond.
Some cats suckle because they are too stressed, but Freyja does it to spend time with me, and to fully relax before bedtime or a long cuddle session. The only stress relation I see is she will up her nursing demands to several times a day, instead of two to three. On a very personal note for me, whenever we do have children, I will be unable to breastfeed. Don’t get me wrong, I stand behind formula feeding 100 percent and have no problem with it. It was the plan before I knew I wouldn’t be able to. Still, deep down, there is a pang that Freyja’s “nursing” is the closest I will ever know. This makes our time together even more special to me.
I do consider our bond to be most similar to that of a mother and child. I won’t know how similar until I have human children of my own, of course, but I suspect I’m right. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my princess. I know we differ from a cat mom and child, and I’m never going to kick her out of the nest. Because we are so close, though, she is fairly dependent on me, and I feel really bad about it sometimes. I’ve lived with a lot of cats and always loved cats, and I’ve worked at shelters with cats before, but Freyja is my first furbaby. I’ve always heard that cats are “independent.” Freyja has never really been independent, and I feel like it is my fault. We’re attached at the hip.
She used to suffer from a bit of separation anxiety. She still yowls if I am behind a door and she is not behind that door with me. Closed doors don’t bug her — just the ones that I’m behind. If she happens to spot me outside a window, you bet she’s pawing at it and yowling to get to me. I feel responsible because I nurtured our bond so much and I used to have every second to devote to her before I was working.
Now that I’m working again and Freyja is older, I can’t always be there when she needs me or wants me to be. She has gotten a little better at being okay when I’m gone, especially since we brought home her little sister, Luci, and they became proper sisters who love each other. It was one of my main motivations to adopt again — so she would have a friend and company when I wasn’t home.
I don’t know what I would do without her, but I’m sure that’s normal. I don’t think it’s normal that she wouldn’t know what to do without me. I’m still, as far as she is concerned, her big (and for some reason mostly hairless) cat mother. She will be a year old fairly soon, and she already looks like such a grownup cat, but her behavior with me is still very childlike. I like to think I’m a really good cat mom, but sometimes I feel guilty that she needs me as much as I need her.
Do you have a special bond with one or more of your cats? Do you ever feel bad about how much they depend on you or need you? Chat with us about it in the comments below.
Learn more about your cat with Catster:
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Read more about special bonds, suckling, and separation anxiety:
- If Your Cat Suckles Himself (or You), Is That a Bad Thing?
- A Love Letter to My Cat, Thomas
- Do Cats Experience Separation Anxiety?
About the author: Hana lives in Belfast after moving from the U.S. of A. with her two spoiled kittens, two chubby rats, and one cheeky husband. Hana works in admin but occasionally goes on tour working for an Austrian death metal band. When she’s not putting up road-weary punk rockers and metallers, you can find her taking the cats around town in their stroller, whipping up new recipes, or playing way too many video games. She writes at Mommyish and Catster. Follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.