Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Little Brother

We call our cat Shadow Haley and her big sister's "Little Brother."  He is actually an it, but it works. 

Shadow came in to our lives when Haley was a baby.  He was rescued by our day care provider's youngest son.  My husband and I had cats before the girls were born and we had really decided not to have any more.  He was a little shocked when I picked him up from work one day after I had picked the girls up from day care and he got in the car, turned to say "Hi" to the girls and Big Sis was holding a small black kitten.  He has said that if the kitten could be held by a toddler in a moving car it was a good sign that it would be a good cat.  It was supposed to be a trial run over a weekend, but you know how those things go.  Twelve years later he is still here.

Shadow was fun when he was a kitten.  He got his name from following Big Sis everywhere she went, he was her shadow.  He was an inside kitty.  We loved it when he would come around the corner and "talk" to us.  Everything changed when a neighbor moved in next door with a big yellow lab.  Shadow felt threatened I guess and the bad behavior started.  He sprayed and he became aggressive.  He would lay in wait for Big Sis and attack her, actually leap on her back and bite her.  It didn't take long for me to say enough is enough and kick him to the curb.  Then he became an outside kitty.

For a long time Shadow would come in and spend the night in the laundry room and then go out during the day.  For the last several years it has been Haley's job to make sure he comes in and gets fed at night.  She also made sure that we let him out in the morning.  It was a nice arrangement until he got into a fight with a neighbor dog who "cleaned his clock" as they say.  Shadow will not go outside anymore.  Haley still seems to be in the "let the cat out" mode, unfortunately.  She doesn't open the front door and let him out, but she does let him out of the laundry room.  This is something that I cannot tolerate, he still sprays.  It is a constant fight around here.

Haley and Shadow have a special relationship.  Even during the time that Shadow was attacking Big Sis he would not attack Haley.  Haley was able to use Shadow as a pillow and he didn't act like he cared.  He does have his limits though.  If we pet him too much or brush him too much he will bite us.  He has only bit Haley once, that I am aware of.  I think she learned her lesson and when he starts growling or hissing she knows to back off.

Haley likes to have Shadow sit on her lap.  She will sit on the couch and ask to be covered with a blanket and then she says "Shadow lap."  If he is in a good mood he will knead her tummy and purr and sit with her for a while.  Sometimes he steps off as soon as you put him down. 

Haley says "Shadow lap" again and we try it once more, sometimes we wear him down after several tries and sometimes he gets unceremoniously marched back to "his room."  Haley especially loves to have a Shadow Lap before she goes to school.  Shadow usually doesn't mind that too much because it rarely lasts very long. 

He is becoming quite a curmudgeon in his "old age."

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