February 23, 2011

My Pet

My cat’s name is Denis. He is a six-year-old tabby, and he’s been with us for five years.

We adopted him from an animal shelter. It seemed like he was about a year old at the time. Although he was quite young, he was already fixed, and his back paws were de-clawed.

Denis is my first pet. I hadn’t had any experience taking care of animals before.

Of course, when I was a child, having read so many Astrid Lindgren books, and I began pestering my parents to get us a pet; a dog if not a cat. Unfortunately for me, all my plans at getting an animal companion for my adventures had failed. I can imagine their thought process now; how they could see that they’d be the ones to do most of the heavy-duty caretaking work. As Meryl Streep once said in an interview – family life is when everybody in your house loves your pets, but you are the one cleaning up after them.

There is a pet store/animal shelter that we would keep passing by on our walks; sometimes popping in to meet and pet the poor abandoned animals.

I wasn’t planning on adopting anyone on the day my daughter and I visited that place for yet another time. However, what happened was love at first sight. The very feeling they sing about in all the songs, that makes you abandon all reason. And so we picked up Denis.

The most surprising and significant thing of all was that my husband really approved of our new friend. He was brave when he heard the news; with a big of sadness (because, when he was a boy, he had a cat who fell from the balcony). Then he uttered a phrase that I didn’t quite understand at the time – “This is going to be your cat”. And so Denis became a member of our family.

Until we brought him home, he behaved perfectly. He rubbed against our legs and hands, as if to say “You’re not going to have any problems with me. I’m just a source of endless joy and delight.”

And then, as soon as we settled the formalities, and got ready to place him into the cat transporter, he turned so ferocious that it took my husband, my daughter, and two strong fellows who worked there to get him to cooperate.

The first few days in his new home, Denis had a hard time adjusting; he was very shy around us, and then he jumped up on the dinner table, stole two crackers, and ran off to chew on them loudly under the bed. And please don’t think that his food dish was empty at the time.

Pretty soon after we got him, my allergies started acting up. The tests showed that the cat might be the reason. So began my ordeal. I couldn’t breathe without the pills, but the thought of giving up Denis didn’t even enter my mind.

Around that time, Denis was behaving terribly. He would pee on the floor (whilst standing in his litterbox, as if to say “Well, at least I was trying”), yelled and screamed day and night, scratched, bit, and ruined all the furniture. He would occasionally throw up. Then he would refuse his food. And – what was the hardest for us to endure – he would wake us up at night.

To get our attention while we would try to sleep, he would yell behind the bedroom door, jumping up and down, trying to open it. After he’d be let into the room, he would leap onto the bed, and prod us right in the ribs with his paws.

I really didn’t know what to do, and whether I would have the patience to take care of him. His bad behaviour continued for about four months. My husband spent all that time in a half-asleep state (whether he was trying to stay awake during the day, or trying to go to sleep at night), which got him to acquire a coffee addiction.

My birthday came up. When I woke up that morning, my husband and my daughter were waiting with a bouquet of roses for me. And Denis had a little green leaf in his mouth, which had fallen out of the bouquet. He jumped up on the bed, and put it next to my pillow.

We started getting presents from Denis on a regular basis. Everybody got a little surprise from him. My daughter received a huge dragonfly, which she found on the floor in the middle of her room. My husband got a little bird (whom he managed to rescue, and release back into the outside world after it recovered a little).

A little while later still, I’d discovered that Denis and I have the same tastes. We both love French cheeses.

One day, I decided to take a risk and offer him some Stilton. He sniffed it, looked at me in horror, and proudly walked off. This left me wondering if he was really an heir to some magical cat kingdom, who somehow ended up at the shelter by mistake, perhaps after getting banished from his homeland by a rival to the throne. And now he thinks we are here as his servants.

Denis really changed throughout the time. He is no longer wild and neurotic, and he doesn’t drive us crazy in the night. If you were to come over, he would confidently stride out of the bedroom (his favourite place) to meet you, whereas before, he would hide from the guests underneath the bed.

My husband’s mysterious phrase did not come true. Our cat is everybody’s pet. He has a special relationship with each of us. He loves all of us.

The most unbelievable thing of all, though, is that my cat allergies miraculously disappeared. When I was tested for allergies recently, it came out positive for a number of things, but cat fur was not among them.


  1. Pets are wonderful things, I'm glad you have discovered the wonder of Dennis and he was kind enough to show you.

  2. Denis has a gorgeous orange color. I loved reading about him, your post was like a mini-story! It was very cute :)

  3. Curious eyes... seems beautifully groomed hair and happy belly ...

  4. So cute. Lovely photos too.:-) Hug Stina

  5. Denis is beautiful. I have had pets all my life until now, living in two countries makes it difficult. Cats I am afraid are out as I had to leave mine with my parents, Nigel is VERY allergic. You are lucky your problem has gone away. I would love to get a dog when we move to France permanently but vets are so expensive..... there is also the problem that we would like to travel when we can. I think pets are out for the time being sadly. Diane

  6. too cute:)
    and so adorable...
    and you say not as neurotic anymore...cool cat

  7. It's amazing how pets become members of the family.

    Olga, I have an award for you in my latest post.

  8. Great outcome on your story, you had me worried for at bit. He really is a very handsome cat.

  9. Hello! Thank you for the nice comment on my site! :) Beautiful pictures yoy share on your site - cool cat!


  10. Oh, Denis is too cute to be believed! I'm so jealous.

  11. Denis is gorgeous, this lovely post makes me a little sad as we miss having cats as part of our family. We always did while our daughters were growing up and they now both have cats in their own homes, just not feasible for our lifestyle at the moment.

  12. I have completely fallen for Denis, he is gorgeous! You should be very proud of the wonderful photos you have taken of him. I have not had cats or dogs as pets but I can certainly see the appeal. x

  13. He's so cute! Maybe he just doesn't like English cheeses, ha ha!

    I wish I could have a cat. A bunch of people in my family, including myself, are allergic.


  14. What a handsome kitty! We had 2 cats that lived 16 and 18 years. This time around we're trying a rabbit, who is very sweet, too!

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll ba back for more chats! :)

  15. What a beautiful cat - and that you rescued him makes the kitty all that more special. I just love cats - they have my heart. I love your pictures.

  16. I really enjoyed reading your story, because it mirrors my own so well. My cat was rescued before he was about to be put down. He couldn't be homed easily as he was mistreated in the first few months of his life and therefore, a bit difficult - very shy and defensive. But we sort of fell in the love the first moment we saw each other. He snuggled in my lap and shyly dipped his little head. His personality changed so much after a few months in his new home - he became so sweet and gentle, and incredibly loyal. I can't imagine life without him.

    What would life be without these special little creatures?

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your kind comment.

  17. such beautiful captures but the first one is my favourite. how did you manage to get him to pose so nicely for you?

  18. Hi lilylovekin,
    Since I had no experience dealing with animals, it was definitely interesting and challenging. It's easy to take care of him now that we get along so well.

    Hi Brenda,
    I've always loved ginger and white cats, and particularly when these colours are combined in the fur. I'm glad you enjoyed my story.

    Hi Wong,
    His belly is happy indeed, and he even allows us the privilege of petting it from time to time.

    Hi Stina,
    Thank you very much :)

    Hi Diane,
    Being allergic to animals is serious, because their fur gets everywhere, like an X-ray. It's true that having an animal is very expensive, even in Canada.

  19. Hi Ann,
    He's not neurotic, but he does get hyperactive sometimes, especially in the spring. He runs around and is unstoppable for several hours.

    Hi Tim Riley,
    I'm not entirely sure - is there a pet in your family? Thank you for the award :)

    Hi lifeshighway,
    Thank you; yes, we are very proud of our handsome gentleman.

    Hi Fro (Idyll på landet...),
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I really enjoy your blog; it's is so lovely and stylish.

    Hi Talli,
    Well, you have the advantage of walking around in the middle of the night (going for a snack, for example) without the fear of stepping on somebody's tail.

  20. Hi Lindy,
    It is definitely a big problem when you want pets, but if you spend a lot of time traveling, it is practically impossible. You have to find someone to look after them while you are absent.

    Hi Happy Frog and I,
    Thank you for the compliments. One of the most appealing aspects is that Denis becomes so affectionate when he misses us, and he follows us around when we return, demanding attention.

    Hi Lydia,
    We no longer buy English cheeses, in order to escape his contempt :) I'm sorry you're not able to have pets right now.

    Hi Betsy,
    I wonder what it's like to have a rabbit at home. I'm also wondering what you have named your rabbit. Thank you for being my follower. I also read your blog with great interest.

    Hi DeanO,
    Thank for your compliments about my photos of Denis. He is always in the mood for a photo session :) I don't think I'm a cat person or a dog person. If the circumstances would allow, I would get both.

    Hi hila,
    It's fascinating the way we have such similar stories about pets, and such similar experiences of how they can change if you love them so much. I'm glad I've found your blog. I have obsessively read all the posts :)

    Hi Life Ramblings,
    He's always modeling for my photos. My family always says that he's the best model.

  21. What a wonderful, wonderful story. He is just gorgeous and brought to mind a cat I had many years ago and who looked so like Denis. He was called Turpin (he used to ambush us and run up my legs, scratching them horribly, which made me howl in pain ... but he melllowed, too).

    I digerss. I was going to say that each of our cats (four at present) are rescued, as are those of my daughters. My husband and daughters suffer from cat fur allergies, but these have gone, over time, and I think that it is that the body becomes adjusted in some way - particularly to one's own cat. My one daughter is allergic to our cats but not to her own.

    I love cat stories and will read this one to Rupert Bear the panther (top cat) Bushy Bushkin, Sean 'Cuddler' Kitten and Princess Dyllis from the bins. They will love it ... as will our grandson.

  22. Hi Aguga,
    What an interesting facts! I would never assume that our bodies become adjusted to our cats :)
    OMG! You have four cats. I wonder how do they look, what their names? I am desperately curies.

  23. I simply love cat stories and wish I could have a feline companion of my own. But I'm not allowed to keep pets in my apartment. Your friend Denis is very cute and I'm sure that, now that he has outgrown his antics, he's a joy to you and your family.

  24. Piacere di conoscerti Denis!!!
    Che bel micione che sei!!!

  25. Dobrý den,krásná kočička.Každá trochu zlobí,ale to už ke kočkám patří.Na rozdíl od psů mají svůj rozum a cit.Také máme kočička,1 rok stará.Druh Whiskas.Je velký mazlíček a je moc hodná.První kočka co jsme měli zemřela na rakovina.Bylo to pro nás moc těžké.Na našem blogu je ta obyčejná kočka co zemřela.Ta nová Britská se nerada fotografovat.Máte moje sympatie.Lidé kteří mají rádi zvířata jsou hodní,milí.Pozdrav od Petr.

  26. Hi ladybird,
    All the stories I know about pets are either delightful or awful. There's no such thing as a neutral pet story :)

    Hi pino,
    Thank you! I'll be sure to say hello to Denis from you :)

    Hi petrolin50
    I'm really sorry about your cat. I hope your new cat brings you happiness, even though she is shy. Thank you for your lovely comment, and for being my follower.

  27. What a beautiful post and you have me singing "Denis Denis I have a crush on you" the Blondie song. He is so very handsome. My two cats were from a shelter too, I know exactly how you describe their behaviour at the beginning and how you grow to know and love and trust each other. Sadly my Murphy died last June and his little sister Tia Maria died 3 years ago. I still feel the loss but we had such a long time together (11 years in Murph's case). Give the Denis a big cuddle from me!

  28. Hi Dolly,
    These are amazing stories about your cats. I just love these kinds of stories. I think that, if you love an animal, he or she becomes your real friend and companion.

  29. Yes, Murphy in particular was my great friend and we communicated in an amazing way. I've been writing a post on both cats, but it is very hard to put into words what they meant to me and how much I miss them. But I do want to celebrate them with pictures and stories. I came back to this post to have another look at Denis, and his gorgeous face and eyes. He looks so absolutely content with His Family and His Life. I hope you gave him a cuddle for me!

  30. Long time no contact, Olga. I just arrived at your blog :) I didn't have much time so couldn't see your blog. Your pet is really cute! >.< Can't help. I'm dead when I saw your pet. :D

  31. Bonjour Olga. Un beau petit chat... un peu comme le mien sympathique comme souvent ils le sont. Amicalement Jean-Philippe

  32. Hi Dolly,
    I petted our cat for you. He was very flattered. I keep discovering interesting facts about his personality. I have a feeling that he's going to start speaking soon.

    Hi Chrystalyne,
    I'm always very pleased that you visit my blog. I was popping by your blog, but I could see that you are very busy. I'm glad you like my cat.

    Hi Jean-Philippe,
    Thank you very much for visiting, and thank you for your comment. I'll say "Bonjour" from you to my cat.

  33. That Denis is just so cuddly and beautiful... how fortunate he is to have found your family and adopted you. Your story is beautifully told and I love hearing about the little presents he brought to each of you.

    My daughter had a rescue cat with a remarkable resemblance to Denis that she took with her when she started on her own. "Funny" lived to a wonderful age and we still talk about how truly "funny" he was when she tried to walk him on a leash. Have you ever seen a cat do cartwheels? Funny!

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.


  34. Hi Genie,
    I'm happy I made this post, because I found out that many people adopt abandoned animals. Every story is unique and touching.