A cat has kindly allowed us to have him in our home. Ivan is a part Russian Blue grey tabby that we met at a Petsmart in Clayton, NC. We are cat people and the last cat we had unfortunately was still feral and attacked both our children and drew blood from my husband. It was not a good match so we had to re-home him to a farm where a kind farmer gladly turned him into a barn cat. Everyone involved was satisfied with the arrangement. It still took us several years to grieve. Then along came Ivan.
When I mentioned to my “brother” that we were finally ready for another cat, he highly recommended Johnston County Animal Protection League (https://jcapl.org/blog/). He had adopted a couple of cats through them and was thoroughly impressed. JCAP showed their cats at the White Oak Crossing Shopping Center Petsmart and we were sent lots of photos of cats he thought we might like. Among them was a cutie pie female. We wanted to skip the young kitten route since the last one did not end well. We thought if they were at least 6 months old then we could already see their personalities and have a better match.
JCAP did a stupendous job of fostering our kitty for 6 months. He CHOSE us. I mean it – he bumped into the plexiglass getting our attention. We were petting the female and minding our own business and he was insistent. I asked if we could see him too and he unabashedly pushed the female away and sniffed us. He got right in my face, head butted me and demanded pets. His purr was loud and his fur was soft and he was gorgeous. He greeted every member of my family and marked us saying we were his. There was no choice. He gladly got in the carrier and we have been happy together for more than 4 years.
His given name was Henley and his birthday was the same as mine – November 1. My youngest daughter had a hard time saying his name. It came our Harry or Henny. So we decided he needed a name change. My cat before the girls were born was named Saki – named after one of my favorite writers – Hector Hugh Munro and a nod to my favorite Japanese beverage. The Feral cat was named Sushi (that one is obvious right?) so I wanted Ivan to have a similar name but I was outvoted. I did give him a “middle” name of Soju which is my favorite Korean beverage. After many discussions, because he was part “Russian” Ivan was chosen and the nicknames immediately followed: Ivan the Not so Terrible, Ivanski, Ivano and then many terms of endearment that had nothing to do with his name LOL.
He is one of the best things to ever happen to our family. He is such a GOOD cat. He looks straight into your eyes and appears just when you need him to. He has a slightly different relationship with all of us. He allows the eldest daughter to carry him around albeit with a displeased frown on his face. He likes to lie very close to the youngest when she is finally still and sleep while she reads or plays video games accepting head scratches from her. He LOVES my hubby’s lap and is a constant “buddy” during video gaming. He also sits in a box on the computer table for hours while he works from home.
I am the first to awake most days so my ritual with Ivan is to sit on the recliner with a fuzzy blanket on my lap. He hops up, gives me kisses, head rubs and bumps my hand for under chin scratches. Then he stretches out long and lean on my legs and we meditate. I use his breathing as a guide and we sit that way for at least 30 minutes. It is a great way to start the day. Sometimes he “helps me” with folding laundry by sitting on a pile allowing me to add more on top of him. When I fold sheets with someone he begs for a “ride” and we swing him gently hammock style. He really loves it – what a fun, strange cat.
One of the reasons my family is sane during the COVID pandemic is because he is our furry therapist. He always knows when someone is sad, stressed or sick. He hangs around that person more than any other. He knows the oldest daughter is THE FEEDER and hassles her for food at 6am and 5pm. If she is too slow he yowls, “right MEOW!” He knows that I am the sucker who gives the most treats and he has even learned to say numnum in meow-ese to entice me. He will lead you to the laundry room where his foodstuff are kept. What a smart kitty. We are truly lucky he chose us.
Whether you like cats or dogs you should consider having one in your home. Yes, they create need for extra money, time and effort – but they pay you back thrice fold. Look how crazy the last pet free leader of our country was. Let that be a lesson to you. Get adopted by a fur baby pronto!