Shelby, Queen of All She Surveys
by Alexsandra Hamilton
You can never read an entire newspaper at once at my house.
Shelby was a stray that we got at our local shelter one winter four years ago. At that time, the shelter was so overcrowded that they kept the bigger, older cats outside in large enclosures.
We walked by several of these enclosures several times, trying to pick out the perfect cat. In one, Shelby was sitting at the door, wailing every time we passed. I looked closer at her, and she literally jumped around happily, like a dog. And so she began her life with us.
At about 16 pounds, she is one of 7 cats and 3 dogs at our home, and she seems to have command over all of them. The cats pay her respect as she swaggers by. But she seems to prefer the company of our big black labs. When a neighbor's lab happened into our yard, she got mad and chased him away, swatting at him as she ran after him.
Her curiosity knows no bounds, as she's quite adept at opening every cabinet and drawer in the house (as well as doors; we still haven't figured out that one yet). She also enjoys climbing up the ladder when my husband puts up the Christmas lights each year. The first time, she climbed up next to his chest, and he was so surprised he almost fell over.
She actually does like to be carried around, and is very happy to knead your shoulder and purr madly while you hold her, usually leaving your shoulder full of wet cat snot. But her meow is loud and long; no chirping here. You can hear her on the other end of the house, as she will answer you if you call her name.
The only annoyance is the fact that I haven't been able to read an entire newspaper in one sitting since we brought her home. Her favorite hangout is on our kitchen table, splayed across the paper, adjusting her position to wherever she sees your eyes move to. Petting her only encourages this behavior, and putting her on the floor only gets her to jump back up again. And so I give up.
I never knew I could have such a cat buddy. I hope we have a long and happy life together.