February 21, 2011

Cat Scratches

 We have a cat named Shrimp. She was the runt of the litter. I got her for J the first year we were married as a birthday gift. She was our first pet together.. our first child so to speak. And she is CRAZY!
Shrimp in the sink
Shrimp loving the new couches
She zips and she zings through the house, often using me as her springboard. She loves only J and will lay on him for hours. Don't try to pick her up because you will meet her claws. She typically wants nothing to do with me, unless I am filling her water bowl. Yet at night, she likes to sleep with her behind on my head or up under my side. She sits in the window and meows at birds, hisses at passing cats, swats at the air, and stares and nothingness floating in the air. She chases lasers and scales walls, and is NOT a fan of the dog. So she'll jump a top her tower and tease Meela.

She was an only child.. an only very spoiled child. When I got pregnant, we were concerned whether or not she would get along with new baby. If it came down to it, we all know the cat would have to go. Talking with friends and family, they all said she would be fine. They can sense that the little one is part of the family. But see, Shrimp is not most cats. Like I said, she is CRAZY! So Savanna came, and we wouldn't let Shrimp near her. I was too nervous. On a couple occasions, J would be sitting on the couch, S nestled cozily on his chest... Shrimps chest! So as Shrimp would typically do, she would attempt to jump onto the couch and spring to his chest... except there was one slight problem, it was now Savanna's chest! Needless to say there were a couple times the cat caught a hand in mid spring. It took her twice to finally look before she lept. Than one day I had laid S down for a nap and Shrimp jumped up onto the couch. I was on guard and ready, but I figured if I swatted her away everytime, she would only try harder to get closer. So I watched, with great anticipation and a bit of anxiety as she crept closer and closer, sniffing and sniffing. Not sure why I was so worried, because she plopped down right next to her, almost as if watching over her. From that moment, I knew she had made Savanna part of the family too.

As S got older and more interactive, the cat would often sit next to her while S played. She never bit, and if she playfully swatted at her, claws were always put away. It's as if she knew how delicate and fragile baby girl was.

So where does my story bring me? It brings me to this last month or so. One day I was getting ready for work and I heard a weird scratching noise, I looked.. Shrimp was sitting at Savanna's door scratching away. I shooed her off and went about my business. She did it again.. I repeated the previous process. Over the course of the next few weeks, I would catch her doing this at least once a day, sometimes two or three. I began to get a little concerned... a little freaked out actually. A friend thought that maybe it was because her door was closed, she was curious. Well, so is the bathroom door and the guest room door, and those have been left untouched. It was completely out of character for her. Another friend suggested that maybe she senses her spirit, I've heard of that... cats sensing spirits of those who have passed. Than someone else thought maybe she just missed her. So this triggered my inquisitive little mind and I did some research.

I did find a few things on cats sensing spirits, but nothing that seemed too concrete. Than I stumbled upon an article about cats missing an owner when they die. The article talked about grief symptoms that often occur in cats after an owner or fellow feline passes. First, they are probably able to sense the high emotions in the household, immediately tipping them off that something is changed. Sometimes they will get sick (and she did get a cold about 3 weeks after S died) and than once they realize the person is not there, they will begin to look for them. Shrimp was never allowed in S' room, and she knew that. On bath nights and when we would get S ready for bed, Shrimp would always try to sneak in there, or she would be sitting right at the threshold in hopes we would invite her in. So thinking about the research and the crazy cats recent behavior, I came to the conclusion, Shrimp misses S too.

The MIL had an idea, let her in there. Let her investigate and see that she's not there. Give her some closure. (Sounds weird, I know... to speak of her the way I do. But as crazy as Shrimp is, she is a part of our little family. And has aided in a bit of the healing.) So tonight, as I went through Savanna cards, we let Shrimp in to investigate. She walked around, sniffed, went under the crib, through the bars, and laid down.

So now we wait and see. So far this evening, she hasn't done it. And who knows how much truth the article holds, but it seemed a logical explanation to me. It made me realize also, that even an animals life becomes altered when one of God's blessings is given and than taken away.

5 blessings, thoughts. &. feelings:

Tiffany said...

it's amazing how everyone's life is altered after such a loss. poor shrimp. i love those pics of shrimp and Savanna - so cute.

LauraJane said...

I could not agree more, my cat was the first to know when I was pregnant. She went from sitting at the end of the bed to needing to sit beside me and kneed me. She was very gentle in the few days I had Jack home with me, and would try and get into his room whenever I was in there after he passed. She stopped grooming herself after we lost him- so strange.

Mary said...

Animals know...I don't know how, but they do. My dog, who is normally extremely rambunctious, knew when I can home from the hospital after delivering Addie, that something was wrong. They mourn losses just like we do, I think. Hopefully, allowing her time to investigate will help Shrimp grieve and say goodbye to Savanna.

rebecca said...

I loved this story...pets are such incredible members of our families! Amazing how much Shrimp was able to sense and the affect Savanna's death has had on her. I hope being given the opportunity to look through her room brings Shrimp some peace.

The Anglin Family said...

I love that your cat's name is Shrimp. :)
Thanks for sharing this story. I found your blog through faces of loss. Although our stories are very different, I buried my stillborn baby girl on November 12th. I just wanted to let you know I am thinking about and praying for you. Savanna is so beautiful.