Misty is a "shelter cat". Her first owner was a single female who died of cancer. She was then taken in by a group of volunteers that works to find good homes to cats and dogs. A couple of years ago, my family was looking for a cat. We went to a few shelters, met a few cats, but couldn't find "the one". Then one day my husband and daughter found out about this new volunteer group and went to meet Misty. I was at work and had no idea that I'd be coming home to find a new family member. She was under the bed, but still...she was there. Being under the bed was progress of a sort, because she had started behind one of the toilets, crying, then had moved to under the bed, quiet and with huge, scared eyes. I crouched down to have a look at her and introduce myself, then left her there to decide for herself when she felt safe enough to come out.
Eventually she came out and at first refused to sit on our laps. If we were sitting in a chair or on the couch, she would place herself at our feet (mostly my feet) and lay down, akin to a dog. Eventually, she moved up to the arm of the chair or the couch. Then she took to pressing herself into me as I sat there, giving the appearance that she was sleeping, but in actuality aware of every move and sound going on around her. Throughout this time she spread herself more or less evenly among my husband, daughter and me with a slight favortism towards me. When I got sick last year, though, she became my constant companion. She slept with me as I slept. She moved with me around the house when I moved around the house. She somehow figured out when it was time for me to wake up to get my daughter from day care and took to nipping at my feet to wake me up just in time to have a quick shower, dress, and rush over to the sitters.
We spent tons of hours together during this time and I tried repeatedly to take her picture - always without success. She'd be laying there, Hobbes style, stretched out on her back in the shape of a C with her furry, squishy belly exposed giving off the appearance of being in the deepest depths of sleep, but as soon as I'd move off the bed to quickly grab the camera she was alert, on her feet, and out of there.
Now when I come home, she has herself positioned at a space just inside the door so she's the first thing I see when I open the door and walk inside. Usually she looks like she just woke up, and how she's able to wake herself up and know it's me coming each time is a mystery. Lately she's taken to demanding a pet as soon as I come in the door - the kind where I have to use two hands, and fingernail scritches, and lots of telling her how wonderful and pretty she is. She'll flick her fluffy tail in acknowledgment of her due praise, talk to me for a few minutes (with an especially strident note if I've dared to forget to fill the food and water dishes before leaving the house), then settle in to watch the family until the time when we sit down for reading or tv and her moment arrives for lap sitting and further petting.
We often marvel at how dog-like she can be in her demands for attention. Ever since the waking-me-up period, she nips at me to pet her. Last night I was leaning over the sock drawer, putting some things away, when she decided she'd had enough of being ignored; first she nipped at my behind and then she leaped onto my back. So there I was, leaned over like an upside down L, with a meowing cat on my back and I figured the least she could do in return was to allow me to take her picture. As you can see by the expression on her face, she deigned to allow it - so long as I was quick.
She's a queenly, demanding little thing who wants the food bowl filled promptly upon its being emptied each day, who wants attention when she wants it and at no other time, who hates being picked up and most especially hates being picked up and held with her belly exposed, who sharpens her claws everwhere but on her scratching post, and who pretends to hate being brushed, combed and clipped and yet only goes so far as to give us dirty looks during the process but never attempts to run away. And we wouldn't have her any other way.