Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
Posted Apr 28, 2013
It was after my apartment was inundated with mice from the neighboring farm, and the landlord did nothing about the problem, that I decided that I needed to get a cat.
I grew up with both indoor and outdoor cats in the suburbs, and I always enjoyed their company. I also appreciated their low-maintenance care routine - clean the litter box, feed them and, well that's it! No 1AM walks in the rain after your dog howls at the door. No baths for kitty, either. He is more than happy to take of his grooming needs, himself, thank you very much!
I was lucky enough to find the perfect cat after going on Craigslist. She was actually the first cat listed. Bella was a stray taken in by a young man after his teenage sister found her roaming in the street. He was kind enough to bring her to the vet to be spaded and given her shots. He truly cared for her, but couldn't keep her.
My kitten Bella was very active from the start. She would jump to the top of my work desk (about an 8 foot leap) and take a nap up there. Unfortunately, Bella is very clumsy, and more than once she fell from that height. Eventually I told her that she can't climb anymore, but Bella was sneaky and tried to get past me one time, so I grabbed her mid-leap. Bella lost her footing and fell about 5 feet right smack into a hot cup of coffee (which landed in my lap). Of course, she darted off into another room, "claiming" she was there all along. She then coyly came around to watch me clean up, feigning innocence. I have explained to Bella more than once that she cannot fly, and falling down fast is just that - falling!
Bella and my four-year-old initially did not get along, though things are much better now. My daughter believed that cats are like dogs and enjoy being picked up and squeezed like a teddy bear at bedtime. Bella tried so hard to be nice about it at first. Then she she decided to not be so lady-like. Bella left a number of scratches on my daughter, and it got to the point that I had to ensure that they were physically separated if I was in a different room. I put more of the blame in this matter on my daughter, than on the cat. I strongly believe that if you are going to adopt a cat, that you should allow the cat to keep its claws. A cat's claws are like its fingers and to remove them is to partially paralyze them. That is why I believe that if you have a cat with claws and a younger child, that you should teach that child early on that the cat can AND will defend itself if it feels cornered. Usually, most children will understand this, but my daughter has special needs. I do not believe that special needs children and cats mix for this reason.
It worked for us in the end because the cat became acclimated to my daughter's antics and she now treats this as a game. My daughter's behavior, however did not change. I realized that Bella now enjoyed this "game" one morning when she was sleeping on my chest and heard my daughter sneeze in her room. She immediately got up from her cozy position and went to my daughter's room to engage in play with her rather that sit with me.
Bella is an indoor cat. That is because I live in a high traffic area and I don't want to constantly worry about her safety. We also moved 3 times because of my job and she doesn't know her way around this neighborhood. Because of this, Bella likes to watch the songbirds outside of the picture window every morning from her "throne", er, the kitchen counter. She has the most peculiar reaction to the birds - she barks at them. Yes, I said bark. She makes this repetitive meowing noise like "mah, mah, mah...". She sounds similar to a wild duck. I often wonder if she feels restricted because she can't go outside and hunt (which she probably did early in her life to survive). She seems to make up for it by "killing" hair scrunchies and pencils around the house, and she is better than any Raid trap at killing household insects.
The sweetest, if not most annoying, thing that Bella does is come up on my lap when I am working at my desk. She has been known to take the occasional nap on my keyboard when I am writing a report. She is insistent on "helping" and has actually deleted or modified documents with her tail in the past. However, when she settles down on my lap, the love and security I feel emanating from her inspires me to get more work done than if I was there alone.
All-in-all, my experience with my American Shorthair has been extremely pleasant. I needed a work cat 2 apartments ago, and I didn't expect that I would fall head-over-heels in love with this fur ball. She is very sweet, and very smart. I highly recommend this breed of cat to anyone that wants a true companion that is easy to care for. The return on a miniscule investment of time and money is probably the best friend you'll ever have.