Shadow prefers to be out on the Single-Wide deck – even as the temperatures drop. She’s not the only one, of course – tubby Mya prefers it too, and Nikki Sixx-Toes; shy Jimmy tucks himself away on a shelf. But Jimmy and Mya will come indoors; Shadow relies on her floof and on Nikki’s company under the heat lamp.
Shadow arrived with us a couple of years ago from the Williams Lake area. She was found as a kitten in a feral colony, and was adopted. However, she never really tamed even though she remained an indoor cat; her behaviour was aggressive, and when she came to our care some ten years later, it was clear that fear fed the aggression. We discovered that she had a lightning paw, and razor-sharp claws.
She’s twelve years old now, but she’s little and cute, and the unwary visitor is easily fooled into reaching out too quickly! She arrived around the time we lost Belinda, who looked very similar, but was radically different in personality. Shadow’s body language is confident; she holds her tail like a flag, and she’s active in movement rather than cowering in any way. I’ve shed my share of blood, coaxing her into allowing contact. Like most cats, she prefers her own agenda; jumping up for lap-time is fine, when it’s her idea, but nobody tells Shadow what to do! Some days she will leap onto a lap and allow herself to be petted, and other days she will stand her ground and just dare you to touch her.
The only possible way out is bribery. A number of the SingleWide cats are chickaholics – Bossanova and Sarah Paylan lead the way – and Shadow is quick to react when the treat bag is opened, and even gives up on swatting, if food is on offer.
Like many black cats, she is hard to photograph; with her it’s not only because of the density of her colouring, but because she is so much in motion – she’s not a restful girl! Her “quiet time” is mostly with her buddy Nikki Sixx Toes – and frankly I think the attraction is mainly that he sleeps under the lamp over the papasan chair, and he’s a diabetic, so gets given extra food when it’s time for insulin shots. Shadow approves of extra food!
We’re never going to turn her into a tame cat – but she’s a different cat from the one who first came to us. I was going to title this blog Black Pepper, but it has implications that she’s always angry with us, and that’s not so – spicy is definitely the right word for this little black cutie.