This is Shadow. I took her in reluctantly when a former boyfriend of mine moved back in with his parents. His dad was both allergic to and had a dislike of cats. She lived with me for awhile until the boyfriend moved back into his house and could take her back again. Then, like the cat that came back the very next day, she was once again foisted on me when he moved back in with his parents again. The second time, after I paid to have her "fixed" (not to mention what I had spent of food, cat litter and damages), I told him that she was now my cat and would be staying with me permanently. After a rocky start, she has grown on me.
When you pet Shadow, she feels like a kitten. She is so incredibly soft for an adult cat. She is not a very vocal animal and, other than a rather strange obsession with Healthy Choice Fudge Bars and blue raspberry popsicles, she is just your average cat. She got her name because as a kitten she followed my old boyfriend around all the time. She responds to her name so there is no changing it now. She likes to sleep on me at night but on top of the covers and she is not particularly a lap kitty.
A few years ago, I found out that if I sing, she will come from wherever she is to stand at my feet and meow at me, rub my legs and sometimes even try and give me a little nibble. So, I started singing "Goodnight Shadow" at bed time to get her to come in the bedroom for the night. I sing "Buffalo Cats" (to the tune of Buffalo Gals) when I can't find her in the house during the day. Then I discovered "Once in Royal David's City".
"Once in Royal David's City" was my grandmother's favorite Christmas carol. She was from England and really missed some of the English hymns and carols. As a result, our entire family knows "We Plow the Fields and Gather the Good Seed on the Land", "Eternal Father, Strong to Save", "Once in Royal David's City" and several others. When I start singing Christmas carols around the house during the holidays, it is one of the first that comes to mind. The first time I was yodeling it around the house, Shadow came from another room and tried to climb up my legs and join in with several loud and insistent MEOWS. It is evidently her most or least favorite of the songs I sing.
Shadow is an indoor only kitty with a lot of curiosity about the great outdoors. One day recently, she got outside when my husband's back was turned. He and my mother searched frantically all over outside for her to no avail. Then my mother remembered, she stopped and belted out the first verse of "Once in Royal David's City". My mom has a killer soprano voice that does much more justice to it than my croaky alto. Sure enough, Shadow hopped up into a window outside the kitchen and started to sing along allowing my husband to sneak up from behind and capture her.
Unfortunately, I forget sometimes when guests are around how odd this all is. We had a couple of friends over for dinner last week and my parents joined us for appetizers beforehand in order to visit with them. When they went back home, Shadow followed them out the door and refused to be shooed back inside. So I stood with a dish in my hand in the middle of the kitchen and proceeded to call forth the opening strains "Once in royal David's city stood a lowly cattle shed" and before I had reached "where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His bed" Shadow had trotted back in and joined in for the last line: "Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little child." I then serenely turned and sat the dish on the table. In looking up, both my guests were looking at me like I was the Christmas fruitcake and perhaps it was time to be going. I mumbled something about it being the cat's favorite song which clearly was not the explanation calculated to restore their confidence in my sanity. I wonder if I will ever see them again?