A Cat and His Boy
I’m sure you’ve seen the viral stories about cats being tolerant and loving with young children. Particularly as cats are notorious for being frightened of children, annoyed at being dressed or cuddled if they don’t want to be. These stories are heartwarming and often make me smile.
Then I think of my son and his feline buddy, Chasey. I can’t help it, the recollection makes me smile, warms my heart. A difficult decision, a hopeful choice, and it turned into four years (and counting!) of beloved feline companionship.
About four years ago, I made a decision. I weighed it for many months, having observed my son with my two senior girls, Kyrie and Shadow. They were 14 years old, both cats, and were not up to being awkwardly patted, clutched, or petted by a 3-year-old human boy.
So the day I was able to purchase a used minivan in decent condition (my first vehicle ever), I took my son to a local PetCo adoption event and immediately asked if they had kittens. Unfortunately, we came just on the cusp of kitten season. I hesitated when I was informed of that, because I promised my son a cat. The worker there asked me what I was looking for and I told her honestly.
“I want a cat that can tolerate a young child.”
She made several recommendations and allowed us to use a back room that PetCo had available to see how the cats handled my son. We went through several cats and I patiently watched my young son giggle and laugh, try to play and pet, with them all for well over an hour. I wanted to see if the cat would understand his youth and teach him without violent claws or hissing.
Well through that hour, I noticed there was one big black cat who was incredibly patient. This cat never hissed nor scratched my son. He allowed my son to put him in his lap, never complaining nor immediately getting up to run away. I was awestruck by this cat.
I was told that the cat’s name was Mister Meow. Charming, but a mouthful. When I tried to lift him, I realized he was a bit overweight, but not excessively so. He had three white patches on his black fur; one by his throat, one by his chest, and the biggest on his belly. His tail was oddly short compared to the length to his body. He was enormously patient, this Mister Meow.
I asked my son if he wanted the cat. He was insistent that Mister Meow was ours. I paid the adoption fee and he came home with us that afternoon.
My son didn’t like the name Mister Meow. He wanted to change it. I said that was perfectly fine with me, and asked what did he want to name the cat. After all, it was to be his cat, after all. After a considerable silence, my son announced “Chasey.”
Just a bit over a year old, Mister Meow was renamed Chasey.
The story of the rescue we got him from was that he was found wandering the streets. He had no microchip, and no one sent out notice they were looking for a cat of his appearance. After a lengthy delay to ensure no one lost him, the rescue put him up for adoption. He was spayed and given his shots.
My two seniors were wary, but from the moment they met, Chasey was gentle and patient. If Kyrie or Shadow made signals that they didn’t want him close by, Chasey would just sit and wait for them to either calm down or run away. He never bullied nor push his way in. I was amazed.
That night, Chasey laid down by my son’s head in the bed and I don’t think he ever left the whole night. From that moment on, Chasey was my son’s feline companion. Chasey tolerated all the awkwardness that came with a toddler reaching a child’s age, and never once swatted, hissed, or attacked my son.
In the last four years, Chasey stayed close by. At night, he could be often found by my son, be it foot or head. More than once, I’ve witnessed my son roll over Chasey while asleep, and Chasey patiently laying there, waiting for the chance to move. I recall an adorable moment when my son used Chasey’s belly as a pillow. All I heard were purrs and Chasey loving on my son.
Two years ago, I moved from apartment to house, and decided trying to move with a 5-year-old underfoot would have been the worst idea. Understanding this, my ex-husband took my son that weekend so I could move house without having to tend to my son.
The whole weekend, Chasey meowed. Frequently. It was the only time I’ve ever heard him meow that much. It did not take me or my cat-loving friends to figure out why. Chasey was missing my son, and according to one friend, “He was worried that his boy wouldn’t know where to find him.”
I did my best to reassure and soothe Chasey, but he had this perpetual worried meow going on. The day my son came to our new home, Chasey stopped. Reassured that his boy knew where to find him, Chasey was silent again — except for his happy purrs.
Every time my son went to his father’s for visitation and came back, he was greeted with a headbutt by Chasey. Chasey would then sit or lay near my son, headbonk him frequently, and could be, as always, found by his boy in the bed.
Chasey is my son’s cat, through and through.