Life with Dedee

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"Purebreed" and "rescue" don't often sound related. If someone has a purebred cat, the next logical question is "What breeder did you use?" 

The only answer I can offer is "I don't know." 

Dedee was born January 24, 2013 and too soon thereafter was surrendered to a shelter in New Jersey. She was declawed and still a kitten, but the owners said she was a bully to their older cat. When they released Dedee into the play area with other cats, she indeed picked fights. As someone with an anxiety disorder, I know how intense the fight-or-flight instinct can be. I heard her story and knew she was scared.

When I met her, she had more than a dozen massive knots on her, the size of her back limbs. She had tears streaming out of one eye. And as soon as I crouched down to say hello, she crawled into my lap and refused to leave. She was only 2 years old and had already seen a lifetime of trauma, including previously being adopted out to a household with 3 big dogs, 3 very young boys, and no means to defend herself. Every time a dog barked, she shivered.

The shelter workers told me that she's not friendly to other cats but was warming up to kittens. That last part didn't matter to me -- she wants to be an only child? Fine. That works for me.

Over the years, my awesome roommates (past and present) and I have helped teach Dedee good coping mechanisms. We've created space for her to expres herself. And I've rearranged the apartment so that she has places where she can feel in total control.

As a result of that, Dedee has become a lot of things:

She's a tour guide. She likes taking me or my roommate around the apartment, showing off the objects she likes the most that day. If we step out of line in the tour, she starts the whole thing over again.

She's become a hall monitor. If I'm in my room, I'll catch her resting in the hallway, blocking my path to the bathroom, and smiling. I hang hall passes from my door now for her to inspect when I walk past.

And now that I work from home, she's my supervisor. Sometimes we fight over who gets the work chair, but we seem to have negotiated work shifts and an understanding.

Most of all, she brings joy to my life and the life of her Auntie, who is equally dedicated to this little cat. Dedee may be our baby, but she's also our roommate, and we treat her as our equal. Because of that, and her tremendous personality, she's very expressive and very easy to read. Even though she doesn't speak English (well, much English -- she's figured out a few words, which you'll see in future comics), she's pretty clear about what she's trying to say, which is why she has dialogue in this comic series.

I hope Dedee brings as much joy to your life as she does ours.


-Dedee's Mom
by DedeesMom