I’ve got a special place in my heart for tortoiseshells because my first real cat, Prunella, was a tortie. When I first saw her odd little face, divided down the middle with a gold streak, and her odd, patchy, gold/black coat I thought, never having seen a tortie before, “That is THE weirdest-looking kitten I’ve ever seen!” But this was at a riding stable, and they were going to send all the barn kittens to the pound because there were so many (no one fixed their cats back then). As is still the case with many pounds, the cats had just a few days to be claimed before they’d be killed. So I put the kitten in a cardboard box, took her home — and proceeded to fall in love.
The Extraordinary Shimmer
Since Prunella, who lived almost 22 years, I’ve rarely been without at least one tortie in my home either as a permanent resident or a foster. The latest permanent tortie arrived two summers ago. Shimmer and her sister, now named Harriet, both “dilute” (or “blue-cream” torties).were on death row at a high-kill pound. I agreed to rescue them based on nothing more than a tiny, blurry photo of them in a steel cage.
Shimmer, the tortie with the tabby tail.
My plan was to adopt both out once they’d recovered from the infection they’d caught at the pound. Ha! The best-laid plans…Shim and Harriet turned out to be amazing kittens: bold, affectionate, hilarious. Harriet found a home quickly, and I continued to look for a home for Shimmer — despite the fact that almost from the get-go it was clear that Shimmer had chosen me.
Soon I became convinced that she was the reincarnation of my first three cats rolled into one: the devoted and amusing tortie Prunella, also snatched from the jaws of death row; the wise, affectionate tabby, Pippin (Shim has a tabby tail!) and the loyal, super-smart, funny Burmese, Moki (silvery grey in colour, and Shim’s base colour is grey, not black); also, Moki and Shim are the only two cats out of hundreds I’ve dealt with who’ve ever liked riding on my shoulders!
Long story short, though I knew I shouldn’t take on another permanent cat, Shimmer has stayed. 🙂 She now delights numerous fans via my Facebook posts with her varied exploits, including opening every kibble container in the house — something no other cats have managed here ever.
And she’s also the first cat I’ve actually chosen back — remember, she chose me first! — in almost twenty years: my current gang other than her are all special needs or unadoptables, the ones you kind of get stuck with when doing cat rescue. Not that I don’t love them fiercely. But it is kind of special to, well, fall in love and make a deliberate commitment — both with humans AND cats. 🙂
A collection of photos of tortoiseshell cats and kittens
First off, a remarkable splitty-kitty I rescued from the same high-kill pound Shimmer came from. Delightful Quinn, found lost or abandoned at about age 4-5, is now happily adopted.
From my Facebook album Mad about Torties, posted by Marie-Lynn Hammond on 3/10/2010 (Showing 8 of 45 items)
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