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Confessions of a first time cat Mum

Who knew?

By Emma DatsonPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read
Umbra sitting on my lap on our first day together

I am a first time cat mum and these are my confessions.

I got a rescue kitten in August this year. Not sure why. You see I have always owned dogs all my life. In fact I share ownership of a wonderful pug, called Princess, with my ex-partner, Chris, who I also live with due to financial constraints. I have never really been a cat person, never even really seen the attraction in owning one. Cats, to me, always seemed liked such standoffish creatures. They paid you attention went they wanted to, not when you wanted or needed their companionship. Cats provide love and affection based on their terms not mine. Versus dogs, who always provide such upfront, carefree, unconditional love.

Well anyway, I decided to get this kitten, from a rescue organisation. I had decided up front that if I was getting a cat, it was going to be a black cat. I put in an application for Umbra (then called Ebony), met him via Zoom (due to the distance between us), and bought him home the next week for a trial.

First of all I had to rename Umbra. I could not keep the name Ebony, as I felt this was too feminine a name for boy and tried Shadow out. One of my friends commented on my unoriginality. So I had a rethink and came up with Umbra, which is Latin and means Shadow.

Confession #2

Those quick thinking readers will think, hang on, where is Confession #1? It is above, where I admitted that I am not really much of a cat person. Anyway I digress, Confession #2 is that I never really knew that you really have to work to earn a cat's trust. Umbra is quite a shy boy, born in a barn, abandoned, and rescued from being killed. So he was quite unused to humans. It had taken Umbra a long time to warm up to his foster carer, which I had been warned of, but even still I was surprised how much time it took him to warm up to me. Umbra spent a lot of time, in those first few days, hiding inside his little home or in the bookshelf at the end of bed head in my room. He was always in the shadows. Even today, when Umbra wants to hide or blend in, he will sit on something black so I can't see him and it works.

Umbra in the bookshelf

Confession #3

Confession #3 is that cats like to use the kitty litter in their litter trays to cover up where they have been to the toilet. I mean I knew that dogs will brush up grass after themselves to cover up where they have been to the toilet. Not that Princess ever gets grass anywhere near where she has been but anyway she sure does try. This might seem silly to those long time cat owners, I just never thought cats would be that fastidious about the whole thing. I mean they have humans to change their litter trays, so why bother that much? Well I soon learnt that they do bother and care about such things. Though Umbra apparently takes this to a whole new level. He fusses then scrapes, fusses then scrapes, and fusses then scrapes some more. I have to keep his litter tray quite full of kitty litter to keep him a happy and satisfied cat.

Umbra attacking a toy

Confession #4

Before getting a cat I never really understood how fierce cats can be, even when playing, and I mean fierce!

When we play with Umbra, he gets very aggressive and he just must win. My friend gave us a new toy for him, a start dangling at the end of a rod. It was destroyed within a day. The star ripped off and gutted quite effectively. Or watching Umbra pounce on his flopping fish, is a sight to behold. I mean you should see the scratches and bite marks on my hands and arms. If Umbra's bowl is empty, he will literally, jump on your feet, under the covers, and start attacking them, until you give in and feed him. Umbra is certainly not gentle. From watching him I can easily see how he would attack and kill things in the wild. Which is actually quite confronting in a way. How set on prey Umbra gets, the twitching of the tail, the pounce. Cats have such lethal intent, which I never really understood properly before.

Confession #5

My last confession, for today at least, was that I never really realised how affectionate cats can be to their humans. Umbra wants to greet me in the mornings, when I wake up with head boop and rub against my body. After coming home, when I have been out, Umbra will ignore me for a little while, as if to say, 'Oh, your back a again are you?' But this doesn't last long, he will round me up so I go into my bedroom, then jumps up on the bed. Rubs his head and body against me, purring all the while, he is just so pleased to see me. It's wonderful.

Umbra even tries to prevent me from leaving. He knows that when I have a shower and I'm getting dressed that I am going out. So Umbra plays for as much attention as he can get, as if to say "Come on Mummy, you don't need to go out, I'm here'. He will wind himself round my legs, talk to me, reminding how cute and gorgeous he is, and why do I need to go out into the world. Oh and the chin scratches, Umbra loves them. I get bites if I stop scratching his chin, and he hasn't had enough scratches yet.

Umbra getting a chin scratch

I am a proud cat Mum. I can't say they are better than dogs, they are just different to them. I certainly understand now why people own and love cats. Umbra has wound his way into my heart very quickly, indeed he has me twisted around his little claws, and I would have it any other way.

I am a proud, first time cat mum and these are my confessions.

(Please note I am Australian, so I use Australian spelling)


About the Creator

Emma Datson

I am 40ish, medically interesting, Australian poet, who is finally using her voice. My superpower is my vocabulary. Dive in and read an eclectic mix of poetry and creative non-fiction, full of love, grief and hope. Light, love

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