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03.10.15 / Life with Cheetah

life with cheetah 2

If I had to sum up life with Cheetah in one word? Smitten. She’s the fluffy pet we never knew we were missing. As you may remember, we adopted Cheetah at the end of the summer last year. Not knowing a thing about cats and having declared myself not a “cat person,” it was probably the best uninformed decision I’ve ever made. All of the concerns I had about living with a cat have dissolved. She is pretty much the best thing ever.

After the vet declared her perfectly healthy, I had Cheetah spayed. We lived through one of her heats and that was enough for me. Oh, the mooooaning. She had an uneventful recovery and has remained healthy ever since.

Luckily, Cheetah hasn’t given me any reasons to even consider declawing. I clip her nails at home with these every other week. She doesn’t hate it; she doesn’t love it. She isn’t much of a scratcher and when she does scratch she sticks to her post and cardboard lounger. I’m happy to report she hasn’t destroyed anything. (Our tree made it through the holidays unscathed.) She sometimes reaches up and stretches on the gray chair in the living room pulling loose a few threads (I just snip them with scissors), so when we leave the house I throw a blanket or two over the chair to protect it. It works. She likes to bat at and knock off the wood balls on the brass & string art in the entry. Currently, there are no balls on the strings. I just think of it as multipurpose: art + cat toy ;)

As for shedding, I’ve just started noticing a few clumps of hair here and there. I think she’s starting to shed her winter coat. We had a dog several years ago that shed like crazy. Like awful. So a few clumps are nothing. I can live with that. I give her a quick brush every week or so.

life with cheetah 1

Obviously, the kids adore her. They take turns feeding her. Cheetah meows at the boys’ bedroom door early every morning. (This is the only time she meows…she’s so quiet! Her purr is barely audible.) She has figured out that Layne is usually the first one up and she wants him to come play with her. Everett just loves on her. He holds her like a baby and talks to her and she soaks it up. Mabrey is a little more, um, rough. She carries Cheetah around like a rag doll and there have been a few hits / kicks. Cheetah is a good sport about it though. She hasn’t scratched Mabrey once. (If I were a cat, I think I would have.) I love spying on the two of them together during the day. Mabrey talks to Cheetah like they’re girlfriends. It’s so cute.

Cheetah is kinda a second mother to the kids. When one of them is upset, she sits quietly next to them like she’s concerned. At night, when we put the kids to bed, she always comes into their rooms as if to say goodnight. Then she waits outside the door until Steve and I come out into hallway. After the kids are in bed for the night, Cheetah is the cuddliest lil’ thing. Steve and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad (yes, I know it’s 2015…we’re a little behind) in the evenings. Cheetah curls up in my lap and it’s the sweetest. I never knew cats could be so snuggly.

life with cheetah 3

I think it’s weird that she has a different favorite napping spot each day. It’s been the bottom bunk, my desk stool, a shelf in my closet, under a blanket, Mabrey’s bed, Mabrey’s closet, the mantel, the top of the media cabinet, the changing pad in the nursery (that we don’t use anymore but I can’t get rid of because Cheetah likes it…I AM THAT LADY), various baskets, the bench by the front door, the bench in the mudroom, a dining chair, a sheepskin rug, etc. Sometimes I can’t find her in the usual spots and I’m surprised when I find her camped out somewhere new. She finds all the places. She never naps on my and Steve’s bed during the day but she does curl up behind my knees at night. Of course, I contort my body around her so as not to disturb her. I am also that lady.

I think it’s fair to say this kitty has converted us, along with a few extended family members who previously labeled themselves “not cat people.” I’ve even caught myself going out of my way to walk past the kitties up for adoption at the pet store. Insanity.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

59 Comments

10.March.2015

Does Cheetah meditate too?!

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Ha! She does sit in the room with us while we meditate. Steve and I joke that she meditates all. day. long. (i.e. naps all. day. long.)

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10.March.2015

I’m so happy for your family! I’m also so jealous :( My husband is allergic to cats so we can never have one. Instead we got a small dog who is so sweet but boy do I regret getting a dog! We got him before we had children and now that we have a three year old and a baby, having a dog is a huge pain. Any time a newlywed friend says, “I think we want a dog!” I tell them NOOO!! Just get a cat!!

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replied on March 10th, 2015

That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard! We got a small dog before we had kids, and now we have a 4.5 year old and a 2 year old. Our dog has rarely missed his daily walk, he’s part of our family and we make him a priority. I also always tell people to not get a dog before they have kids or if they work full time out of the home because it’s just not fair to the dog. You really should consider re-homing him if he’s such a pain for you or adapt your schedule for him. My kids are more of a pain than my dog some (most?lol) days but I don’t regret having them.

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replied on March 10th, 2015

I’m not sure why my comment gave the impression we neglect our dog or don’t walk him. He gets a long walk 2-3x a day and still gets plenty of love. I just think having a dog makes having small children harder.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

In our experience, dogs are way more work than cats too! We had a boxer before kids so by the time we had two kids, it was really like we had three kids. I don’t like the idea of a pet doing their business in my house, but scooping a litter box once or twice a day is a cinch. And Cheetah has never had an accident. I can’t say the same for our late boxer. House-training a puppy is THE WORST. And as she got older and her health declined, she had more accidents. There was a lot of cleaning up.

What a cool freakin’ cat she has become :) We are totally binge-watching Breaking Bad too! We like to be a few years behind…doing the same with Game of Thrones :/

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Game of Thrones is probably next for us. Every night after the kids are in bed, one of us (me or Steve) asks the other, “Wanna cook?” And that’s the cue to watch an episode or two. We are so hooked.

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replied on March 12th, 2015

Ha! Love it! Gonna start saying that every chance I can :) Get ready, GoT is even more addicting (and shocking!)

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replied on March 12th, 2015

Oh no. We’re in trouble.

10.March.2015

I love hearing this! I was never a cat person. Despised them because of a cat my dad brought home when I was growing up. And then one summer in college I decided to get a cat (because I couldn’t get a dog) and I changed my mind. I’ve had my cat for almost 9 years now and I can’t image not having her! Unfortunately, my cat (a Balinese) does shed quite a bit.

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10.March.2015

I think it’s great Cheetah came into your lives. When my kids were little we brought home a tabby an named him Milo. We loved that cat more than anything! He had a good life for 18 years! After he went to kitty heaven, my adult daughter brought home another tabby an named her Mila. My husband an I are empty nesters an I’ve recently rescued 2 half Maine Coon (Minnie & Mosey)!! Never in my entire life did I think I would have 3 cats!! Nuts I tell ya! Ah but pets give so much love:). Here’s to Cheetah giving your lovely family lots of love for a really long time.

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10.March.2015

This makes me so happy! My husband had always declared that he was NOT a cat person but I had always grown up having pets. We both work long(ish) hours so a dog wasn’t in the cards for us but I finally convinced him that a cat would be worth a try. We now have two of them, Bruno and Charlie, and my husband is smitten. He claims they are the best, questions how it’s possible that we can love them so much and now “declares” that we’ll never get a dog. ;) Cheetah sounds like a gem, so glad you guys found each other!

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10.March.2015

Aww, this is so sweet. We’ve agreed to add a pet to our household and having a strong cat vs. dog debate. This post (and all your others) are such a strong argument for cats!

And we haven’t even started with Breaking Bad yet… that has to wait we’ve finished working our way thru Game of Thrones.

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10.March.2015

It was fitting that I read your lovely post as today is my ten year anniversary with my dear cat Katie Scarlet. She picked me: I came home from work that day, and she ran right up to me from my backyard meowing loudly. I said “hello little one” and picked her up and she licked my cheek. I learned later from a neighbor that she had been hanging around for several weeks, so clearly she was just waiting for me. She was underweight and under the weather but she moved right in and has never been cold or hungry since that day and I always have someone waiting for me to come home.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Such a sweet story! Happy cat-iversary.

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11.March.2015

Please, please don’t declaw Cheetah! I know that cats can be destructive with their claws but you are doing the right thing by trimming them on a regular basis. Declawing is not the simple operation a lot of people think it is. It would be like having your toes amputated at the first knuckle. It also changes an adult cats behavior. They feel vulnerable and may start hiding or become more aggressive. She is a beautiful girl.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

We have no plans to declaw!

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replied on March 12th, 2015

I am very glad! But in the post you said “Luckily, Cheetah hasn’t given me any reasons to even consider declawing. I clip her nails at home with these every other week. She doesn’t hate it; she doesn’t love it. She isn’t much of a scratcher and when she does scratch she sticks to her post and cardboard lounger. I’m happy to report she hasn’t destroyed anything.” Which would lead on to believe if she does get destructive, you might. I’m not trying to start anything, I just wanted you to know it’s not as simple as it might seem. I really like your blog!

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replied on March 12th, 2015

No worries! I just meant it as I hadn’t even given it a thought and I wanted to mention it because when we first adopted Cheetah so many readers had warned me against declawing. I don’t think I could bring myself to do it even if she was scratching things up. xx

11.March.2015

You are so lucky and making me want a cat… Well, your cat! Haha. I grew up with cats and one never ever cuddled.. She was an absolute grump, and then the other family cat guarded the living room and basemt and would hit at hiss at you if you went there. So for those reasons, I’m not a cat person! But your sweetheart I would take any day!

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11.March.2015

Aw, it really sounds like you hit the cat jackpot! I had a cat like that when I was growing up, and he really was like my best friend – always there to comfort me if ever I was feeling sad and oh so cuddly and friendly.
Because of him I always yearned to get a cat in my adult life and three years ago finally managed to persuade my husband (a dog lover) to get one (actually, we ended up getting two) – now I do love them dearly, but they are polar opposites in personality compared to my cat growing up. They are so aloof, hate being held and would never dream of even sitting next to you on the sofa, let alone curl up on your lap!
So as I say, definitely the cat jackpot for you guys ;) Enjoy, cats are the best!

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replied on March 11th, 2015

My friend who used to have a pet-sitting business says the same thing…that we hit the cat jackpot. I like to think Cheetah is so friendly because she’s just grateful for her life now, instead of starving outside. At least that’s what I tell myself. I like to dream up stories :)

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11.March.2015

Please don’t declaw Cheetah! It used to be considered a good way to protect your furniture and make your cats less aggressive, but in recent years vets and animal welfare organizations have firmly come out against it. It’s basically torture for a cat! If you want more information:

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/declawing.html

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Not declawing!

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11.March.2015

My cat Norman is also snuggly, and I am also “that lady” that moves around him, so as not to disturb him, when we are sleeping, or cuddling on the couch:) He’s never been a scratcher either…until I got my new couch:( He’s never been a fan of scratching posts, or cardboard scratchers, but he loves any box that comes into the house! I usually let him scratch away at the box until it’s time to go in the recycle bin, but I think I may have to figure out a way to train him to love scratching posts, to keep him away from the couch. I’ve also resorted to covering the couch with blankets when I’m away. Where did you get your cat lounger? I think my cat would love that!

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Meghan
replied on March 11th, 2015

Sometimes cats scratch to mark things or areas of your home as theirs. That’s why any new furniture is often so enticing. I have a living room chair that both my cats loooove to scratch, but once I put something they like even better next to the chair, they both stopped. Unfortunately, they like different scratching furniture, so there is a lovely living room chair flanked by an incline cardboard scratcher and a rope covered post. It’s an odd decorating “moment,” but oh well.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Haha – the things we do for our pets! I’ll take your suggestion and start placing something next to the couch and see if that helps any. I can live with the odd decorating moment if it means saving my couch! Thanks for the suggestion:)

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replied on March 11th, 2015

I bought it from Amazon. It sits under the DIY shelves in the living room behind the gray chair. I think it does help distract her from the chair and sofa. It’s her spot.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Thanks! I noticed after that you had a link to it, so I’m going to order one and see how he makes out. Fingers crossed!!

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11.March.2015

I am *really* allergic to cats (tearing up, constant sneezing, red, swollen eyes–the works) so they are a no-go for me, but it’s WONDERFUL to have a pet. I have an older basset hound whom I adore; she’s such a snuggler and I, also, don’t like to disturb her. Cats are a nice lower-maintenance pet—although the walk every day is good for me, so no complaints! :)

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11.March.2015

Very sweet post. So glad it worked out so well and she has a suiting personality.

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11.March.2015

I can relate to this so much! We were never pet people, but the kids begged for a pet for years. We had a big move, so I promised them we could get one after the move. We have a loving, playful Border Collie/ Shih Tsu. It’s been the best thing ever for the whole family. So happy for you and Cheetah

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11.March.2015

Great post! The Cheetah Diaries.

I am not a cat in the house kind of girl – the whole litter box thing is a non-starter for me. Barn cats are cool though. If I were to get a rescue cat for the barn, I would try to find a Maine Coon or mix thereof. The closest cat to a dog ;)

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replied on March 11th, 2015

“The Cheetah Diaries”…love it!

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11.March.2015

I’m so elated for your family – you found the perfect pet! Sometimes it just happens like that. I love their individual personalities. I do the same thing w/my pets (cat or dog) and contort my body so I don’t have to disturb them in bed;)

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11.March.2015

Love this, especially all the pics! So much love. This post would definitely make my “Made Me Smile” recap this week. :)

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My pets bring a ton of joy into my life. I’m glad you guys got to experience it!

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11.March.2015

“I am that lady.” You’ve just proved the adage that dogs have owners and cats have ownees. :) They deign to allow us to take care of them, and in their own special ways, they return the favor with lap time and kid-mothering. This is a sweet post. Some of those photos are priceless; thanks for sharing.

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11.March.2015

Hi there,
Thank you for sharing all this great pictures and your story with all of us. Please try not to declaw her, we adopted our boy last spring and he was declawed on his front paws (we don’t know why), but if you read about the process is awful. Cheetah is beautiful, congratulations!!

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replied on March 11th, 2015

No declawing here!

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11.March.2015

This just makes me smile! :-D

I have always been a “cat person” so hearing about how you and your family have converted is great! Glad you gave it a chance and it worked out so well for you! Love for the kitties!!!

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11.March.2015

Love this post. So happy for you guys and Cheetah.

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11.March.2015

would love to know how you handle the litter box issue- where do you keep yours?

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replied on March 12th, 2015

We just DIYed a hidden litter box. Stay tuned!

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11.March.2015

A quick tip: as she sheds her winter coat, you might find it helpful to brush her more frequently. The more hair you remove from her coat, the less ends up in her tummy, and subsequently, on your floor, in hairball form. My Maine Coon doesn’t get as many hairballs in the winter, but once we move into spring and summer, they become more frequent if I don’t brush him enough. Just trying to protect your pretty floors! You’ll figure out what works best for her as she grows up.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

Thanks!

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11.March.2015

I have always been a cat lover. I have had so many cats in my life and each one has been different in personality, but all loving.

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11.March.2015

We recently adopted Hokie, an orange-haired tabby who has stolen our hearts. As a new cat family, someone shared the Dear Kitten series commercials on Buzz Feed. A must watch for cat lovers.

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11.March.2015

Someone may have said this already- but if she does start scratching and you need a post A Beautiful Mess posted a DIY one that was so cute it made me want to go out and get a cat so I would have a reason to make a scratch post. We have two pups but I’m really allergic to cats, so living vicariously through your Cheetah updates.

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replied on March 11th, 2015

I saw that! Adorable. I bought a run-of-the-mill scratching post in a moment of desperation early on when I realized Cheetah needed one and we didn’t have one. The frame is there so when the ugly carpet starts falling apart, I’m totally making it cute.

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12.March.2015

I love watching these! I never like cat because i love dog but looking at these picture i am fall in love with both girl and cat too .hehe.

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12.March.2015

I have had cats forever, they are wonderful. I also am a multi cat home…if you choose to go that route, I would add a male, two females can be a problem because females typically choose to be dominant, and know that there is an adjustment period because they are SO territorial. Also, I would try to adopt one that has already been a part of a more than one cat family and was happy. Sometimes, the cat just wants to be the only cheese.

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12.March.2015

You forgot the part about when I gave her a bath ;)

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replied on March 12th, 2015

I thought you’d rather I didn’t bring it up. Too traumatic ;) Miss you.

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12.March.2015

I need to see all of these photos larger. Especially that one where she’s peeking out the front door. I die.

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14.March.2015

Hi there, I am sure that I took this the wrong way, but when you said, “we ever need to put Cheetah up for some reason”, you didn’t mean that you would actually lock Cheetah in that cabinet, did you?

Devout animal lover here, going to assume that you wouldn’t lock her up. So happy that your family found a wonderful pet!

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replied on March 15th, 2015

No locking her up! But there are times when I need her out of the way for 10-15 minutes. For instance, when I clean out our humidifier she likes to splash in the water with her paws which undoes everything I’ve done. Just little instances like that.

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23.October.2015

1. AAH! I can’t believe I’m caught up to the current year finally! 2. I understand this. I have always declared myself as “dogs only” (we have 3 after all) until recently. The sweetest little cat came purring over to me on our porch. It took me less than 24 hours to declare him mine, name him (Randell/Randy) & buy him food. He does live outside – he seems to really love that lifestyle so who am I to change that up on him. He greets me every time I step outside & come home from work. When I sit on the porch, he just leans his head against me. We did try to let him come in….. we quickly discovered one of our dogs was not cat friendly. :)

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