Love For Feline
We moved to New York City a family of four plus one little goldfish. Jack was two years old, Zoe had just turned one and we took that very scary, one way cross-country flight on quite literally a wing and a prayer. Justin and his dad drove a moving truck with all of our belongings plus the Benjamin Ficus we got before we were married and our goldfish Bob sloshing around in the front seat (a story I will tell until my grandkids yell at me to stop). We were so scared, excited, humbled by the unknown, dwarfed by the size of the skyscrapers and yet that fire within us had never glowed brighter.
Two years into our life in the city, we decided it was time to finally adopt another pet. Bob had passed away rather recently, and our teeny little apartment was starting to feel like we needed more life in it. For a couple of weeks, Jack, Zoe and I would walk to the pet shop in our neighborhood after preschool and hang out with the cats who were up for adoptions. Being that we were hoping to raise a kitten along with our babies, Justin ended up taking the subway all the way to the Bronx to the Humane Society and found our next family member being loaded off of a truck, just in time for him to see and claim her. She rode with him in a cardboard box on the subway and arrived at our door slightly scared but curious to meet her new family. Jack and Zoe were quietly excited, thrilled, and so loving towards their new kitten, and Jack promptly named her Charlie Tuck (Tuck was her shelter-given name). She quickly became a part of our lives and a welcomed sight after a long day in the big city.
Charlie was a 100% house-broken indoor cat for the remaining two years that we lived in New York City. She had a very quiet and cozy routine of hanging out on the window sill staring out at the activity most of the day, but really did keep to herself more often than not. When we finally packed and moved back to California, we didn’t really know what to expect when Charlie was introduced to a lifestyle where she could potentially go outside if she wanted. For reasons that can only be explained by her very particular preferences and habits, Charlie is just as involved in our lives as she wants to be. She spends her days outside on her own and the evenings cuddled up to us adults and sleeping with us on our bed. She is a lone ranger, but makes an effort to introduce herself to the neighbors, particularly the neighbor’s pets… The dogs in the ‘hood know not to cross her or Theo, lest they receive a good scare or even a bloody nose. She seldom brings home offerings of wild rodents and birds, but mostly Charlie spends her time doing her own thing, in her own space.
It’s been really interesting for us raising a cat and a dog, both with entirely different personalities and preferences, just like our children They rarely get along but when they do, there’s an understood love and respect for each other and they really do enjoy each other’s company.
One of our favorite places to go as a family is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s close enough to drive to somewhat frequently, and each time we visit we all learn something new. I am constantly in awe at the jellyfish exhibit, Jack loves the hands-on exploratory games, Zoe can’t wait to beeline for the otters and Beau loves the deep sea where he can get so close to a shark he can almost touch him. One of the conversations we frequently have when we visit the aquarium is about their efforts towards conservation and how they help keep the animals in the sea and beach safe by studying them and teaching us about how to protect each species. The messaging integrated into each exhibit helps to weave it into our natural conversations.
As a part of my partnership with Mars Petcare, we are bringing home and practicing conservation and sustainability with our children and our pets by buying food that upholds those standards. Sheba participates in a with Monterey Bay Aquarium to ensure all their food uses only farmed or wild-caught fish from environmentally responsible sourced fish and in 2015 Sheba has pledged to donate $1 for every SHEBA® Seafood Variety Pack sold towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Charlie is very particular about her wet food, and happily devours a can of Sheba on a regular basis. I can feel good about making sure that she has what she needs nutritionally (especially since all Sheba Entrees are made with real beef, poultry or seafood as the first ingredient) while supporting a brand that is environmentally conscious. We try to make a happy, comfortable, safe and thriving home for our children and pets to grow up in, and part of our success in doing that is building a lasting list of trusted activities, products, foods and even entertainment that aligns with our goals and standards for raising our family.