Willow, the Pride, and the Pack
By Mike and Bonnie
Bellevue, Nebraska - USA
Willow is our youngest of three female ragdolls from Paws of the Heartland in northernmost Nebraska, USA. They are roughly a year and a half apart, beginning five years ago.
My wife and I think Willow is particularly special because she filled a huge void in our hearts after losing our twenty-eight year old Amazon parrot Cecil to cancer in July, 2018. Willow shares our home with pride-mates Lilly and Ivy and much older pack-mates Katie and Cooper (Norwich and West Highland terriers). Our animal friends are a big part of our daily life. We don’t think of our animals as “pets”, they are “family”.
Willow is the star of fast-food drive-throughs, she typically stretches out on the car dash when we pull up to a service window. Typically, distracted or disinterested workers are giddy with surprise and joy when they see us, they put their hands to their face and say OMG, it’s a CAT! We are known as the cat people at the coffee drive up, everyone smiles as Willow sticks her head out of the driver’s window. When we’re moving around the house preparing for a car ride, Willow lets us know she wants to go too, quite unusual based on our experience over a lifetime with our cats past and present. She waits patiently near the door and agrees to manipulations as her harness is fitted around her.
One pleasant day, we tried taking her for a walk with her harness and leash at a local cemetery, it is less traveled by people and vehicles. Unfortunately, a nearby worker on lunch break started up his riding mower and startled Willow so bad she flew up and out like a yo-yo on a string and somehow wiggled out of her harness and bolted for the cover of the woods. Thankfully, we found her hiding in tall grass and gathered her to safety. We’ve become more careful about loud noises; we can’t imagine losing her to such circumstances.
Willow enjoys hiding in the highest places she can barely reach, she eventually meows to let us know she wants assistance. We are suckers to help even when she could manage without a rescue. She has us well trained to play fetch too. Her favorite cat toy is simply a wadded-up food wrapper, golf ball sized. She plays cat hockey all over the house, upstairs, downstairs, the more difficult the space, the better. She takes particular pleasure in bringing wrapper balls when we’re sleeping, she makes purring yodeling sounds until we wake up to play fetch. Other favorite play things are cardboard boxes of any size or paper sacks from shopping. We are careful to cut any string handles in half to avoid entanglement danger. On the subject of danger, be careful not to have toxic-to-cats plants around the house!
Willow has finally grown large enough to hold her own against occasional domination attempts by the matriarch Lilly. Ivy just wants to have fun; she is the largest and most docile. It feels like Willow will keep her kitten-like enthusiasm longer than usual. We have endless photos of every member of the pack but the latest focus is Willow, she seems to be an extra comfortable and willing subject.
Carol Stevens provides healthy and quality ragdoll kittens; she runs her business with long-standing care and concern for customer satisfaction. She insists on proof of spay or neuter after the sale, following a proper minimum time. She includes a registered chip in each animal and associated paperwork. Here's her website to view availability and terms. Cost is fair and reasonable and she goes out of her way to arrange delivery.
The photos included can’t compete with the joy we receive from the subjects.
Ragdolls rule, terriers care, parrots party!
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