Now THIS is comfort!
We have a friend in our LDS ward who has been very good to Vanessa. A couple of months ago, she learned that a family of her acquaintance was having to give up their cat for some reason, and she arranged to have it given to Vanessa. She did this without first asking us, and since we have four pet birds of which I am very protective, I was really ticked off about it, at least at first. But for reasons that will quickly become apparent, the individual in question has since been fully forgiven.
The cat's name was Shady, and Vanessa decided to rename him Pancho Villa -- an idea that went over very well with me, although Vanessa has no interest in history and I wondered how she came up with it. But the cat continued to respond only to the old name, with the result that Shady he remained. (Were the decision left to me, he probably would have been named either Chairman Miao or Peking Tom.)
Much to my relief, we quickly discovered that Shady is afraid of the birds and gives them a wide berth, so all of our critters have been able to co-exist peacefully. Moreover, I have tried really, REALLY hard not to like Shady, but finally gave up the effort and yielded to the inevitable. My wife tells me I spoil him. She is a very light sleeper, whereas I am exactly the opposite; in fact, I have slept through numerous thunderstorms, plus one earthquake and one volcanic eruption. Shady often climbs into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning, and I am momentarily stirred by the sound of purring, often accompanied by a cold, wet cat nose pressed against my face. Then he flops down in a way peculiar to him -- there is a distinct and perceptible thud whenever he does this -- and soon I am sound asleep once again. But Sheila will be awake for the next two hours or more.
Once I fell asleep on our couch, only to awaken a couple of hours later to find a little surprise awaiting me. I had been sleeping on my right side, and there was Shady, curled up on my left side and himself asleep, looking as if he had been there for quite some time -- which almost certainly was the case. He had jumped up on the sofa, climbed onto my side, and made himself at home, all without my being aware of it.
This scene was brought to my attention while I was getting ready for church, and I couldn't resist taking a picture. Our leather easy chair is another of Shady's favorite places to take a catnap, although he usually perches on top of it, in the process defying the law of gravity -- sorta like one of Edyta Sliwinska's dance costumes, now that I think of it. He was blissfully unaware of how ridiculous he looked as I snapped away, and even changed position once or twice as I went about adjusting my camera settings. This was the best result I got from the impromptu photoshoot; and now, an hour later as I write this, Shady is still there, napping on that easy chair in about the same position.
We used to have two gray-and-white cats named Marco and Polo, who had been part of our family since June of 2002, but they both disappeared soon after we moved to our current residence about 11 months ago. Vanessa, an exceptionally good kid, had been wanting a pet of her own ever since, and Shady seems to be working out quite nicely for everyone concerned. I do wish she had stuck with naming him Pancho Villa, however.