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Shylo: My Shy Little Kitten
He Won’t Survive
I met Shylo seven years ago. I was nine at the time. My mom, three brothers, and I were all settled down for a nap. A normal nap for us was one hour; and I could NEVER stay still.
That particular day, we were all lying down when Isaac, my younger brother, said that he heard a cat meow outside.
Mom thought it was either our other cat, Pizon, whining from the kitchen, or a bird outside that sounded like a cat.
Well, the meow persisted. At last, mom went outside to our brick porch and, of course, the boys and I followed in suit.
I could hear it really well then. I wanted to run and find the cat or kitten that was making the noise. But mom didn’t want us to get off the porch. I watched as she looked around. By listening to the mews, I could tell mom was getting farther away from the source. Just then, I knew, I had to disobey mom’s order. I ran straight into a pine tree, and pulled out a very tiny kitten. He fit in the palm of my nine year old hand.
I ran back to the porch yelling my head off; “It’s a kitten! It’s a kitten!” My mom was mad at first, but she got over it when she saw the little creature in my hands. She took the kitten away from me for a second and told me that he was a boy.
I remember asking “Can I keep him?” Dad didn’t want me to keep him. He knew that I’d get attached to the kitten, and dad thought he was too small to live.
Finally, he said “Yes, you can keep him.” I was so happy! I gave the little guy some soft food and some milk. I stayed sitting there on the porch.
Mom asked me, “What are you going to name him?”
I pondered for a few minutes, looking at my little tabby kitty. “He looks like the Shy Little Kitten.” I thought aloud.
The Shy Little Kitten was my favorite book in the world, at the time. My mom had been reading to me ever since I can remember.
“How about Shiloh?” My mom suggested.
I smiled real big. “Yeah, how is that spelled?” I asked.
Mom went into the house and brought out her laptop. There were, like, a half-dozen different ways to spell it. The most common was S-h-i-l-o-h. I didn’t want my kitty to be “common”.
“I’m definitely naming him Shiloh.” I said. “But it’s gonna be spelled like Shy Little Kitten.” My kitten finally had a name: Shylo.
I cuddled with Shylo for a while. He snuggled his face into the bottom of my favorite, peach colored, sleeveless tee. Before I knew it, he had climbed all the way up my tee and poked his little head out of my armpit. Mom and dad laughed.
Ever since that day, Shylo was out to prove dad wrong. He grew healthily and loved to play and cuddle with me.
My mom used to take us on little vacations in the RV to our pond. We called it Swan Lake. It was Shylo’s first vacation ever!
The first night, I was lying in one of the two beds in the back, and I asked mom if Shylo could sleep beside me. She said, “I guess, but you have to make sure you don’t roll over on him.”
So we made a deal. We put my favorite stuffed toy Blanket Bunny in between me and Shylo.
Shylo went to sleep really quickly. I petted him for a little while and laid my blanket on him so he’d stay warm. I kissed the top of his fuzzy little head and went to sleep.
That morning, I woke up to a loud purring in my ear. I was lying on my side, Shylo curled up into a ball under my chin. I laid right there for a while, listening to my beautiful kitten purr.
Beat the Odds
Well, a year passed and my kitten grew to a handsome young cat. He was a natural hunter, bringing home rabbits two times his size.
One day, Shylo did the funniest (but cutest) thing in the world. It was October 18, my mom’s birthday. Shylo had been outside for a while and had wanted to come in, meowing at the garage door. When I opened it, mom right behind me, she and I saw Shylo sitting there head tilted… and on the step was a small mouse. My little boy had gotten a birthday present for his grandma! It was adorable. I was super proud of him. My mom (his grandma) scooped him up and gave him a hug.
“Happy Birthday, Grandma!” His purrs seemed to say.
“Thank you.” Mom said.
She gave Shylo to me then, and left me standing there with my boy in my arms. He rubbed up against me almost asking, “Are you proud of me, mom?”
I held him tight, sitting down on the step beside his gift. “I’m so proud, Shylo.” He tucked his face into my shirt, and purred.
A few months later, January… I think, Dad, the boys, and I were out at the pond. Shylo was over on the other side. He saw us and decided to walk across the thin ice to get to us. I started worrying, even though dad said that Shylo would make it fine. I mean, heck, dad had been wrong about Shylo before.
All of a sudden, he fell in! I screamed. The boys were laughing. I wanted to hit them so bad. Oh, don’t worry, Shylo got out of the water right away. With tears streaming down my face, I ran after him and found him under a tree trying to dry and warm himself. I crawled under and picked him up, putting him in my coat. His fur was cold and wet against my chest, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get my baby inside and warmed up.
He had many, many close encounters after that. But my son was a survivor, my Shylo could handle it.
I believe it was about two or three years later, when he scared me worse, though. We were pulling into the drive way, and mom said she saw a cat out in the field DEAD. She insisted it was Shylo. So, yeah, I was crying my eyes out. Dad went out to go get the cat, and soon came back with the dead thing in a shovel. Relief spread all over. It wasn’t Shylo! I was so happy. But then I got worried. If that wasn’t Shylo, where is he? I asked myself. As if he read my thoughts, he came up behind me on the step of our garage (where I had collapsed) and cuddled into my shirt.
I started crying again. This time, it was tears of joy. My baby was alright. He wasn’t dead!
So maybe that one wasn’t his fault that I was scared, more like my mom’s. But I’m over that!
Sometime later, I found out how it felt to be a mom when your son (or daughter) has to have surgery.
Shylo loved to play with Isaac and Jacob’s Nerf® bullets and sports balls. He loved to chew and chew on them. I didn’t like it, and whenever I found him chewing one, I’d take it away. I got scratched a few times, but I knew I was doing the right thing.
Over the course of a week or more, mom noticed that he wasn’t eating and wasn’t feeling well. I figured that out too. So my mom and I took him to the vet. Turns out, he had a chunk of Nerf® lodged in his stomach, and if not treated soon; he could die! So Shylo had his first (and hopefully his last) surgery. I was so anxious. We had to leave him at the Vet’s overnight and it about killed me. We went back as soon as the Vet called and said Shylo could come home. I was really happy. All the fifteen minutes to the Vet’s office I was jittery.
When the Vet gave Shylo to us, he said that Shylo was going to be sleepy for a while and that I had to be careful, because he had stitches on his underside. I recall that that fact had made my stomach churn.
Even today, I yell and scold the boys if they leave their Nerf® bullets ANYWHERE Shylo can reach.
He is going to be turning eight (years old) on June 13, 2014. Right now, he’s sort of in his “teenage years” and is tough love. Nevertheless, I love him. He still likes to sit on me, and sleep on my couch with me at my dad’s (Because that’s where he lives). I don’t let him go outside much, since he’s had some joint problems. He’s still a sweet cat, and loves to play fight. He enjoys jumping out of nowhere and, with claws sheathed (meaning it won’t hurt), will pounce on me or the boys’ ankles. He whines at me and his granddad, in the morning, until one of us feeds him.
He can’t see out of one eye now, because of a fight he was in a few years back. So he’ll get right up close to the door and wait for someone to open it. Just a few weeks ago, Isaac, the clumsiest of my brothers, went out to get the mail. Shylo waited so close to the door, it began to worry me. I went over and grabbed him up quick. I wasn’t fast enough. Isaac opened the door with great force, while I was only half-way up. The door knob hit my head, hard. But I had saved Shylo from being hit with something that would have whacked his brain out. Even though I got a mild concussion and a severe headache for a few weeks afterwards, I was so glad that it was me and not Shylo.
Just this weekend, February 1, 2014, I was talking to Shylo. It was a serious talk. Not one of those “Aw you’re such a pwitty kitty” talks; one that I felt deep down. I was sitting in my dad’s gray-green chair, Shylo was halfway under Jacob’s folding couch. I talked to him for maybe five minutes. He looked me in the face the whole time. It was as if he understood. At the time I was actually praying that God would let him understand me, for real, just this once. I told Shylo how much I loved him, how much I would hate it if he died. I said “You’re my son, even though you’re a cat. I love you.” I cried, yeah cried, thinking about what would happen if Shylo died.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it.” I said finally. “I couldn’t have done what God did. Even though I would have known I would have you for eternity, and you’d only be gone a little while, I couldn’t have let you be tortured and killed slowly. Never.”
Right then, Shylo jumped up onto Jacob fold-out couch and lay there, still watching me. I walked over to him and sat down right beside him. It almost surprised me when he didn’t run. I pet him for a bit. He purred louder than he had, for me, in a long time. I smiled at him, as he rubbed his head against my hip.
All of a sudden I heard dad walk in and I wiped the tears off my cheeks. I gave Shylo a kiss on the top of his head and walked away. “See ya, Shy-Shy!” I called as we left.