Poppy Blue Campbell

So last week I mentioned that Pepper Poppy Campbell was doing well. On Wednesday night, Chris and I were outside really late watching her play with bugs. I commented to him how incredible it was to see her acting just as a cat should. It was only a few months ago we found her in our flowerbed on the brink of death (no exaggeration). She couldn’t move, eat, and physically looked terrible. And so my boys and their daddy began the work of nursing her back to health. Watching her chase those bugs and run crazy in our yard was such a gift.

I never expected that rough looking little cat to make its way into my heart.

In fact, the first few weeks I refused to let anyone touch her. Every night Chris and I did a ringworm treatment on her and put medicine on some open wounds. She saw a doctor, got her shots, and the other medically necessary things for her safety and our family’s. In a matter of weeks, that very sick cat was thriving in our yard.

She greeted me every morning at the back door and drove me crazy trying to play when I would try to read.

Our second son is a magnet for all living things…insects & animals. He and Pepper had a special bond. Last week I did a little mini-session with the two of them. I am so thankful I did.

The day after I took those pictures, the morning after Chris and I watched Pepper chasing bugs – Pepper went missing. I know cats, especially outdoor cats, run around. My hope is that Pepper is off on an adventure in a nearby field somewhere. However, we also know that is not the most likely scenario.

After a few days, we visited the city animal shelter. I was fairly certain Pepper would not be there, but we checked anyway.

Our son, who had spent 4 days mourning the loss of his first pet, lit up at the sight of kittens that needed a home.

Not surprisingly, we left with a kitten.

I never thought I’d have a cat. I was adamant I’d never have a cat in my house. And yet, seeing a spark inside my son when he played with Pepper made me forget all of that. When it comes to animals, there is something different about this kid. He has his very own kitten now. His joy cannot be contained.

The boys named our new kitten Poppy Blue Campbell. They wanted to keep Pepper’s middle name because they wanted to remember Pepper. Blue…my aunt gave them that idea because she has blue eyes.

Poppy is well loved in the Campbell household.

I still pull into the driveway looking for Pepper to greet us. Who knew I’d miss that scraggly cat! I can’t say I am a ‘cat person’ yet. But, seeing the joy Pepper and Poppy have brought to my kids…well, I guess I am starting to change. And, yes, Poppy is going to be an indoor cat. We are doing a few precautions to help with my allergies. Once the studio is finished that will be her primary home. When we started building the studio, I made a joke about how every artist has a resident studio cat.  I shouldn’t make those kinds of jokes.

We are totally new to this cat business. So any tips and pointers are welcomed. Obviously, we will be taking care of all medial related stuff. No accidents thus far, so we seem to be good in that area too. I made the whole family watch a video the shelter gave us about welcoming a kitten and transitioning the kitten into our home. She is ridiculously playful and loves the kids….and they are quite smitten.

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  • amy lenhart - i am not a cat person…extremely allergic and well i just like dogs better. last summer we visited my husbands grandparents they live on a farm and my kids “rescued” a kitten from the fenced in chicken area. my almost 6 year old was determined to bring him home and i was determined not too. well he won. the cat was only going to be an outdoor kitten cause of my allergies took a couple months till he was snuggled at the end of my bed. for whatever reason i am not allergic to him? so weird. the kids adore him and have so much fun playing with him. and they are actually way easier to take care of then dogs!! enjoy poppy! love the name! no advice other then keep all your foam swords and crocks away. my cat is a chewer and will destroy them.

  • barbara Janaina - Dear Ashley, I also have a cat, a black cat, just like yours first one, my son loves her. Well, I think you are realy becoming a cat person! they can be very cute ans very friendly!
    maybe your boy became a “veterinary” or a “defensor” of the animals who knows!?
    Kisses from Brasil!
    sory about the bad english

  • Kerry - Ashley Ann, your acts of kindness towards your family compel me to be a better mama.

  • Kathy - Maybe it’s because today is Monday and I’m back to work after a great vacation with my family but this post got me a little teary! So cute!

  • Sophie - If you ever post in need of cat advice, trust me, I’ll be in the comments somewhere! My family are definitely cat people; we have six of them, including a girl who is called Poppy 😀

    One of my main tips for cats would be – don’t spend crazy amounts of money on toys or elaborate beds as so many people do. My cats usually have the most fun with a piece of string, a ribbon scrap, or a drinking straw. They don’t like cat beds much, though some cats are different. Mine just like an old blanket, especially one that smells like their favourite person in the family 😀

  • Melinda - Ashley, so sorry to hear about Pepper, but I am glad that your new kitten has brought some joy to the family. I can relate to your little boy, as I remember when I got my first cat – it was an awesome feeling. My advice re: cats – hide the rubber bands/scraps of string/wool etc. They love to eat them but they can get lodged in their stomachs. Also, invest in/make a scratching post and teach them to use it!

  • eRin @ Growing Up Senge - Oh, I’m do sorry about Pepper. Outdoor cats are wanderers at heart. But kitties are the best! My only advice is to be sure everyone knows the things they can’t eat (onions, garlic, raisins, any kind of bulb flower like lilies or tulips, etc.). We’ve had some close calls with our kitties, they would eat anything poisonous if given the chance.

    Your kids are so lucky, they will have a pet that will give them a lifetime of love and memories. I hope your allergies cooperate!!

  • Kelly.R - I know how it is to loose a loved outside kitty! I have lost Kipper, Green Eyes, Mamma, and Bear. The first two disappeared after they were spayed, Mamma left a couple years after we nursed her back from a car accident that made her unable to have kittens, and one of her babies Bear just poof was gone one day.

    Then we discovered Pancake. Her story is more like Poppy’s. We found her hiding in the backyard. She looked healthy but a week later she lost her FIVE kittens and we soon learned she was just skin and bones! Her nose was injured and she stopped eating or drinking. I had to force water and food down her with a syringe for 5 weeks and then one day she was back to eating and drinking like nothing happened! A lot of vet visits later and another pregnancy resulting in Biscuits and Gravy, we now call her Fattycake 😉 Here is a before and after pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/richak/6991571110/in/photostream

  • Big D & Me - I never thought I would have a dog as I am not an animal person. But my son IS an animal person. I decided that if anything ever happened to my son (he has a medical condition) and he never got to experience having a pet I would always regret it. He loves our dog and spends time everyday with her. Of course, now he is talking about having a snake and a turtle 🙂

  • Lauren Kaczmarski - So people will tell you how mean and inhumane it is, but if you plan on keeping her as an in indoor cat I would suggest getting her declawed…if you do it when she is young (perhaps at the same time as getting spayed) she would adjust well. Our cat has destroyed all our furniture with her claws and I wish we had done it when she was young. Also, invest in or make your own cat fort. The kind that is a scratching post and has tunnels, etc. The bigger the better. This keeps for a happy kitty that keeps out of trouble. Good luck. She is precious!!!

  • Carrie - We 2 indoor cats, and the main things we have to be careful with are ribbon (not the fabric kind) and plants. One of our cats, in particular, can’t stay away from them. He eats it and then throws up everywhere. NOT fun to clean up. You forget about it when your kids come home with a balloon or something, but that’s the kind of ribbon they love (or gifts).

    Have fun with your new kitten!

  • MixedMolly - I am not a pet person, but we recently got a dog and I said I’d never have a dog or cat in the house, but he is. Never say never, right? My daughter is like your son when it comes to all living things. It is hard to resist when their little faces light up at the sight of an animal.

  • Jamie - First I am so sorry about Pepper. I thought maybe something had happened when I say your post of Poppy on instagram. Poor kiddos, losing that first pet is always the hardest I think. Well until your a grown up and loss one. I feel for your kids.
    On allergies: There is a ton of research on people actually building up an immunity to their own pets! It happened for my hubby with our black lab. It takes time 6months – 1year sometimes, depending on your allergy sensitivity.
    Lastly, Pepper is adorable (coming from a non-cat person!) It is obvious how much joy she is bringing to your boy! We just got a puppy last week and her name is Lucy Pepper, I chose Lucy, my hubby and son chose Pepper. While our other dog is adjusting to life with a puppy, my son is elated! And really I’d do anything even get a cat, but dont tell him I said that, to make my boy happy! The light in our childrens eyes is worth putting up with just about anything! 🙂

  • ari - Oh, I’m so sorry for Pepper Poppy Campbell….. 🙁

    But welcome to Poppy!
    As a unique advice, I would recommend neutering!

    There’s something special about the relationship between children and animals…. your children are lucky!! 🙂

  • Karen J Moseley - Your Babies are beautiful! Pepper and Poppy Blue, too. I have Fauna and Flora at my house. I hope Pepper comes back. And, that the two P’s can love each other. The photo’s of your son with Poppy nestled in his arm are Purr-ecious!
    Yep, I must agree with the commenter who said No Lilies. I miss my Easter Lily AND a Poinsettia at Christmas, but they are deadly to our feline friends. It makes my heart happy that there is another Kitty Loving person in the world!
    Hugs ~ Jo

  • Brandi - It’s safe to say that I cried a little at the fact that Pepper is missing, but It makes me happy that she is out there as a healthy cat. Thanks for taking care of her! I am not a cat person either, but all animals need some love! Pepper is just to precious. She fits your family. Also, my old room mate had two cats, named Boy and Girl, self explanatory, but they LOVED sleeping in suitcases, so if you have some old vintage ones lying around, add some comfy blankets and call it a day!! 🙂 This post made me smile.

    Bless you sweet girl.

  • Natalie - I’ve had cats all of my life and adore them! So a few things I have learned…

    My cat LOVES cardboard boxes. I mean he has a box fetish. They make him feel safe and he loves to play inside them as entrance lays sideways on the ground. This is common for cats. Cats love hiding places that make them feel enclosed and safe.

    Cats also love to get up high and look out windows. Instinctually, they feel safe when they are up high and away from possible threats below. We have a climbing/scratching post for our cats right by a window and he adores it.

    Cats need to scratch. It’s not a naughty habit, it’s a need. It stretches their back muscles and paw muscles. As Popy grows he will most likely turn his nose up at small scratching posts that don’t allow him to fully stretch out his back. So the scratchable surface should be long enough for him to fully stretch out and still scratch. Oh and declawing is pretty horrible. It involves removing the toe bones which are essential for the cat to stretch his back muscles and leads to health complications down the road.

    Cats are fastidious creatures and like clean litter boxes. Sometimes they will leave you presents outside the litter box if they feel it’s too smelly or messy. They also like to have a good scratch around their box so it’s good to make sure the litter is fairly deep.

    Milk and milk products like cheese and also tuna are bad for cats (only kittens can digest small amount). Milk causes diarrhea or vomitting and too much tuna causes malnutrition. Constant fresh water is best.

    This may seem random but it’s very common for vets to see cats with Acephetomin toxicity. Acephetomin found in Tylenol and other drugs is deadly to cats.

    Enjoy your cat! They are amazing creatures. So loyal. Mine comfort me when I’m sad and make me laugh when I need it most. They are such funny, interesting companions with amazing personality. It’s almost like they speak to you when you look into their eyes. I can’t imagine my life without my cat 🙂

  • ashley jensen - I am hoping Pepper is frolicking in a field somewhere! My advice is to start giving Poppy baths NOW! I started giving them to my cat Lilly Hammer (like Lillehammer Norway)when she was just 8 weeks old and now 13 years later she still doesn’t mind them. I would say give her one ever 2 weeks with just warm water and cuddle her in a towel to try for a little bit. Then space out the time after a while tho where you only bath her once a month and add a gently cat friendly soap. That will help to cut down on the dander. I also started trimming her nails at that time too, and have always had a scratching post for her to use. I know someone else suggested declawing, only I could never do it after seeing how they do it. Lilly loves plastic Walmart sacks. If you throw one on the ground she either lays on top of it or crawls inside of it and lays down. She has blue eyes too so I have a soft spot for blue eyed kitties!

  • Anna Joy - Aww poor Pepper. Both me and Ben have had cats growing up and the only advice I have for living out in the country is to keep your cats indoor. Obviously, you knew that. 😉 The other one is you could get her declawed. We haven’t done that to any of our cats because they always like to sneak outside and I want them to have their claws. But if this cat is good about staying indoors, then declawing might be an option. You can just do the front two paws. Will save your furniture and walls.
    And neuter or you’ll have a preggo 8 month old kitten like we did a couple years back! But overall, cats rock. You’ll see. 🙂

  • Tammy Henderson - My husband is allergic to cats, so when we first got a cat, he NEVER touched her and we kept our bedroom off limits. He had to take allergy meds for a little while. Now she never bothers his allergies at all unless he plays with her directly and then touches his face. He has learned that he can play and have a great time with her as long as he washes his hands and changes his shirt right away. She has even taken to sleeping at the foot of our bed. :o)

  • Alice H - I have always been a cat person. I like them so much more than dogs. They don’t require near as much attention and they don’t tear things up like dogs do. Make sure she has a scratch post. And if you ever see her scratching furniture, etc then spray her with water. We used to have a spray bottle in every room of the house. LOL! I had a cat named Tuffy that went missing and about 4 months after we got a call that he had been found in Catoosa! So who knows, you may be the owner of 2 cats.

  • Suzana - I’m so sorry to hear that Pepper is missing, but I’m glad your kids have another kitty to love. My family has raised several litters of kittens by hand so I think I can offer some advice. First off I want to assure you that cats can be trained not to scratch or climb on furniture! Take a peanut butter jar and put some coins in it and give it a good shake whenever she scratches or jumps somewhere she shouldn’t (or you can just shout or clap loudly). Soon she will realize that bad behavior = scary noise and the behavior will stop (that’s how we trained ours not to jump on tables). Another trick which can come in handy is to associate a call with feeding time. When we put food down for our cats we say “kitties food!” and they come running. It helps with locating them when they are hiding!

  • Jenny L. - It is always sad to lose a cat that was so happy to finally have a home. I had a cat that wandered up one day and I couldn’t get him to stay inside because he was used to being outside. We had him about 8 years and he got hit by a car because he just would not stay inside. I had finally gotten him to stay in at night. It broke my heart. So my advice is to make her an inside cat. Unfortunately, we do not live in a cat friendly world. I do let my cats out sometimes so they can walk on grass and be with nature, but I am always out there with them. What a great mom you are always putting your children’s needs before yours and getting them the kitten. There are so many parents that do not put their children first – it is comforting to see parents like you that do.

  • Carrie - advice…. teach your husband and older kids to change the litter box and put them on a rotating schedule. 🙂 then enjoy the kitty 🙂

  • Jenny L. - Sorry – one more thing – clip her nails every week starting now while she is young so she will get used to it. Otherwise, it is a big pain every time you have to do it.

  • Christi Smith - so cute. I hope pepper finds her way back.

    I have to ask WHERE DID YOU GET HIS SHIRT??? I need one for my daughter!! (and maybe me!)

  • Becky - You’re a good mom!

  • Ron - I have 5 cats right now. They can be a lot to take care of, but fun because they are so adorable and playful. However, my cats love to scratch on things. My carpets, sofas, curtains, and anything fabric. Some people suggest to me to cut their nails a little bit, so they won’t be that sharp. Since they are indoor cats, they don’t really need to use their sharp nails to catch anything. So, the blunt nails don’t really destroy my fabric items at home. I am happy for having cats because they help with any pest problem at home. Enjoy Poppy!!

  • Windie D - very cute kitten! as for your allergies, i had a friend who was getting married to a man that was allergic to cats – and she was not willing to give up hers! So they talked to the vet, and there was a steroid they could give the cat (liquid, just a drop or two on the cat’s food) and it worked wonders! I guess the steroid helps with the dander, which is the cause of most people’s allergies. Hope this might help!

  • nancy - Congrats on the new family member! She’s ridiculously adorable!

  • ashlee - I am the same way with dogs but my 10 year old son adores them. He is a TOTALLY different kid when we have a dog. So much so that we will never be without one again:)

  • heather - litter maid litter maid litter maid….we had 2 cats for years and as a not cat person that was the one thing that saved me

  • Laurie - I have been a cat person my whole life. When one dies, it’s not long before I’m at the shelter adopting another. I would say that the only downside to cats is the clawing at furniture. Not all cats are into it, but if yours is then get a scratching post and cut their claws regularly. They only scratch when their claws are long. If you start cutting their claws when they are kittens, cats are very tolerant of it. My kitten actually purrs through the whole thing. You can use regular nail clippers. Just make sure you never get near the “quick.” If you hurt them once then they will always fear the process. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a YouTube video you could watch on the subject 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Debbie - I have 3 cats and I love that you are welcoming Poppy into your home. One thing about cats that I have learned is to scoop the litter box every day or else they may get mad and use another part of the house as their litter box. Don’t take a chance. Scoop the box every day. I recommend Fresh Step crystals litter—it absorbs the urine so all you have to scoop is the #2 business. And I recommend Arm & Hammer’s cat litter deodorizer.

  • Sheila - Oh how I can relate! I have never been a pet person … dogs or cats. But my oldest daughter, like your son, has a special kind of joy when she’s with animals. Nothing else has ever excited her in this way, so it fills my heart up every time I see it happen. So … almost three years ago we adopted a dog. She has a connection with this dog that is indescribable … and it’s a two way street. I’m so thankful I didn’t stick to my “I’ll never have a dog in the house” promise. Her dog has literally changed her life. And yes, I am probably more in love with this little pooch than she is. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Poppy’s story with us!

  • giozi - Uy Ashley I see danger, you had one, now another, phew soon you have one for each child, lol.

    Well serious. I do not like cats at all. When I arrived in Madrid my husband’s family had one, and indeed with whom he stood was with my husband so I was not logical thing to get used and then takes a liking to these animals.

    I am also allergic, in fact I have asthma and I will not have a cat at home, my house is very tiny, but as you never know and maybe I’m like you, I will not say never 🙂

    Who knows and Pepper appears. Ro, my husband told me that a friend lost a cat and a place and after a while found him.

    The truth is that Poppy is beautiful and your child now, with what we’ve told him, I like himr more and I see him more beautiful still.

    As for my mom, I have good news, I’ll tell you later.

  • Marissa - I’m so sorry to hear about the first animal love disappearing! Pets have such a crazy way of working their way into our hearts…despite our best efforts! May your newest pet thrive in her new loving family. I wanted to write you a private message as I prefer to write in messages instead of broadcasting my thoughts to the world, however I was unable to find a contact me section, despite my best efforts- therefore I hope that what I say will be received in the grace in which I strive to communicate it. I would implore you to differentiate between the adoption of a child and the rescuing of an animal. These are two very different and distinct actions. Many times the rescuing of an animal is referred to as adoption and this is very inaccurate. Because of the journey of true adoption that your family is on, I think it is probably even more important to make this differentiation. In no way would you want your children referring to their sweet new sister and her becoming a part of your family as being equal to Poppy coming to your family. While loved more than you ever imagine you could love a cat, your new kitten will be fed inferior food to your own, sleep in whatever random places you allow her to, and be left at home instead of joining the family. The cat will never receive the status of child (this discussion will leave out the spiritual aspects, which are profound, as well). I come from a family from around the world and have three children of my own, some of which came to us via adoption. I would never want them to feel as though they are a charity case in which you looked upon them with sympathy for their ringworm and had your children touch them with gloves but in the end felt sorry enough for your baby girl that you let her stay. One can see how it is vital to be distinct about our language when referring to our children and families as opposed to our pets. Just as you would get upset and undoubtably correct someone if they referred to your family as “these are her own children and then there’s ____. She’s the Chinese one.” or “These are their kids and then this one is adopted.” Sadly, these are phrases that have been said to me as well as to my parents (although changing some a bit as none of our family has come from China!) This has been a lifelong journey for our family and much damage has been caused, while completely unintentional, by people using incorrect language referring to myself, my siblings and my children. The last thing you want is for your sweet baby girl to ever be hurt by these things and to feel that her place in your family is somehow inferior to your other children and places her in the same category as your pet.
    Again, please understand the time in which I’ve put into selecting words so as not to offend or upset you in any way. I absolutely adore your blog and have it on my daily list of bookmarks. Your photos make me smile and I often reference your camera information as I play “photographer” with my own children. 😛 Please feel free and ask anything you wish- you have my email. It would be my pleasure to help in any way that I can. This is quite a complicated journey with so much that lies ahead for you and your family…in the mean time, may you be blessed and know that you are appreciated!

  • Kate S. - You may well live to regret making her a resident studio cat! That’s the one portion of my own home where my own spoiled and much-loved housecats are NOT allowed to make themselves at home.

    I’m very sorry to her about Pepper. I was thoroughly enjoying reading about her integration into your family and I sincerely hope she’ll turn up–sometimes cats do. Our declawed, never-been-outside Himalayan got out once a few years ago; she was gone for two days and I feared she’d been killed (or stolen, considering her breed), but she was waiting on the porch one morning, as if that’s exactly where she was supposed to be. I’ll hope for that for you, too.

  • Stoich91 - Dear me…this is the most teary-eyed I’ve gotten all morning! ;D
    Sweet, sweet, sweet!

  • beth - i love poppy…and pepper might come back. my sister has outside cats that roam and one was gone for two weeks and came back pregnant. another just got home after a 4 day romp somewhere.

    all the comments scare me a bit….especially the furniture ruining with their claws. the scratching post is a must, as is the water bottle for bad behavior. also, don’t let her on the kitchen counters as that’s just gross.

    my daughter’s cat was able to open a cabinet in the bathroom all on her own and that’s where she hid out all the time. so she caved, put a towel in there and called that her bed. the cat loved it.

    hers also loved the warmth of a laptop….and while she was typing, bella would climb right on top of the keyboard and try to lay there.

    the best of luck to you !!

  • Amy K. - Just when I thought things couldn’t get any cuter at your house…. =)

  • Nikki - I adooore my two cats, I can’t imagine life without their antics. They definately prefer to be with their people, I’d never stick my cats in some out building away from my home. Cats are too social!

  • Lisa E - Poppy Blue is adorable! I was never a cat person.. until I found a 4 week old kitten (who has a sweet face like Poppy’s). She is now 7 and I can’t imagine my life with out her. She has her own personality. (my fiance says similiar to mine.. moody, cuddly, indpendent).

    I trained mine to use the litter box outside then now, she knows to go outside to use the bathroom. Yes, just like a dog. This is the age to start training her how you would too.

    Good LUck!!

  • Amber Hallum - My 7 year old boy dearly loves the kitten we got for his little sister’s birthday. It’s amazing to see them together and how much love he has for that little cat. They cuddle and love each other all day. I can’t ever imagine either one of them without the other. Thank you for getting your boy a kitten, you won’t regret it.

  • Brittany - If you haven’t tried it yet, try putting her litter box outside. Some cats can find their way home by their own scent.

  • Emily - Welcome to cat ownership! Baz and Kipper (he says “Picker) are best friends — they bonded over a mutual love of napping shortly after we brought Baz home from the hospital and have been practically inseparable ever since. I fully endorse the cat/child relationships!

    Two tips: carry her as much as she’ll let you. The older cats get, the less they like to be carried, but if they’re accustomed to it, they’ll let you pick them up and handle them for things like trips to the vets or (Heaven Forbid) an emergency where you need to evacuate and chasing after a cat who hates to be held is at the bottom of your list.

    Second: start playing with her paws now, pushing on her little toes to get her toenails to pop out so you can trim them. That’s another thing you want her to get used to as soon as possible. It’s the only reason our adult cats let us trim their nails with minimal grumbling.

    Happy kitty ownership!

  • Heidi of Operation Organization - Have you ever heard of Acupuncture for allergy relief?

    A good friend of mine *really* wanted to get a puppy for her girls, but her hubby was allergic.

    He had an acupuncture treatment (think he needed to be away from the house for about 24 hours afterward or something)and he came away symptom free!

    Those photos of your boy and his new bff are SO sweet. 🙂

  • Lindsay - I agree with most of the previous comments. A variety of cat scratchers is a must- I would get some that are vertical, flat on the ground and in between! Cats like to scratch all different directions so providing appropriate things will save you furniture. A tall climbing post with perch is also a must. A water bottle squirt or shaking a can filled with coins works well to teach them to not get on counters, scratch and the like. “Hidden” areas like small boxes in closets, inside cabinets, under the bed are where most kitties prefer to escape from the noise so I would provide those as well. Clipping nails and brushing regularly is good too for allergies and saving the furniture. With my kittens I would start by gently massaging their paws when they are sleepy. This gets them used to their feet being touched. Then it’s much easier to trim. PS. Pepper may come back. My indoor/outdoor cat was gone for 3 weeks then just showed up one day! You never know! 🙂

  • Jennifer - Sorry to hear about Pepper. I just wanted to say that we have the exact same breed of cat as Poppy! They are crazy! We love her to death, but she just wants to lay on people all the time. I know that all cats have different personalities, so yours will not be just like ours. But, this breed is known for being the most “dog-like” breed of cat there is. They are called Ocicat. She is probably a mixed breed. They are the best cats!

  • Abigail C - My brothers were allergic to our siamese cat–but we loved her anyway. She tolerated the occasional bath and semi regular vacuuming for their sake–but not happily! Enjoy the kitten! She is sooo cute. Maybe Pepper will come back, you could leave some dry food out for her for a little bit.

  • Deanna - The only real “tip” I have is to put butter on their paws so they get the scent of “home” right away when they lick it off. That way if they wander away from home, they can find their way back.

    Don’t give up hope on Pepper either, my daughter’s cat disappeared for 3 weeks. She was devastated. She put up over 300 posters, called every vet clinic, and animal shelter in town. An elderly man found it under the porch of an abandoned house….scared and hungry but unharmed.

    We recently got adopted by a flea infested stray who showed up INSIDE our house, I swore I would never have another cat, but Miss Kitty is here to stay. My husband is somewhat allergic to her, but we groom her vigilantly and watch her diet and it hasn’t really been an issue. And it must be true, every studio needs a cat…because that is where she likes to hang out for sure.

  • Meagan - If you plan on keeping her indoors, don’t give her even a taste of the outdoors. Santa gave us a leash for our kitten last year and after taking her out once for 10 minutes, we’ve been fighting to keep her inside ever since. We back onto a highway and the last thing we want is to find her on the side of it one day 🙁 if we had never taken her out in the first place we wouldn’t be worrying so much!

  • Christi S. - My dad was the same way as you about cats until I fell in love with Ribbons. It didn’t take long for him to change his opinion, but she did have to live outdoors! We have two indoor cats now, and I highly recommend the ScoopFree Automatic Litter Box. It’s a little pricey but worth every penny when it comes to the litter box!

  • kenzie - eeee!! she is so sweeet! so sorry to hear about poppy. i used to absolutely hate cats, but am now a complete cat person 🙂 as far as allergies, i’m pretty sure that if you are around them from the time they are a kitten, you will become used to/immune to their dander. i was crazy allergic to cats, and still am…just not to my own. i still get sneezy miserable around other cats, but i’m completely fine at home, and we have an indoor cat. enjoy your new kitten!!!

  • angie - As I mentioned on Instagram my mother used to routinely vacuum our cat. He would hear the vacuum turn on and he’d come running. She’d suck up his tail and just rub him with the hose. That helped my dads allergies a lot. As far as declawing, I’ve done it on past cats when they were very young (had it done the same time they were neutered). But my current cat is not. She got older and I just didn’t have the heart to put her through that pain. I found she liked to claw at my rug and was pulling the threads:( So I bought a scratching post and put it on the spot she kept clawing. It worked! I routinely trim her claws and brush her _ perhaps that could be someone elses job in the family so you can avoid the dander.

    Also, cats have an insane curiosity (theres that saying for a reason) so if you want her to remain an indoor car do not allow your children to carry her outside at all. Thats all she’ll want afterwards.

    Enjoy! I think raising a pet is such a great life lesson and sense of responsibility for children!

  • Brooke Hedin - your son will look back on this one day and love you even more for what you’ve done for him! what a sweet mother you are to your children.

  • Kate@Songs Kate Sang - Isn’t it amazing what kids do to us? Crazy?!

    Nate loves Murphy so much and I am even letting Murphy sleep in the bed with him. Brian just laughs at me and my change of heart 🙂

  • amber - So funny. Not losing Pepper:(…that you came home with another one! My husband loves to tell a story about coming to my house when we were in high school & counting 27 cats on my parents’ front porch! Yikes & gross. They got one cat to be a barn cat (country livin’) & well, there ya go. My advice…get her fixed;). lol

  • AshleyAnn - Christi – his shirt is from Dwelling Spaces in downtown Tulsa

  • able mabel - Oh how sweet! I adore kittens!

  • Nicole - Oh, your missing kitty makes me sad. I hate that the eventual day will happen and my cat will not be with us anymore. I can’t believe something so small can have such a big personality. Maybe Pepper will come home anyway! And welcome Poppy 🙂

  • Jess - love the photos of the little man with his new friend.
    try this litter: the world’s best cat litter – it really is superior. good luck with your new kitty!

  • Wen - We love cats and our family has many allergies to cats! When we got our cats as kittens, due to allergies, we bathed them every few months – they got used to it and it really helped with our allergies as well as our guests who are highly allergic to cats, were never allergic to our cats! One of our cats looked just like Poppy.

  • Melinda - I’m all for trimming a cat’s nails, but personally I believe that declawing a cat is inhumane. I’m just thankful that the practice is banned in my country.

  • Tara A. - Hi Ashley, Man I missed your blog. My computer has been down. I had a cat when I was young…..Ol Boots. He always liked to nap under my parents vehicles. Then one day….well you…..kinda get it. That Boots and I were peas and carrots. So my suggestion would be to always make sure you know where Blue is when you and Chris leave the driveway. Have a blessed day. See you soon. Tara

  • amanda - I have grown up with indoor and outdoor cats. I had one disappear for 8 months, then come wandering back home, so, you never know. I will earn you, do NOT leave any cups (especially ones with a straw) near your bedside, or else they will end up in bed with you. And be prepared for the inevitable sneak attacks once your kitty grows. They are so fun, but there will be plenty of tiny scratches for you all to swap war stories with. I love my cat, Charlie. She is beautiful and a true sense of ease in my world.

  • Alice H - After reading thru some of the comments, I just wanted to say that I recommend declawing the front claws only (if that is something you want to do). We have declawed front claws only on some of our cats. They still have their back claws to defend themselves if they get out.

  • Alison - Vinegar!! We have a big male cat who has a thing for marking, but boy do we love him. I don’t know how much money I spent on anti-urine products before I googled. Adding a quarter cup of vinegar (I think apple cider vinegar works just a bit better but regular white is fine) to your detergent when you put the marked whatnot into the wash takes it completely out. It’s awesome. Any when you find a litter your kitty likes (I like the green labeled Arm & Hammer…and I am not a scenty person) stick with it!

  • Ashley - I’m sad to hear about Pepper, but Poppy is one adorable kitten. I have had cats all my life and love them- they are not as needy as dogs but still give lovin’. Enjoy!

  • Denise - Have you read The Secret Garden? (One of my FAVORITE novels.) Your son reminds me of the wonderful character, Dickon. I don’t know if you’re a “reader” or not, but if so–I think this book would fit right in with your lifestyle. 🙂

  • Brooke - Ashley! Poppy is absolutely beautiful! disclaimer: I’m a crazy cat lady LOL
    I’m so glad she’s bringing so much joy to your little ones! I have two and my house wouldn’t be complete without them. The best part about them is they need little more then some lovin! Enjoy!

  • Lisa Reed - We also have an outdoor all black stray named Pepper! He comes with the neighborhood but seems to really love us since we feed him. My husband is allergic to cats so he tends to hate them too. But my 2 girls love that cat! Almost every morning he feeds Pepper and he even bought a heated water bowl for the winter. Seeing our girls’ faces light up like your kids has softened him up too!

  • Lynda - awe what a pretty face she has, and she photographs so well, definatley in the right house. LOL

  • Theresa - BTW, DesignSponge at Home has a DIY cat scratcher that would like at home in your living room ~

  • Malorie - SOOOO adorable!

  • Ami - Congrats on the new kitten! She is precious. Lots of great advice here. However, please DO NOT declaw her. Declawing is absolutely unnecessary and is only done for human convenience. You can definitely train a cat not to claw your carpet, furniture, etc. Get her a scratching post and reward her with treats for using it. If she starts to claw something you don’t want her to claw, a loud clap and “No!” work well. Declawing is barbaric, and it’s amputation. Declawing a cat is the same as cutting off the first digit of a person’s fingers. She will have health and behavioral problems if declawed. Without claws, she will bite because it will be her only line of defense. Declawed cats often have problems with the litter box as well. They associate it with pain and begin going outside the box. She will have health problems later in life, too, such as arthritis. There are alternatives to declawing such as Soft Paws, trimming her claws (or grinding them down), or simply training her what not to scratch and what TO scratch. It’s not hard. Just be consistent and persistent, and please allow her to keep her claws. Oh, and just having back claws is NOT sufficient for defending herself should she get outside. Sorry to say so much about one subject, but it’s very important. I have a house full of rescue kitties, none of whom are declawed and my home is beautiful with intact furniture. Cats SCRATCH. It’s their instinct and they should be allowed to do it, on appropriate surfaces that you teach them to use. It CAN be done. I wish you many happy years with Poppy!