Featured soul cat: Cindy’s cat Sharkbait

sharkbait1 Featured soul cat: Cindy's cat Sharkbait
Cindy and Sharkbait, circa 1981

Several weeks ago I received a long message from a woman named Cindy Wilson.

Her message relayed two things.

First, she wanted me to know how much she liked my 6 Natural Ways to Help Your Cat Live Longer because she also had become passionate about increasing cat longevity, had done a lot of the same research, and had come to many of the same conclusions.

Secondly, she explained the story behind her passion. Like me, she’d had a soul cat for many years who meant a great deal to her. After he died, when she finally allowed herself to let a couple more cats into her heart and home, she realized she wanted to do everything she could to give them at least 20 good years of life.

When she told me the story of her cat, Sharkbait, I liked it so much that I offered to do a soul cat feature on him. She happily agreed to this idea. So here it is!

How did you find each other?

“A beautiful Blue Point Siamese boy showed up on my doorstep out of no where, on my first day of high school, and he didn’t leave my side.”

What made you aware of your special bond?

“After he showed up at my home, he’d come back every day and I would just sit on the porch with him, because my parents said I wasn’t allowed to keep him or bring him in the house.

I started sleeping next to my open window for weeks, and he stayed on the other side, laying next to me through the screen.

Eventually my dad acquiesced and at last I was able to officially let him in, after months of hanging out. My dad nicknamed him “Sharkbait,” joking that the cat was going to be fed to the sharks at Marine World if he ate our bird.

Sharkbait stayed with me all through high school, all through college, all through grad school and well into my young married life. The whole time he was this angelic and precious creature that shadowed me through all of life’s joys and sorrows.”

Is there a personality trait or experience that stands out about him?

“I wasn’t the only one who felt he was special. The week before he died, I had friends from as far back as high school come around to pay respects and say goodbye even though they hadn’t seen him in over a decade. I got cards from neighbors I didn’t even know who told me he was very special to them, almost like a little angel that occasionally graced their porch.

I probably sound a little like a nut when I say that if Yoda were a real thing, he seemed to live inside this cat. Sharkbait came across as a wise old soul and was truly a one-of-a-kind and once in a life time blessing. It was inexplicable, but everyone who met him – even non cat people – said he was a remarkable soul.

I occasionally still run into old friends from way back, and Sharkbait’s name will come up as they recall what an awesome cat he was.”

Is there a cat care tip you would share with a new cat caretaker?

“Most people I’ve talked to are amazed and shocked at the dramatic benefits of raw and wet versus dry food. Only years after Sharkbait died did I learn that wet food is key to preventing urinary and kidney disease.” 

A little more about the Sharkbait story

Though Sharkbait suffered a lot of illness in his later years, Cindy went “beyond the call of duty” to keep him alive – and she succeeded against the odds.

“Sharkbait was already an adult cat when I first got him, which means he was likely well over 20 when I eventually lost him to stomach cancer. But the interesting thing is that he was sick for almost 10 years before he died. At the time I knew nothing about raw diet or other holistic health care, and I fed him a conventional dry diet, albeit a high quality one – or so I thought at the time. He had urinary blockages all through his teens and I nursed him to health repeatedly, even learning how to administer an IV to keep him in fluids off and on.  He had ongoing kidney and UTI problems which were borderline severe, but I was determined, and administered fluids twice a day for years in between emergency procedures and constant vigilance.

In grad school, I met a gal from who had a Reiki master friend that was visiting from Hong Kong, and I begged her to have her friend come lay healing hands on my elderly ailing Siamese, which she did, for two hours. He lived another few years from there and I often wonder if the Reiki helped extend his life, but who knows. I was crushed to eventually lose him to stomach cancer, even after such a long run. He could have lived to 40 and it wouldn’t have been enough for me! He still shows up into dreams a few times a year.”

Cindy also shared an interesting story of how she came to finally adopt again after 15 years.

“At first I looked around for another cat and realized that I was unable to find one with the same unique soul connection.

He was a pretty unusual looking “applehead” Siamese, and I couldn’t find anyone at the time who was breeding cats with the exact same look as him. Breeders told me that this type of Siamese was popular in years past, sometimes called an “old fashion” Siamese, but that for the past two decades they weren’t seeing a lot of them except in random litters on rare occasion.

So I gave up on replacement strategy, and spent the next 15 years pretty much avoiding cats, as I felt I never could never again bear such a crushing loss.

Fast forward to December of 2011. A little apple head blue point Siamese showed up on my doorstep yet again – this time on my Facebook doorstep!

A gal posted a litter of tiny kitten faces on her Facebook page, saying she had a feral litter in her yard that she’d been feeding, who were now old enough to find new homes. In the picture, among a few orange and grey tabbies, there sat the most familiar little Siamese kitten face, and it stopped me in my tracks. His blue eyes were piercing and my jaw fell open.

I decided to drive over just to take a look at this random little Siamese baby boy. When I called, the gal said, ‘brace yourself, because there are TWO Siamese kittens!’ She said they were both girls, even though I felt sure the kitten in the photo was a boy.

image Featured soul cat: Cindy's cat Sharkbait
Brace yourself

It started sounding overwhelming. By now I had three children, and the last thing I needed was two more mouths to feed.

But I was drawn to just go look. When I met them, I could immediately pick out the one from the picture. He almost had a smile.

I told the gal I really felt this was a boy, but she confirmed that the SPCA vet identified the Siamese twins as both girls. They were so small that they had no discernible differences in the anatomy to make the gender obvious. But to me, the kitty had a little boy’s vibe, and I decided to bring them both home.

I took them straight to the vet, and lo and behold – we learned they were a boy and girl, brother and sister.

image_1 Featured soul cat: Cindy's cat Sharkbait
Smiling kittens make the whole family happy

Over the subsequent days my heart opened back up after years of mourning Sharkbait’s loss. I fell head over heels with these two, as did my children and husband, and we’ve all deeply enjoyed their presence in our family for over a year now.”

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  2. I lost my siamese mix last summer at age 14- but I swear he was my soulmate. I have never bonded as wholly with anyone/animal as much as I did my Tigger. I got him about 1 year after I moved for college, and through all my ups and downs, he was there till the very end until he just couldn’t hang on anymore. I adopted a companion for him about 5 years ago- she and I have a very, very close bond…. but it is a remarkedly different vibe than the one between Tigger and I. I don’t know if it is breed temperament or what– she is a norwegian forest cat and I don’t know much about them other than they like to climb– which she doesn’t. Go figure 🙂

    I always pick out the unique ones! 🙂

  3. This wonderful story made me teary too. Sharkbait was a precious soul. I shared a good portion of my life with a wonderful Somali boy. He was born in 1986 and was a precious total mush, very loving and wanting to be with me all the time. Everyone loved Laurie. I knew nothing about proper diet and free fed him dry food and later on “good quality” wet food. He was not obese but certainly overweight. He developed diabetes when he was 15 and, after numerous health crises, died on his 17th birthday in my arms. He was my kindred spirit. I was totally devastated. I agree with you Cindy. Forty years would have been too few.I now share my life with two wonderful cat sons who are my loves and very precious. I feed them raw food, freeze dried treats. I wish I knew this when I brought my beloved Laurie home.

  4. I teared up when I read the line- these two new sweethearts showed up on your door step- your facebook doorstep. That really touched me- I could feel the sense of loss you experienced when your Sharkbait passed. I have a soul kitty, Sylvester, that is also “an old soul”. When I first got him, I was told that his vocal personality meant that he could have Siamese traits. Sly is 13 now, and I feed him nothing but wet food (he wouldn’t dream of anything less– and he seemingly thinks raw food is lower quality to anything from a can- he’ll come around haha). But I am glad there are others that can relate to finding their soul kitty- and I love that you shared your happy ending- two little angels that are lucky to have found you. I love the pic of you and Sharkbait-there’s such an obvious kindred bond-you can see the relationship was very special to both of you.

  5. I can relate to almost everything in this post.

    My cat hates to be without me. He perches on my back and snuggles into me in the morning or sleeps at my feet and he follows me around the house like a curious puppy. If I’m sick, he won’t leave my side until I’m better. He clings to my lap and let’s me carry him around like a toddler (lol).

    I’m trying everything in my powers to keep him healthy as long as possible (and I brush his teeth every evening religiously).

    My husband dreads the day I lose my little guy because he knows and witnesses that special bond we have and how devastated I will be once I can no longer hear him purring in my ear or talking back to me animatedly.

    God bless all of our fur babies who love us with so much unconditional depth.

  6. beautiful story but as I have seen photos of kittens used as shark bait that kittie’s name made me so so sad.

  7. I am so glad you are able to make room in your heart for the joy these two little ones will bring…..It’s too bad we can’t save em all

  8. My first cat was a Siamese. He was given to me when I was in 2nd grade. My best friend had her mom brought the kitty to school where I hid him with me on the bus and took him home. My dad said I couldn’t have a kitten but I did it anyway. He stayed in my room with me! We had him hidden there for 6 weeks before my dad found out and it was too late for him to tell me no.
    I loved that boy, he was so special to me. He was an inside/outside cat and he would take off every night and then jump on my window screen before school every morning to let me know he was ready to come in.
    Unfortunately we didn’t realize the risks of having an inside/outside cat and he disappeared when I was in 8th grade. I looked for him forever. I was so upset. I still miss him and dream about him occasionally.

  9. This is just wonderful. Sharkbait sure was a special kitty. So glad you open your heart and home to these two cuties. May they have a long and happy life with you and your family.

    I lost my MoMo last year and still get teary whenever I think of her.

  10. This is such a wonderful story. I can see how very special Sharkbait is. Those two kittens are adorable. I love the last photo. So precious.