BellaOnline Literary Review
The King and I by Karen Sorbello

Non Fiction

Sandy And Her Cat Friends

Sheree Welshimer

There are no rules for how best friends find each other. They can come from anywhere or anyplace. All that is required is that they care about each other.

Best friends don’t have to look alike, talk alike or act alike. Sometimes they can be quite different.

One can be tall, the other small. One can be calm, the other high strung. One can be shy, the other bold. One can be old, the other young. Sometimes one is a person, the other a pet. Best friends can come from different backgrounds and sometimes different worlds.

Even animals have best friends. Sometimes these animal friendships can be quite amazing. Many would say that a dog and cat cannot be best friends because they are natural-born enemies. But Sandy, a golden retriever, and her best friend, Shadow, a tabby cat, would prove them wrong.

Shadow was a feral or wild cat that lived all alone and had never had a friend. Sandy was a happy, gentle dog who loved everyone. Few would imagine a more unlikely pairing of friends.

Shadow had lived all of her eight years on a small farm in the country. The people who owned the farm named her Shadow because she would usually hide. They tried to win her trust and make her their pet but she was a loner. They understood that and loved her for who she was.

They would see her every day on the farm. Sometimes she would be exploring the pasture or playing on the stacks of hay near the barn. They offered her food and provided her care but it was a rare occasion when she would let them pet her.

Shadow seemed to be content with her life. She had all the necessities. She had plenty of food, a cozy place in the barn to sleep, and a feeling she was safe where she lived.

Sometimes though, she wished she could trust someone enough to be her friend. Someone she could play with in the sun or snuggle with on cold nights.

One day, Shadow watched as the people who owned the farm brought home a puppy, named Sandy. Shadow usually stayed away from other animals but for some reason she was instantly intrigued by the small, bundle of golden fur.

In the months ahead, Shadow stayed near the house more than usual to watch Sandy. She would skip some of her adventures on the farm because she was curious about the puppy.

Shadow wasn’t the only one who was curious. As Sandy grew up, she wanted to know about Shadow. The cat always seemed to be nearby. Sandy would bark a friendly hello every time she saw Shadow.

Sandy always knew when Shadow was near even if the cat were hiding. She would find Shadow’s hiding spot, lie down next to it and whimper softly, as if to say, “Would you like to be my friend?”

Shadow wouldn’t dash away but she wouldn’t come out either. Each time, Sandy would wag her tail. She would never bark or try to scare the cat. She would wait patiently by the cat’s hiding spot. She never gave up hope that Shadow would come out and be her friend.

In time, Shadow began to come right up to Sandy’s dog pen and stand on the outside of the fence. Sandy’s quiet, gentle manner was beginning to make Shadow feel safe. The two would touch noses through the fence. Sandy sensed that Shadow wanted to be her friend.

One day, Shadow came into Sandy’s pen. Sandy wagged her tail and stood by the small cat. She nuzzled Shadow gently. The cat and the dog gazed into each others eyes. Neither saw a cat nor a dog. They just saw a friend.

Sandy and Shadow played together every day after that. Sometimes they played hide and seek. Sometimes they would wrestle. Sandy was always very careful and gentle with her friend.

The two playing together was a most incredible sight especially since dogs and cats are often enemies. Sandy’s owners were ready to intervene the first time they saw Sandy carrying Shadow in her mouth. Their first reaction was to assume that Shadow was in danger.

But they soon realized that it was part of a game the two were playing. Sandy would carry Shadow in her mouth and then shake her like a mop. Shadow seemed to love it because she would keep coming back for more.

“Well, I’ll be,” was all they could say as they stood and watched in amazement. Shadow, their little feral cat, had found a friend.

After that, they seldom worried when the two romped about in the yard playing one of their games. Shadow loved to hide under something too small for Sandy and stick her paws out to playfully tease her friend.

Another favorite was when Sandy and Shadow would lay on their haunches facing each other. Then the game of nibbling on Sandy’s paws would begin. The big golden retriever didn’t mind at all when Shadow nibbled or sometimes chomped on her paws.

The friendship grew stronger and stronger as the days, weeks and months passed. It only made sense that two such good friends would move in together. One night Shadow decided to join Sandy on her bed in the garage. The little cat curled up in the crook of Sandy’s body to get some extra warmth. From then on, Shadow always slept with Sandy.

It was a dream come true for Shadow who had always longed for a friend to play with in the sun and snuggle with on a cold night. It was a dream comes true for Sandy as well who now had a small friend to watch over.

Shadow grew very old for a cat and Sandy into a young adult dog during their friendship. Sandy was a devoted friend even when Shadow became very ill.

As Shadow’s illness progressed, she hardly had enough energy to walk out of the garage in the morning. Sandy would help out by carrying the weakened cat in her mouth and placing her outside on the grass. There the two would lie side by side basking in the warm sun and in the strength of their friendship.

One morning Shadow didn’t move at all when Sandy woke up on the bed they shared in the garage. Sandy gently nudged her little buddy but nothing happened. Sandy sensed something was wrong but she was determined to stay by her friend’s side.

Sandy was still by Shadow’s side when her owners came out some time later. They discovered that Shadow had died peacefully in her sleep.

Shadow was buried in a little grave on the farm. Shadow’s death left a huge hole in Sandy’s heart. Sandy would never forget Shadow and longed for a cat pal.

Every time Sandy saw a cat she would get so excited. She’d charge over as fast as she could to say hi. Sandy couldn’t understand why the cats would run off. Sandy never gave up. She tried to make friends with every cat she encountered.

Sandy’s owners were missing having a little cat friend too. One day they brought home a tiny orange kitten, named Tiger. Sandy was so excited she rushed over to grab the kitten in her mouth much like she had with Shadow. Instead of joining in the game, the kitten hissed, puffed up his fur and tail, and ran off to hide.

Other attempts to get Tiger to play failed but Sandy was determined to have a new cat friend. She would be patient, just as she had with Shadow.

After that, Sandy would lie quietly next to Tiger’s hiding spot and whimper softly, as if to say, “Please come out and be my friend.” In time, Tiger began to feel safe when Sandy was around.

One day, he came out of his hiding place and rubbed up against Sandy in a gesture of trust. Sandy’s heart swelled with joy. She knew it was just a matter of time until she had a new best cat friend.

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Reader Feedback:
Sandy and Her Cat Friends is an adorable story. Most people don´t realize how close cats and dogs become. Dogs chase cats because they have the instinct to chase smaller animals, not because dogs and cats are enemies. All three of my dogs (one current, 2 deceased) have had best cat friends.

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