Becoming a Cat Family


CatPrincessThis cat’s story begins in a sewer but ends in a pink princess bed

By Amy Brase

There’s something about cats that can be downright divisive. Either you’re a cat person or you’re not. You love ‘em or you avoid ‘em. No other animal draws such a solid line in the sand.

It’s a rare story in which a self-professed non-cat person is transformed, but that’s exactly what happened to Ashley Ignatius. It’s the reason why one cat’s story begins in a sewer but ends in a pink princess bed.

“I’m a sucker for animals but super allergic to cats,” says Ashley. “I know a lot about dogs but zero about cats.” Until recently, Ashley was living at home with her parents and beloved Golden Retriever, Reba. Sadly, Reba passed away and left a gigantic hole in Ashley’s heart.

During a dark drive home one night, Ashley noticed an animal crawling out of a sewer. Her first thought was that it must be a raccoon. It didn’t take long to realize it was a cat. Being a non-cat person, she assumed the cat had a home and was just out prowling. Then winter came and she began to see the cat around.

“I thought, ‘Oh, man. Maybe he doesn’t have a home, after all. We started leaving food out for the cat and put a little insulated house outside,” says Ashley. “I really didn’t want to trap it. Maybe I was in denial.”

He is a She

The cat that Ashley affectionately named Sewey survived the winter and was spotted occasionally darting around the yard and drinking at the bird bath. Then one day, Ashley noticed Sewey walking up the street with three kittens following behind her.

“Oh, no!” thought Ashley. “Sewey is a GIRL cat and she has MINI CATS!”

She knew that she had to take action. Camp Companion came to the rescue and helped trap Sewey and the now very large, very feral kittens. The cats were successfully spayed, neutered and released. But, Ashley started feeding them at her parents’ house. Eventually, the kittens went to live happily ever after with friends of Ashley’s, but Sewey remained.

Ashley’s dad (being the dog person that he is) tried to pet Sewey’s belly, to which she promptly responded with a bite. Six rabies shots later (to err on the side of caution because it had been over a year since her vaccinations), Ashley knew for certain that her dad had developed a soft spot for Sewey.

Sewey Steals Hearts

“That was when I knew she needed to be my parents’ cat because clearly, they secretly loved her. We transformed Reba’s dog kennel into a cat house so she could sleep soundly in an insulated garage where her food and water wouldn’t freeze,” says Ashley. “We also took her to the vet who thought that Sewey wasn’t necessarily feral but was possibly just afraid of people because she might have been mistreated by her last family.”

Ashley and her parents decided to trap their feline friend once again to see if they could welcome her into the house. Over time, Sewey has become more comfortable with indoor living.

“I don’t understand cat behavior,” says Ashley. “It’s so hard to read a cat! They are just so particular. I was used to an overtly-friendly dog, but Sewey has stolen my heart a bit. I guess you could say she adopted us.”

Sewey is now microchipped and spends her free time reading the paper and watching Netflix with Ashley’s dad. She is spoiled with cat toys but prefers to play with receipts and twisty ties. She especially loves playing under blanket forts. As Sewey has slowly established her place in her new family, she has also proven that there’s hope for non-cat people.

Amy Brase is a writer who once also fed a feral cat through the winter, built a warm home for her and named her Cocoa. 

A note from Michele Quandt at Camp Companion:

“Sewey is our favorite kind of adoption. Accidental! It is important to note that Sewey was living in an urban location and was only one cat of a colony of cats. All of this colony were spayed and neutered through Camp Companion’s Trap-Neuter-Return program. Sewey was most likely a family pet that became stray and then became a mother. She was the beginning and end of a feral colony.

If you notice cats in your neighborhood, remember Sewey and take that extra step to do something to help the cats in your neighborhood.”    507-951-7801